Friday, 13 November 2015

Lace at the Great exhibition

My research into lace curtains at the Great exhibition has revealed that lace was catalogued in a class with ‘tapestry, floor cloths and embroidery’. And what a mixed group it is! As well as bridal and guipure scarfs, shawls and double flounces in Honiton lace, there is also ‘modern point lace worked with a common needle’. Embroidered and tamboured muslin dresses rub shoulders with altar cloths, fire screens and sheepskin slippers. ‘A basket of flowers knitted in Berlin wool from nature’ sounds intriguing and I would love to see the ‘armorial bearings of the exhibitor, worked by himself in Berlin wool and silk’ – how grand! One of my favourite entries is ‘a shawl knitted on wires by an aged person’. There is also an embroidered collar made by ‘an exhibitor born without a right arm’ as well as exhibits from ‘the poor children of Newry’ and the ‘inmates of an institution for the blind’. As I said, a complete mix of work and exhibitors reflecting Victorian society. Luckily there is also a good mix of lace and lace techniques - including some lace curtains for my study.

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