Wednesday 13 March 2024

Bobbin lace lappets

This beautiful bobbin lace lappet was made in Belgium in the eighteenth century. I found the image in an interesting old book entitled Old handmade lace by Mrs F Nevill Jackson, which was published in 1900. Lappets were long strips of lace or embroidery that were attached to women’s caps, hats or bonnets and then allowed to fall onto the shoulders, although there was a period when it was fashionable to pin the lappets to the top of the cap and another when they were tied under the chin. They were fashionable during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries but despite that I could find few images of women wearing them.

The cap and lappets on the model above were displayed in the V&A Museum in London. They show round ended lappets attached to the sides of a fine fabric cap falling down the back. Alternatively side lappets could fall either side of the face or lappets could be attached to the back of the headwear and hang down the back of the gown. They varied in width, length and type of lace but always came in pairs. Both the lappets in the images have round ends but square ended lappets were also made. There are also examples of caps and lappets made entirely of lace (see an image in my blog post of 5 October 2022). Many lappets survive in museums and lace collections, probably because they were made to be closely examined and admired and are therefore exquisitely worked and so the owners found them too beautiful to dispose of. Also, once they were no longer fashionable, they were easy to detach from the headwear and small enough to keep in a drawer.

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