LACE, as it is now regarded, 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.
Lace Types reviews these historical styles, organizing them first by type of lace, and then by geographical region (although some of the latter — Flanders and Britain, for example — do not correspond to contemporary political divisions). A ‘quick search’ facility is also provided on the home page.
The author of Lace Types, Jean Leader, has studied and written about lace since the 1990s. She has her own website — www.jeanleader.net — to which occasional reference is made under ‘Related Material’, and where you can find further information about her.
Lace Types contains material that was originally written for the The Lace Guild, and many of the illustrations here are of items in the Guild’s collection. However, copyright of both text and photographs belongs to the author. If you wish to reproduce part of this material in any form you must apply for permission.
Do also e-mail the author with queries or to suggest any corrections or additions that you think may be necessary.
Jean and her husband, David, have also produced a modestly-priced iPhone app, entitled Lace. The app addresses the same topic as the website, but is organized differently — by individual lace style or ground, rather historically or geographically. It is available from the Apple App Store, where there is a video preview.
Together with Gil Dye, Jean has produced a book entitled Lace Identification, A Practical Guide. Although this includes the identification of the fine fashion laces of the seventeenth century, its focus is more on the lace of the 18th and 19th century, and includes machine-made as well as hand-made lace.