I spent a very interesting day at the Victoria and Albert Museum yesterday searching through old issues of the Furniture Gazette to find out about the state of lace manufacturing in the UK in the 1870s. These journals are a fascinating resource aimed at those in the trade, rather than consumers, and they give a frank view of the business world. However they also include news items, obituaries, trade relations, articles about current styles, as well as thoughts about design and manufacturing. For example a few of the things I read about were disputes in the lace trade, a patent for a device that traps muslin fabric between two glass window panes, a description of how the jacquard patterning system works, and a review of the lace at the 1874 international exhibition by Mrs Bury Palliser. I was also pleased to find some designs for window drapery including fine lace curtains and some tips on curtain design by those well know gurus of the day the Misses Rhoda and Agnes Garrett.
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