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H3771 Border, bobbin lace / embroidered lace, bobbin and needle made, linen, maker unknown, [Italy], 1550-1600. Click to enlarge.

Italian bobbin lace border

Made
  • late 1500s
In the 1500s bobbin lace was quicker and cheaper to make than cutwork or needle lace, and was often made to the same patterns; the wider insertion is clearly related to contemporary reticella, while its border is similar to early designs for punto in aria (needle lace). Similar borders are held in other collections and illustrated in the literature.

Summary

Object No.

H3771

Object Statement

Border, bobbin lace / embroidered lace, bobbin and needle made, linen, maker unknown, [Italy], 1550-1600

Physical Description

Border, bobbin lace / embroidered lace, bobbin and needle made, linen, maker unknown, [Italy], 1550-1600

The border has a central insertion of reticella style cutwork featuring two alternating eight-pointed star motifs. Along one edge is a narrow zig-zag bobbin lace insertion, and along the other a wider bobbin insertion, featuring a repeating design of decorated circles and diamonds attached to a border with double curves between elaborately toothed points. In the 1500s bobbin lace was quicker and cheaper to make than cutwork or needle lace, and was often made to the same patterns; the wider insertion is clearly related to contemporary reticella, while its border is similar to early designs for punto in aria (needle lace). Similar borders are held in other collections and illustrated in the literature. (References in 'notes')

The cutwork features two alternating eight-pointed star motifs. The points of one star are worked in knotted buttonhole stitch, without a straight return, and in the other the points are needlewoven. The spokes of each star wheel are overcast. The vertical dividing lines between each star are needlewoven over the only vertical threads of the base linen which have been left in the lace; the remaining lines are buttonholed, with or without picots.

The zig-zag trail of the narrow bobbin insertion is worked in cloth-and-twist, with three pairs of bobbins, and the straight edges are four-strand plaits (seven pairs used in all). This is a typical seaming insertion dating from the early development of bobbin lace. The wider insertion has circles of four-strand plaits; another plait passes through the middle of each circle and divides to make a smaller circle of twisted single pairs attached to the outer plaits by twisted bars. Between the plaited circles are diamonds, each formed by four leaf tallies crossed by a fifth leaf. Although the pointed border is a discrete design it is worked in one piece with the insertion, in cloth stitch and plaiting. What appears to be a single twisted pair passing through all points is a series of discontinuous single pairs twisted from one point to the next.

Rosemary Shepherd 2-9-13

Dimensions

Width

153 mm

Depth

625 mm

Production

Made

  • late 1500s

Notes

The zig-zag trail of the narrow bobbin insertion is worked in cloth-and-twist, with three pairs of bobbins, and the straight edges are four-strand plaits (seven pairs used in all). This is a typical seaming insertion dating from the early development of bobbin lace. The wider insertion has circles of four-strand plaits; another plait passes through the middle of each circle and divides to make a smaller circle of twisted single pairs attached to the outer plaits by twisted bars. Between the plaited circles are diamonds, each formed by four leaf tallies crossed by a fifth leaf. Although the pointed border is a discrete design it is worked in one piece with the insertion, in cloth stitch and plaiting. A single twisted pair passes through all points, presumably to hold them in place.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1934

Acquisition Date

1 August 1934

Cite this Object

Harvard

Italian bobbin lace border 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 1 July 2022, <https://ma.as/237585>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/237585 |title=Italian bobbin lace border |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=1 July 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}