Wednesday 20 January 2021
I always enjoy looking through old lace catalogues and one of my favourites is that from the Samuel Peach company of 1904. Peach and Sons were Nottingham lace manufacturers and sold a wide range of lace goods by mail order including curtains, tablecloths, clothing as well as lace fabrics and trims. They catered for a large market in the UK and also had many colonial customers in South Africa, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the West Indies and China. They assure their customers that the goods are well packed in oilcloth to sustain the rigours of the journey. One of the things I find most interesting is their special parcels for particular households and occasions. For example there are parcels for those getting married or travelling to the colonies, which contain all that is needed to furnish a home with curtains and linens, depending on the climate and the grandeur of the home. I’ve been looking at their black lace parcels this week and the one for ten shillings has caught my eye. It contains 6 yards of wide Chantilly lace, 6 yards of narrow Chantilly lace, 6 yards of black Spanish lace, described as very elegant and of serviceable quality, 6 yards of narrow black edging lace, two lengths of fine net and a black lace collarette in fancy silk and braid work. The catalogue suggests that this parcel of lace is suitable for mantles, costumes etc by which it means the capes and blouses which were fashionable at the time. It was clearly a bargain but ten shillings (50 p) in 1904 was worth a lot more than it is today!
Wednesday 13 January 2021
and incorporates fangs and drops of blood, which are a lovely glowing ruby red in candlelight.
‘Belladonna’ is another veil in the series, this time inspired by the idea of a mourning veil which could have been worn by a gothic heroine such as Lady Audley in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s secret. The design of the lace trim is based on the leaves and berries of the poisonous deadly nightshade plant (Atropa belladonna) with a hint of gold suggesting that the widow’s state may not be wholly unexpected or unwanted.
‘Creeping dread’ doesn’t include any lace but instead has a trim of black silk paper and iridescent black beads like tiny insects that appear to be creeping up the veil and smothering it. The ‘Gothic veil’ includes some black lace but again it has been smothered by black silk paper that threatens to engulf it and the entire veil. These black veils, and a series of white ones also inspired by gothic literature, have been exhibited in several places including the Knitting and Stitching Show and the Living lace exhibition in Bruges.