Passion & Legacy

Passion & Legacy is Red Strand Design’s first major international design project and celebrates the legacy of the Irish Arts & Crafts Movement (1886 – 1925) and two of the era’s leading needlework women, The Lethbridge sisters (Julia Baroness Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1865-1947). The project is inspired by Dr Lynn Hulse’s research and forthcoming book, The Embroidered Furnishings of the Lethbridge Sisters (Ornamental Embroidery, London, 2015).

The project is open to art schools & universities – tutors & students – and mixed media practitioners & stitchers.  Red Strand offers participants the choice from two archival references – Julia Baroness Carew’s Tree of Life panels at Girton College, Cambridge and Lady Jane Cory’s three embroideries held in the Collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

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Lady Julia Carew, Needlecraft, Christmas 1906 issue

During their lifetime, the Lethbridge sisters, Julia Baroness Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1865-1947), were famed throughout society for their needlework skills and for the scale of the embroideries they produced for their Irish and London homes. Julia’s passion was for antique work, crewel embroidery in the Jacobean style (tree of life motif), designs of the Italian Renaissance and Chinese willow pattern, while Jane preferred figurative compositions, including the work of contemporary artists and designers like Edward Burne-Jones, Henry Holiday and Alexander Fisher. One Wexford neighbour, Edward Richards-Orpen of Monksgrange, recalled in his memoirs, ‘To see them bending over their remarkable tapestry work was clearly pre-Raphaelite at best; the astonishing industries of [the sisters] has to be seen to be believed.’

Students from Massey University, Wellington, NZ

Participating Colleges

Ireland: National College of Art & Design, Dublin; CIT Cork; Kinsale College, Cork; GMIT, Galway
UK: Ulster University, NI
Australia: RMIT Melbourne
New Zealand: Massey University, Wellington


Participating Specialist Groups

Irish Guild of Embroiderers; Texere; Cork Textile Network; West Country Embroiderers, Jenny Adin-Christie Studio, Surrey Embroidery Guild, Sevenoaks, Kent; Ornamental Embroidery, Norfolk; Top Floor Art & Craft Circle, NI; Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild; Wellington Embroiderers Guild, NZ; Forever Embroidery Group, San Francisco, USA


Girton College, Cambridge, England; Te Papa Museum, Wellington, New Zealand;  Flax Mill, Dungiven, Co. Derry, NI; Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, Irish Folk & Transport Museum, University of Ulster, NI; Au Ver a Soie Threads, Paris, France; Access Commodities, USA