My sister-in-law bought two pieces of lace while in Bize (southern France). She wants me to identify them. I assumed to start with that they are machine made, but I've looked carefully at them and now I'm not sure! I know a bit about English lace, but this is presumably Mainland Europe. Or machine-made, of course... I've had a look at Pat Earnshaw's book on identification of lace and it wasn't much help.

I'm going to post hi-res photos - ask me for more if quality not good enough. I'm going to post them one at a time, and make comments for each. (This is in case uploads go wrong - I don't want to have to keep redoing uploading large photos!)

First, small scale photo of piece 1 (the rest are better quality - honest!) This is to show pattern. It's two pieces sewn together.

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Now - both sides are the same, and the threads go continuously throughout the lace. The cloth stitch and most of the grounds look to me like hand-made (but then so does some machine made...)

The parts of lace that I think helps to id between machine made and hand made are the footside, the simplest net, and the headside. So - here's the footside.

This looks to me like a perfectly good hand made footside with a thicker thread threaded through afterwards (possibly for strength, or to gather the lace).

The simplest net.

It's what I casually call Bucks Point net, although the number of twists might be different. It's definitely not Valencienne. Two pairs per pin (if they used a pin). You can see hexagons, although it's been pulled out of true in some place. All threads same width.

The headside.

Conventional picots, I think. There are a couple of gimps there. (No doubt called something else because we're not in England!) You can see part of the treatment of the cloth stitch areas as well.

That's the end of piece one. Any ideas? Machine made or hand made? If hand made, what style? Any ideas as to age?

Now for the second piece. It's whiter than the other (which was fawn) and I feel more that this is machine made, but not sure. Here is the (poor quality) small scale, for the pattern).

The footside.

What is going on here?

The net.
Looks conventional as far as what the threads are doing, (two pairs - Bucks Point net style). But - I don't know - it feels a bit regular. perhaps they were just good at it!

The headside.
The picots are single threads. Well - OK - knotted picots... You can see the gimps and some cloth stitch.

That's the lot! It's annoying me that I can't tell whether something is hand made or machine made! My feeling is - first piece might be hand made, second machine made. But both may be one or the other. And style... Neither are Valencienne, because the net is wrong. Both are worked as a continuous strip, with net holding things together (and the threads of the net go through the cloth stitch and out the other side OK). There's gimps outlining the cloth stitch. When I look through Pat Earnshaw's Identification of lace, nothing seems to fit. But she does a lot on English lace, and has historic and high quality examples of lace, which is unhelpful in identifying a piece bought at an antique shop!

I guess that my conclusion is that if it's hand made, then it's very nice hand made lace. And in fact, if it's machine made, it isn't bad at that either - both pieces manage to copy hand made techniques closely (except possibly the footside of the second, but that may be a footside I haven't meet yet, or they've threaded through other threads afterwards, like the first piece).

Anyway, I'd be grateful for any advice! Tell me if you want other photos, and where.

Jo - These do look like handmade bobbin lace, Mechlin specifically. There is a thick gimp surrounding the cloth stitch motifs. And the ground shows little vertical stacks, which is typical of Mechlin ground.  

The ground is not point ground.  But this is:  

I think you forgot to post the link to the 2nd piece. I'd like to see it.  Sorry for the delay. I haven't been onlline much recently.

Oh. I certainly uploaded them all. Perhaps the software isn't working. I'll try again. These are the enlargements of the second piece.

Nope - doesn't seem to be working. I'll try to do it directly....

And the first piece


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