Bobbin Lace 18th Century
Antique Bobbin Lace
© Lorelei Halley 2009
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Site Map Mechlin/Flanders-mid 18thc Early Val/Binche Early Brussels/Flemish Brabant Bath Brussels
In general terms, for both straight and part laces, the relative proportions of the surface of the lace devoted to motifs and to ground also changed during the 18th century. In the early part of the century the motifs occupied nearly the whole surface, with very little ground between the motifs. As the century went on ground occupied an ever larger percentage of the lace, until it was about 50% in mid century. During the 1780s we begin to see straight laces which are mostly ground with very small motifs. Some of the used Mechlin ground and some used Point ground. (This fashion may have developed because Marie Antoinette was fond of clear net.) This is a matter of style, but it helps us to date individual pieces. Also whether the headside was straight, slightly scalloped, or deeply scalloped also changed across time.
Early Mechlin or Brussels ground lace
|33 ek Date and origin unknown. Scale and thread are fairly coarse, not typical of Flanders area.|
Straight laces of the 18th century are of two primary types: those with gimp and those without gimp. Levey considers the distinction between Binche and Valenciennes to be immaterial this early: both towns were very close together, and there was no reason for their styles to have developed differently. The distinction only becomes important in the Revival Era laces. Revival Era Straight Lace. These Binche/Val laces did not have gimp, but did have a ring pair. The other group are laces with gimp. Some authorities call these Mechlin, after the major town in the district, but some European writers call these Flanders, after the name of the whole district. So there are two kinds:
Binche/Val no gimp
However both groups used a multiplicity of grounds, among which were: Flanders ground (5 hole), Paris ground, Valenciennes ground (round version), Binche snowflakes in half stitch (12 thread armure), other Binche snowflakes, Binche snowballs of various kinds, Mechlin ground. In the early years of the century you could find any one of these with equal frequency. As the century progressed the preferred grounds changed somewhat. By around 1750 in the Mechlin/Flanders laces Flanders ground was becoming more common than all the others. But Mechlin ground increased in frequency because it began to be used in those laces which were mostly ground. This general type developed into the Napoleonic Era laces. After about 1770 we don't see Flanders, Paris, or the various Binche snowflakes and snowballs. The Binche/Val laces began to use Val ground exclusively at mid century. Val laces continued throughout the 19th century, but were always made with Val ground (square version).
Mechlin/Flanders: Laces with Gimp *
Mid 18th century
early Flanders bobbin lace
|13 n ek Mechlin ground||14 ek Mechlin ground||30 ek Paris ground
See also Revival Era Paris.
|11 ek Flanders ground
See also Revival Era Flanders.
|12 ek Flanders ground|
|Mechlin/Flanders lace with armure ground||
Mechlin/Flanders lace with ground of snowflakes in half stitch
|10 ek armure ground (Binche snowflakes in half stitch)||500 IT Armure ground|
|Laces of uncertain date.||
These are probably 1770s.
|21 ek Mechlin ground
This may be c 1790
|26 ek point ground. Date unknown.||22 ek Mechlin ground. I have seen several laces in this style. Some were straight laces, some were part laces. I am just not sure if these are mid 18th century or 1830-1850. A short repeat is typical of Napoleonic era laces and its close successors. This is not a short repeat.||20 ek Mechlin ground
This may be post Napoleonic. I'm not sure of the date.
See also revival era Mechlin Napoleonic era and 19th century Mechlin laces.
Early Valenciennes/Binche: No Gimp *
|This group are very early, probably 1700 - 1715.|
|Binche bobbin lace|
|1 ek early 18th|
|131 rh||493 IT|
See also revival era Binche and revival era Valenciennes
|These are a little later: c. 1715-1735. *|
|2 2nd qtr 18th ek snowball||4 ek Flanders ground snowflake filling||7 ek snowball||5 several gnds ek|
|8 ek Flanders||494 IT snowball||3 ek Flanders ground snowball filling|
|These are mid-century, c. 1740-1760. *|
|early Flanders bobbin lace||
|6 ek mid 18th c Flanders ground||495 it Flanders ground||485 it Flanders ground|
Early Brussels (Flemish) *
|156 bn||487 it||158 bn|
See also very early Brussels
Brussels circa 1720-1740 *
|36 ek||195 ek||565 it|
|38 ek||All the white outlines are raised work, not gjmp.||37 ek|
mid century (also sometimes called Point d'Angleterre) *
|159 LH||Original ground was droschel, but has been replaced in places by a needle made ground.||40 ek droschel ground
19th c Duchesse
|lace 182 Ilske Thomsen
Levey uses this description for laces with a slightly looser weave and less distinct design. She regards these as probably made in outlying districts away from, and not so closely in touch with, the fashion center in the town.
|Brabant bobbin lace|
|43 ek||42 ek||44 ek This is a little later than the 2 previous.|
Bath Brussels: Levey's term for laces of the same time period, made in England. *
|Bath Brussels bobbin lace||Ilske Thomsen and I are not sure whether 555 and 172 are Devon laces (what Levey calls Bath Brussels) or Brussels. One way to distinguish them is by the fillings. None of these use typically English fillings. See 760 and 47 for comparison.||See 19th c Honiton for comparison. Look at #760 and #47.|
|555 IT Ilske thinks this is 1770s Devon.||Compare this and the one below to laces 40 and 182 above.|
|lace172 IT This is a very similar design to the one above. Reverse side||front side|
| Site Map
Bobbin 2 structural classes
Bobbin lace history overview
| 19th c
Straight Bar Lace
19th c Straight Mesh Lace
19th c Part Lace
| Revival Era Straight Lace
Revival Era Part Lace
New Revival Era