A superb collection of lace will be on display at Antiques for Everyone, the UK's major spring antiques fair, held at the NEC from 7 – 10 April 2016. 

The Lace Guild present this Spring’s Special Exhibition: 
Lace: the Fashion Accessory from the 18th – 21st Century

Over the centuries fashions change and this selection from the Lace Guild Museum reflects development in designs, fashions and the associated lacemaking techniques.

A short history of lace

From the time of Elizabeth I, lace was a “must have” textile, both as a fashionable addition to clothes and as a decorative part of the soft furnishings in the homes of the wealthy.

During the late 17th and 18th centuries, the commercial handmade Lace industry was Europe wide and its output exported around the world. The advent of new fabrics into Europe, such as the cottons and embroidered muslins had a major impact as the 18th century progressed and influenced the development of lighter and airier laces.

Although the first machine laces were around by the early 19th century, the gradual improvement in their quality and output, cleverly mimicking the desirable, expensive handmade laces, enabled the aspiring middle classes to emulate their social betters. To such an extent that by the end of the 19th century, the handmade industry was a dying craft to which the First World War gave the final death blow.

Lacemaking tools

Each country has its own unique traditional form of bobbins and lacemaking tools. The distinctive English East Midlands beaded and decorated bobbins made from locally sourced wood or bone are rightly recognised as a unique Folk Art, as are those of very different design originating from Devon and we have include a small selection here.

This exhibition, presented by The Lace Guild, will reflect the design and fashion developments of lacemaking spanning four centuries, on display at the Antiques for Everyone Spring Fair, 7 – 10 April 2016.