drawing of Mademoiselle Riego

Mademoiselle Riego and Irish Crochet Lace

This book looks at the widely-accepted claim that Mademoiselle Riego de la Branchardière, a talented and prolific English needlework designer ‘invented’ Irish crochet lace.

A survey of the crochet lace pattern books of the Victorian era along with research on Mlle Riego’s life and the early history of Irish crochet lace revealed no evidence for her claim. As outlined in the companion volume, Early History of Irish Crochet Lace, this lace was actively created and developed by many Irish people and organizations.

Nevertheless, shortly before she died in 1887 Mlle Riego tried to help revive Irish crochet. She contacted Irish authorities and also corresponded with Michael Holland, a designer and supervisor with Dwyer’s, a Cork crochet dealer. Her 1886 book called the Irish Lace Instructor appears to have been of doubtful value for various reasons.

In 1887 she left £4,000 in her will to establish the Branchardière Trust Fund which was of great assistance to the Irish lacemakers, including those working Carrickmacross and Limerick needlelaces. It funded many projects for more than a century.

Her 70 large comprehensive books listed in my book are for crochet, tatting, needlepoint, knitting and netting. The British Library has an almost complete collection. Digital copies of many are available at www.antiquepatternlibrary.org

Thirty nine examples of the work of Mlle Riego and some of the other early crochet lace designers are shown.

Photo of Mademoiselle Riego and Irish Crochet Lace Book Cover

Title: Mademoiselle Riego and Irish Crochet Lace
Price: $10

Number of Pages: 32