Tuesday, 15 July 2014
The lace trail: Sophie Ploeg
I saw some of Sophie Ploeg’s lovely lace inspired portraits at the National Portrait Gallery last week. Sophie won the BP travel award in 2013, which she used to study 17th century lace and textiles in Dutch and English portraits, and the seven portraits I saw were the result of her year’s study. She has produced a series of four portraits depicting the four ages of woman each incorporating lace in a different way, cleverly referencing paintings by Johannes Verspronck, William Larkin and Marcus Gheerearts. Also in a reference to William Larkin she has painted ‘The handkerchief girl’ a young woman wearing a fine net and lace skirt and clutching a handkerchief edged with reticella lace; a common pose in the 17th century to show off one’s wealth. The lace is beautifully depicted and ranges from the crisp definition of Italian needlelace to the fine, subtly patterned scrolls of Flemish bobbin lace, while the characters of the sitters shine through. The image on the catalogue (above) is a self-portrait of Sophie in a ruff she made herself. The exhibition runs until 21 September and there is an accompanying catalogue which describes Sophie’s research in more detail.