Lace

century, type, thread, pattern, venetian, bobbin, italian, needlepoint, 17th and laces

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When the lace-makers realized that their perfected technique no longer required the support of the reticulated background with its linen foundation, they discarded the old process and used patterns of cloth-backed parchment, on which an outlining thread was couched that served as a supporting framework for the pattern; and on this outlining thread the looped stitchery was worked on the surface but not through the parchment foundation. When the work was finished a sharp knife passed between the parchment, and the cloth-backing cut the couching threads and the lace worked on the surface was released. Thus at the beginning of the 17th century we find the geometric reticello type giving way to pat terns of deep points—both in needlepoint and bobbin-made laces, which in time were supplanted by patterns of foliated scrolls com bined with irregular tie-bars or brides that served to hold the edges of the pattern in place. With greater dexterity of work manship and increasing demand for richer fabrics the simple punto in aria soon took on an accentuated cordonnet (P1. IX., fig. 7) which in time was varied by the introduction of details worked in high relief and edged with picots (loops), the heavy Venetian point (It. punto tagliato a fogliami, or punto a relievo; Fr. Gros point de Venise; Ger. V enezianer Reliefspitze). The highest stage of its development, however, is found in the panto roselline or rose point of the early 18th century with its evenly distributed accentuation and its exquisitely delicate technique. It was thus that Italy's lace-workers, who supplied the world market during the greater part of the 17th century, laid the foundation on which the art of lace-making in other countries was based. Three other Venetian needlepoints should be mentioned before turning to Italian pillow-made lace : (I) Punto avorio, closely worked needle point bands of silk or linen, a peasant lace peculiar to the Valle Vogna district in northern Italy; (2) The grounded Venetian, which the French term point de Venise a reseazt, the most delicate of all needle-wrought fabrics, and probably designed to compete with the exquisite Brussels pillow-made fabric ; (3) Burano lace, identified by its vertically worked mesh of unevenly spun thread that gives a clouded effect to the ground. The patterns are usually composed of a simple coral spray or a floral disc motive outlined with a heavier thread overcast with a sparsely worked buttonhole stitch.

Lace

Of Italian pillow-made laces, those of Genoa and Milan, some times termed North Italian guipure, are the most important. In the 15th century (1411-20) Genoa was importing large quantities of gold thread from Cyprus, and later became the centre from which the luxurious courts of Europe obtained their gold and silver passementeries and laces. English wardrobe accounts of the i6th century record the purchase of Genoese silk lace for Queen Elizabeth, and a mouchoir de point de Gennes frise is mentioned among the effects of Marie de Medici.

Among the more important Italian bobbin laces are the follow ing : (I) Pointed lace; Genoese and Venetian of the i6th and 17th centuries, used for neck-ruffs, handkerchiefs and aprons. The Genoese has a characteristic stitch resembling a grain of wheat throughout the pattern ; the Venetian is more delicate in texture. (2) Point de Milan, although termed "point," is a pillow-made bobbin lace. The 17th century types are guipure, scroll and bride pattern without mesh; the i8th century scroll and figure motives in a field of mesh. (3) Tape and needlepoint lace, made to imitate heavy Venetian point has a pattern composed of narrow bobbin tape combined with needlepoint stitches. (4) Ligurian or Genoese

types, a 17th century pointed lace of flat bobbin braid-like texture, and a reticello type, often termed point de Genes frise, His pano-Moresque or Greek lace. (5) Vermicelli, a fine-meshed i8th century lace of the Mechlin type in which the pattern is outlined with a heavier thread.

The interrelation between Europe and the Far East during the middle ages and in the 15th century between Italy and the Levant is evidenced not only in the migration of patterns. but also in the transmission of various techniques; thus it is that the graceful arabesques of Persian rug weaves and tooled leather-work com bined with the floral motives of Rhodian pottery reappear in Venetian points of the 17th century just as the Lela sfilata type of Italian drawn-work is undoubtedly of Near Eastern origin.

The Orient.—In the Orient a lace technique similar to that of Italian needlepoint is found in occasional Chinese embroideries of the i8th century. This is a buttonhole stitch with an extra twist in the loop worked in an open pattern over a couched outline, the completed fabric resembling details in Venetian needlepoint and also early English Hollie point. Bobbin lace-making was first taught in China by missionaries settled at Chefoo in the latter part of the 19th century. In 1895 British missionaries commercialized the work which developed into a thriving industry in the Chefoo, Chi Hsia Hsien and Shantung districts where torchon, Maltese, French and Belgian patterns were copied first in silk and later in linen and cotton thread, the finest of which were made at Ching Chou, a town 3o m. W. of Weihsien. In 1920 filet was introduced in the Chefoo district which attained a highly perfected technique and which was exported in large quantities to America, while other laces were marketed in Australia.

The history of lace-work in Persia and Syria is confined to net work embroidered in coloured silk, simple drawn-work used in edging embroideries, Greek bibilia or Turkish oyah, a needlepoint fabric peculiar to the eastern Mediterranean district.

The Mediterranean Area.

In this should be included the islands of the Aegean where in Crete is found a simple type of bobbin lace in which the pattern is outlined in colour; this lace is closely allied to i8th century Spanish polychrome lace and also to a type found in central Europe. In Sicily technique and pat terns follow Italian tradition both in network, drawn-work and bobbin laces which in the 19th century were abandoned for em broidered machine net, much of which was used in bridal veils and for trimming ecclesiastical vestments. The old work of Sardinia is described by Signora Ricci as a peculiar type of filet designed with confronted birds often worked in rather coarse blue and white thread, or again a finer quality of white thread is found in works more elaborately designed in which an angular type of scroll is combined with figure motives. The silk bobbin lace of Malta, in which the Maltese cross is a distinguishing mark, has been copied extensively in the Far East, both in China and India, where the work has been introduced by missionaries. Like the old Genoese it has in its pattern the stitch resembling an oat or wheat seed and is likewise of a guipure type. Turning to the Barbary States, Morocco is a field rich in embroidery which reflects both Indian and Italian influences, but its lace-work is confined to a very coarse heavily knotted filet designed with archaic animal motives, and a simple type of needlepoint worked in a stitch similar to the punto avorio of Italy often used as an entre-deux.

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