Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Lace shawls, collars, pelerines, scarves, berthas and fichus


These shoulder coverings were all popular at different times during the 19 century and in many cases it is difficult to classify them. Scarves and stoles look very similar as do pelerines, fichus, berthas and collars depending on their width and when they were made. The examples here all come from the lovely ‘Lace in fashion’ exhibition which is currently on display at Wardown House Museum in Luton. Not only do they show the range of different fashions they also show how lace changed during the century from the entirely handworked, such as the fichu made in Bedfordshire Maltese lace, to a beautiful black machine lace collar.

There is a lovely wide Duchess collar of mixed Brussels bobbin and needle lace showing how the two types of handmade lace were traditionally combined and the image shows a detail of a beautiful dress including both types of Brussels lace applied to a machine lace background showing how handmade and machine lace were often combined. There is also a fichu combining pillow lace with machine lace as well as scarves with Honiton bobbin lace applied to machine made net. Several of the other collars have a machine net basis including a Limerick lace collar and another tamboured shawl. Other Irish laces popular in the second half of the 19 century are also represented with a Carrickmacross applique lace bertha, and an Irish crochet collar. I was also interested to see some examples of ‘imitation’ lace following on from my recent blog posts. The exhibition includes two Chantilly lace shawls one handmade and the other machine made; difficult to tell apart without close inspection as would have been the case when they were worn. There is also a chemical lace pelerine worked in the style of Irish crochet and a late 19 century collar worked in the style of 17 century lace, so lots of copying and convergence going on. If you want to see more you will have to visit the exhibition which includes much more lace than the few pieces I’ve described here and is well worth a visit. It is open until 11 September.

No comments: