Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Early Nineteenth Century Lace Collar/Fichu

I am fascinated by lace. And the more that I look into the subject, and try to learn which lace is called what, and the differences between handmade and machined lace, the more I feel I will never conquer the subject! But I am learning a little about it. I can recognise the basic styles of lace, i.e. Filet, Carrickmacross, Honiton, Maltese, etc, and I can recognise the early laces of the nineteenth century, which is very helpful with dating, but of course, you have to keep in mind that lace was an expensive and prized item, so often it was taken off one item of clothing, and used on another as the fashions changed.

I stumbled across a beautiful Regency early 1800s (1800-20s) lace net collar a few weeks ago:-





Regency Lace Collar


The first thing I tend to do when I try to date early collars is to pop it onto my mannequin, and see how it looks. Much of dating lace pieces such as this one is to look at the shape, and to place the shape with the fashions of the time, along with my knowledge I also have from handling so many antique clothing items over the years.


Early 1800s to early 1820s Mixed Lace Collar


Now while looking at the 2 top photos in this group above we can see what immediately jumped out at me; no matter how I tried to arrange the plain net section, it insisted on sitting very high up on the neck. It would not lay flat, and that was because it fitted in with the fashion for high necks of the 1800s to early 1820s period. That is not to say that there weren't low necklines in this period, of course there were, but go past the mid to late 1820s and this fashion for high necks was no longer in vogue. Now here it is worth a mention that of course I am generalising. There only ever can be generalisations in fashion history to a degree; real life means some women who preferred the old style of dress (whatever that may mean in a particular time in history) would continue to wear it; much older ladies who had not quite got used to the 'new fashions'.

So the next thing to do is to look at the lace used, and how it has been sewn together. This collar comprises of 3 separate pieces; the narrow lace frill, the net section in the middle, and the outer edge with very wide lace.



In these close ups above, we can see the two types of lace used. From what I can make out the narrow gathered lace frill is a Lille lace. The much wider piece is a Midlands (Bucks) lace. The Lille has small woven in squares, which are known as 'Point D'esprit'. Now these two types of lace (Bucks and Lille) are very similar in style and production, and even the experts often struggle, so if I don't have it quite right, please forgive me. But both are one or the other I am sure! I am wondering if the wide lace here is also a Lille lace.

I have a few items of mainly 1800-1830s accessories on my website here, and my next post I will be looking at an early (1820s) Carrcikmacross collar, with mock Dresden lace motifs, very interesting.

Naomi x