I was curious about what research has been done regarding spangles on early lace.

I was reading a copy of Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court in the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. The book details what was paid to who for products or services provided for  the revels that were held for royalty.  The accounts also include notes back to the mid-1500s, when Elizabeth was still a princess.  

Lace is frequently mentioned, and along with the lace are charges for spangles, or laces made with spangles.  I had no idea what this might mean, until I was loaned a copy of 2 books from the V&A museum examining some of their extant sixteen and seventeenth century women's clothes.  Sure enough, a few of the garments with lace still partially intact showed the use of spangles - flat oval or teardrop shaped silver or or other metal with a hole punched near one edge that was worked into the lace, usually at the edge on a picot.

I just scanned through Shepherd's An Early Lace Workbook but found no mention of spangles (unless I overlooked something). Dye mentions spangles in Elizabethan Lace, stating it was frequently used on Elizabethan lace.  Earnshaw's Dictionary of Lace only talks about the spangles on bobbins. I can't call to mind at the moment any portraits with spangles, although I've seen ones with beads and/or teardrop pearls.  Is there some scholarship I'm missing regarding spangles, perhaps in Arnold?  (I only have her 4th book.)  Or maybe Dye's newest 3 books?

Thank you

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Gold and Siver Edgings, by Gilian Dye, p. 9.

When we were making the Plimouth jacket they had someone cutting them out with a punch in order to get the tear drop shape ones. I suppose you can easily subsitute sequins for the circular ones.

I have seen portraits where the individual was wearing lace with spangles, but I can't remember exactly which or where.

In Gilian Dye's book Gold and Silver Edgings, she discusses spangles briefly and has photos showing original spangles.  What else did you want to know about them?  

I'd like to know how the spangles were incorporated into the design.

Since I started this topic, I've found a few portraits with spangled lace - sometimes so many spangles that you can't see the edge of the lace! (It occurs to me that the spangles may have touched or brushed against each other when the wearer moved - would that mean she tinkled when she walked? *grin*)

It seems a later period style that gained popularity in the late 1500s and 1600s, then seems to have vanished, at least from portraits I've looked at.

If I decide to make spangled lace, I've considered looking for teardrop shaped modern spangles, but I imagine the "heft" of the plastic foil-y ones would not be right. I can't imagine the metal tags could have been *too* heavy, but there would have been some weight to them. (Devon, can you tell me more about what the Plimoth ones were like?) And again, metal would tink if it hit other metal. I've seen the Oes spangles sewn onto the garment itself, but the lace edging teardrop spangles appear to be different.

Another thing is that, for as many spangles as were ordered for her revels, I've yet to find a portrait of Queeen Elizabeth with spangled lace (the wired and pearled laces, yes, but no hanging spangles). When was it appropriate to wear spangled lace? Should it be a barely-used excess, not to be overdone? Was there a "class" restriction (okay for mayor's wives, not for the queen)?

There's so much to wonder about!

From the images I've seen, they are found on edging lace, typically where the lace comes to a point.  If you go to the V&A website and search for "lace spangles", there's extant clothing with some spangles still attached. 

Stella Lee said:

I'd like to know how the spangles were incorporated into the design.

It's so exciting when you can find examples in portraits and extant garments. Do you have a Pinterest board? I'd love to see the portraits you've referenced. It hadn't occurred to me to wonder about the difference between the modern spangles and metal ones. I'm sure metals ones could be sourced. 

Nancy M. Terselic said:

Since I started this topic, I've found a few portraits with spangled lace - sometimes so many spangles that you can't see the edge of the lace! (It occurs to me that the spangles may have touched or brushed against each other when the wearer moved - would that mean she tinkled when she walked? *grin*)

It seems a later period style that gained popularity in the late 1500s and 1600s, then seems to have vanished, at least from portraits I've looked at.

If I decide to make spangled lace, I've considered looking for teardrop shaped modern spangles, but I imagine the "heft" of the plastic foil-y ones would not be right. I can't imagine the metal tags could have been *too* heavy, but there would have been some weight to them. (Devon, can you tell me more about what the Plimoth ones were like?) And again, metal would tink if it hit other metal. I've seen the Oes spangles sewn onto the garment itself, but the lace edging teardrop spangles appear to be different.

Another thing is that, for as many spangles as were ordered for her revels, I've yet to find a portrait of Queeen Elizabeth with spangled lace (the wired and pearled laces, yes, but no hanging spangles). When was it appropriate to wear spangled lace? Should it be a barely-used excess, not to be overdone? Was there a "class" restriction (okay for mayor's wives, not for the queen)?

There's so much to wonder about!

The garment I am most familiar with is the Margaret Layton jacket, but I will definitely go and do a search as you suggest. I would need to double check but I thought the lace on the Layton Jacket had spangles in other parts of the lace, not just the points. It seems quite sensible that mostly they would be on the points of lace.  Last time I looked I noticed there are new photos up since my initial drooling research of the jacket.

Have you ever added spangles into your lace? I was wondering if you need to thread all the spangles on before you start or if you add them as you go like you would with beads.

I'm so excited to find I am not the only crazy person who wonders about spangles and stuff from hundreds of years ago. 



Nancy M. Terselic said:

From the images I've seen, they are found on edging lace, typically where the lace comes to a point.  If you go to the V&A website and search for "lace spangles", there's extant clothing with some spangles still attached. 

Stella Lee said:

I'd like to know how the spangles were incorporated into the design.

Hello I have been recreating a 17th century piece of lace that has spangles. The lace is on a bearing cloth (an outer cover used for wrapping a baby)  We have this bearing cloth at the museum where I work in Norfolk England. There are two other bearing cloths that are very simila to my knowledge, one in the V&A on loan and the other in a private collection. They all have spangles. The V&A do have lots of articles on show from this period that have spangles. Gloves shoes jackets etc.

There is a museum in Gandino in Italy that have a large collection of gold & silver laces some with spangles, from the 16C & 17C

I have not been able to find much information on how they were made however I have made some myself by hand cutting without a punch just using sissors, from thin brass and drilling the hole then fileing the edges it was very labour intensive but they did look authentic. I would be very interested in any information you may come across about spangles. I have includid a close up picture of part of the lace from the original bearing cloth. the spangles are not uniform and so I think may have been cut by hand.

Regads Leslie

Leslie

I imagine, but don't know for certain, that the method you used to make your spangles is very like the method used historically.  Lace making is labor intensive, why would spangle making be any different?

Possibly the most egregious use of spangles in lace is in the portrait of Mary Denton from the York Art Gallery - that's the one where the amount of spangles obscures the edge of the lace.

I'm reading through Book 3 of Gilian Dye's Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Lace, "Surface Decoration in Silk Thread and Metallic Thread" and she has a section about spangles with some additional examples of extant pieces with spangles!

Leslie, I don't see your photo from the cloth - could you please post it here?


Stella,

Depending on where you are adding the spangles, you would either thread them on the bobbins before you begin or add them as you would add beads through sewings.  For edgings, they'd have to be pre-threaded on the bobbins.

I haven't tried playing with spangles yet, but it is definitely on my to-do list.  Step one is to find spangles I'd be happy putting in my lace, step 2 would be finding a picture of some extant lace to copy, although the Sixteen and Seventeenth Century Women's Clothing books from the V&A include not only fabulous close-up photos of the lace, but conjectured prickings!!

I'm beginning to wonder, based on the examples still around, if spangles were primarily added to gold and silver thread lace.  It wouldn't make too much sense to spangle plain linen, I suppose, and the spangles could potentially cut their way out of the lace depending on how much wear the lace was subjected to. 


Stella Lee said:

The garment I am most familiar with is the Margaret Layton jacket, but I will definitely go and do a search as you suggest. I would need to double check but I thought the lace on the Layton Jacket had spangles in other parts of the lace, not just the points. It seems quite sensible that mostly they would be on the points of lace.  Last time I looked I noticed there are new photos up since my initial drooling research of the jacket.

Have you ever added spangles into your lace? I was wondering if you need to thread all the spangles on before you start or if you add them as you go like you would with beads.

I'm so excited to find I am not the only crazy person who wonders about spangles and stuff from hundreds of years ago. 



Nancy M. Terselic said:

From the images I've seen, they are found on edging lace, typically where the lace comes to a point.  If you go to the V&A website and search for "lace spangles", there's extant clothing with some spangles still attached. 

Stella Lee said:

I'd like to know how the spangles were incorporated into the design.

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