Saturday, 3 September 2022

Hamlet lace curtain panel

I saw this beautiful lace curtain panel depicting scenes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet in the ‘Lace in the city of lace’ exhibition in Nottingham in 2015. It is machine lace and was made by the Nottingham lace company Simon-May & Co in the late nineteenth century. It was loaned to the exhibition by Malcolm Baker who worked for the company for many years and told me that this panel had been made and exhibited at an international exhibition in the 1870s. Huge decorative panels like these were made by several of the large lace curtain manufacturers at this time to demonstrate their skills and form the centrepieces for their stands at international exhibitions. Most of them follow the same design format with a central panel flanked by narrower columns of images on each side, although this one is unusual in repeating some of the side vignettes. Literary themes were popular, in fact at the 2015 exhibition I also saw a lovely panel based on the story of Don Quixote, also made by Simon-May & Co, which won a medal at the 1876 international exhibition in Philadelphia. 

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