‘Umbra Sumus’: An Exploration of Historic Linen Damask Practices and Techniques in Ireland’

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In 1743, on the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street in Spitalfields, London, its immigrant Huguenot silk weavers had an extract from Homer’s Ode, ‘The Snows have Fled’, carved onto a sundial that they displayed on the pediment of their chapel building. A reminder of the impermanence of their wordly existence, “Umbra Sumus’ (We are Shadows) also reflected on the ephemeracy of the many branches of weaving, so often regionalised and prey to the capriciousness of fashion. In Ireland where commercial hand-loom linen damask weaving has long ceased to exist and is yet to resume, with the passing of generations many of its working practices have become irrecoverable. Others, however, await rediscovery and reinvention.This paper traces the author’s empirical testing of the historic techniques and practices of linen damask weaving in a bid to best understand how high-end linen damask was and can continue to be woven.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 22 Mar 2023
EventCIETA - 30th Congress and General Assembly: RENAISSANCES AND REVIVALS - Wawel Royal Castle, Kraków, Poland
Duration: 2 Oct 20235 Oct 2023


ConferenceCIETA - 30th Congress and General Assembly
Abbreviated titleCIETA CONGRESS 2023
Internet address


  • Historical Textiles
  • Design and Production
  • Tacit knowledge
  • tacit skills
  • Commercial handloom weaving
  • Working practices
  • Empirical research
  • Historic Techniques
  • High-end Linen Damask


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