Radcliffe Red List Of Critically Endangered Crafts.

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Deborah White sucessfully advocated The Heritage Crafts Association in 2019 to have Linen Damask Jacquard Handloom Weaving placed on The Radcliffe Red List Of Critically Endangered Crafts within the UK. 


The hand weaving of pure linen patterned damask fabric on Jacquard handlooms.


The art of linen damask weaving in Britain dates to the seventeenth century. It was prized by royalty and aristocracy for the breadth of elaborate patterns it afforded - armorial bearings, royal cyphers,historic commemorative events and heraldic designs.

In 1737 George II turned to Irish linen domestic weavers to provide napery for his household, foregoing European providers who to that point had dominated the market. From this time on, the British crown only ordered from British manufactories.

In France,in 1801, Joseph-Marie Jacquard perfected a semi-automatic mechanism for silk damask weaving, replacing the highly labour-intensive draw loom. It was soon adapted for linen damask weaving, reaching Britain by the 1820s.

In the 1850's, with the introduction of power loom weaving, linen damask weaving became fully automated, theoretically ending Jacquard linen damask weaving at a stroke. However, the power loom struggled to match its fineness, quality and soft handle.

Hand woven linen damask continued to be prized, and survived well into the twentieth century. With annual orders fulfilled by John McCollum's Manufactory for Buckingham Palace, Windsor, and Sandringham his client list read like the pages from Debretts. In Ireland it continued as a commercial craft until the end of the 1960's, from which point it has been kept alive within museum settings.


Period1 Jan 2019

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitleRadcliffe Red List
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletLinen Damask
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionCritically Endangered Crafts
    Producer/AuthorHeritage Crafts Association / Deborah White
    PersonsDeborah White