What is now regarded as lace originated in the sixteenth century — where is uncertain, but it became known through the great trading centre of Venice. It spread rapidly across Europe, and, as a fashion item, underwent numerous and continuous changes in style. The advent of machinery for lace-making in the eighteenth century led to the decline of hand-made lace, with the social and fashion changes following the first world war marking its final demise. Today hand-made lacemaking only really exists as a hobby, in which individual lacemakers may indulge their own preference for different historical styles.
In this section of my website I attempt to review these historical styles. Although a valid approach to this might have been temporal, I decided instead to organize the topic by type of lace and geographical region. One must be aware, however, that some of the regions (Flanders and Britain, for example) do not correspond to contemporary political divisions. The menu on the right gives you access to this. Should you be searching for information about a particular named style of lace or ground, the drop-down menu below may provide you with direct access to it.
I have also produced an iPhone app which includes much of this material, but organized by individual lace style or ground.
The beauty of publishing on the web is that mistakes are easy to correct. If you wish to take issue with or have a suggestion related to anything in this section, please . I will certainly not take offence. Likewise if you have a query about anything, or would like further information. I shall do my best to help.
The material in this section was originally mounted on the website of The Lace Guild, and many of the illustrations are of items in the Guild’s collection. However, copyright of both text and photographs is mine. If you wish to reproduce part of this material in any form you must apply to me to obtain permission.