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The Richard Rutt Collection: Winchester School of Art Library

View all the knitting manuals from the Richard Rutt Collection: Winchester School of Art Library

Page from Helping the trawlers, published by the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen Page from Helping the trawlers, published by the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen

Richard Rutt is a scholar and former bishop who is widely known for his classic book 'A history of hand knitting', published by Batsford in 1987. Rutt's library of books, journals, magazines, patterns and cuttings specifically on knitting is held at Winchester School of Art Library. This follows his wish to donate his library to the University of Southampton in order to join it with Montse Stanley's Knitting Collections as an acknowledgement of their shared interest in knitting and their consequent long standing friendship.

A particular distinction and strength of his collection is the range and number of nineteenth century knitting books which commenced publication in the 1830s. They may be seen as a precursor of the contemporary knitting pattern and the "how-to-knit" books which are still being published, over 180 years later. These knitting books have been digitised from cover to cover by the University of Southampton Digitisation Unit and are now available online via VADS.

Richard Rutt's library also includes a comprehensive run of the knitting magazine Stitchcraft dating from the 1930s to the 1980s which richly illustrates the changing graphic image and layout of knitting patterns through the decades of the twentieth century. He also had an interest in Scandinavian and Korean knitting which is reflected in his collection.

The Andalusian knitting and netting book by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, 1861

Winchester School of Art Library, University of Southampton

Winchester School of Art Library is one of five site libraries comprising the University of Southampton Library. It is a specialist art and design library which supports learning, teaching and research. One of its strengths is its focus on textiles, textile art, fashion and dress history. The library collections have been significantly enriched by the addition of three distinctive knitting collections acquired from renowned practitioners in the field.

Our aim is to encourage a range of users from different backgrounds working in a variety of contexts to access and engage with these collections in support of education and research. The collections also have the potential to contribute to educational programmes and research projects in related areas as well as in art and design, such as social history, gender studies, manufacturing history, anthropology and sports history.

Page from Myra's knitting lessons no.1 : containing the rudiments of knitting and various useful patterns for this work How to use Florence knitting silk by Nonotuck Silk Company, 1885

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