Dovecot Studios was established by the 4th Marquess of Bute in 1912, as an offshoot of William Morris' workshops at Merton Abbey in London. The Marquess commissioned the studios to produce large tapestries for Mount Stuart House, his home on the Isle of Bute. Dovecot Studios' first home was in Corstorphine, which at the time was a village on the west side of Edinburgh. It was originally housed in a purpose built studio next to a sixteenth-century dovecot, the only remaining part of the medieval Corstorphine Castle.
Since 2008 Dovecot Studios has been residing in the refurbished Infirmary Street Baths in central Edinburgh, which gives a new life and purpose to what was a derelict building. It now employs five weavers on a full-time basis, including two apprentice weavers.
Artists who have worked with Dovecot Studios include:
- Edward Bawden
- Graham Sutherland
- Edward Wadsworth
- David Hockney
- Sir Peter Blake
- Peter Saville
- Paul Gauguin
- John Byrne (playwright)
- Alasdair Gray
- Elizabeth Blackadder
- Eduardo Paolozzi
- Jankel Adler
- Louise Nevelson
- William Crozier
- Alan Davie
As well as housing the Studio's Tapestry Studio, Dovecot's Infirmary Street home now also includes a cafe, shop, event hire spaces and three exhibition galleries. These spaces have shown a number Dovecot curated and touring exhibitions including Weaving The Century:Tapestry from Dovecot Studios 1912 - 2012, Jerwood Makers Open and exhibitions by artists as diverse as Ptolemy Mann, Wendy Ramshaw and Michael Brennand Wood.
During the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe a musical performance ' A Tapestry Of Many Threads' written by Alexander McCall Smith and Tom Cunningham received its world premiere on the weaving floor at Dovecot to critical acclaim. The performance celebrated a decade of Dovecot weaving and included performers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 'A Tapestry Of Many Threads' won a 2012 Herald Angel Award
- "Tapestry Studios". Dovecot Studios. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Our Museums and Galleries: Tapestry". Edinburgh Museums & Galleries. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "About Dovecote Studios". Dovecote Studios. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- Gilchrist, Jim (14 November 2006). "Bathed in the glory of tapestry JIM GILCHRIST on Dovecot Studios' new home - the former public baths on Infirmary Street". The Scotsman – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 8 February 2014.