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Ruskin Lace

Example of 1970's Ruskin lace, made by Elizabeth  Prickett Example of 1970's Ruskin lace, made by Elizabeth Prickett Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. T.18-1979

Ruskin lace is a form of embroidered lace that combines cutwork, drawn thread work and embroidered lace. The technique was supported by the English art critic and patron, John Ruskin (1819-1900), from the 1880's onwards.

Ruskin lace combines various stitches, notably bullion stitch, buttonhole stitch, four-sided stitch, as well as picot. In the late nineteenth century Ruskin lace was made from hand-spun and woven linen by cottagers around Coniston (Cumbria, England). It was based in the main on drawings of Italian laces brought back from the country by Ruskin.

A Mrs. Pepper was one of the first leading makers of Ruskin lace and there are several photographs of her spinning her own linen thread. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Ruskin lace was associated with Mrs. Elizabeth Prickett, who wrote several books on the subject.


  • EARNSHAW, Pat (1984). A Dictionary of Lace. Aylesbury: Shire Publications Ltd, p. 149.
  • PRICKETT, Elizabeth (1999), Ruskin Lace and Linen Work, London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., revised edition (first printed 1985).

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 29 June 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 07 November 2016 15:28