I recently got an inquiry through our museum email regarding this piece of lace.  The woman, who gave permission for me to share these photos, got this piece 40-50 years ago as an "old" piece  of lace. 

She first sent me a low resolution photo.  I suspected it was machined lace as pieces of this nature which I see are more often than not machined compilations of motifs from varying types of lace.  I asked for larger close ups so that I could see the threads.

I then received this a second photo, which made me especially curious about the edge treatment.  Her husband was able to take some great close ups.

It is clear it is bobbin lace.  Because of the unique nature of the pattern along with the evident experimental nature of the execution of the lace, I ruled out it having been machine made.  I then began looking at the design and elements.  To me,it has many of the elements and design tools of  what I have seen coming from the artists out of the Czech lace school.    I am still perplexed by the edging.  I have worked a lot with freehand and early laces, and can not recall coming upon an edge quite like this.  I have that feeling that it is very similar to something I have seen in the early laces and will be smacking my palm upon my head sooner than later.

What do you think of this piece?  I will leave the owner anonymous, but she is very excited about her lace.  She is extremely happy others may want to look at it and offered to mail it to me for further inspection.  That was how the high quality images came about, as I did not want to risk it getting lost in the mail when close ups would likely get the job done.  If we want to ask her any questions, I am quite certain she will  be happy to engage further.

I have about 9 pictures which I am happy to share with anyone, but it is giving me a limit of three here.


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It looks like this, from Dagobert Peche of the Wiener Werkstatte.DSC02519.JPG

Kim, you are absolutely correct, it is bobbin lace. Structure is that of a part lace. I really like the raised tallies on various places. Devon's suggestion is also appropriate.

Hi Kim,

Would you be able to post an overall in a new post? What a fun piece! Any figural is my favorite. I especially love the different treatments of joins in bobbin lace...whether it's a continuously made piece or a joined piece. 

Laura Sandison

The photo I already posted of a piece that I think is the same is from a private collector who has identified it as a Dagobert Peche design. Here is further confirmation. The page is from The Unknown Wiener Werkstatte Embroidery and Lace, 1906-1930. In fact, I think I actually saw the same piece on loan from MAK at the Neue Gallerie in New York, but photogrqpphy was not permitted. I base my theory on the fact of the braided background and that there is a hockey stick or snake, more likely a garter directly in front of the woman's face in your photos and in this piece. It is identified as a Round cover with two reclining women. 

Oddly enough, Gertrude Biedermann, who resided in the San Francisco area made a number of the designs from the Wiener Werkstatte at one time, in the 1970s or 1980s. I came across this peculiar bit of information while I was researching the lace revival. I was curious about why designs that were familiar as Wiener Werkstatte were attributed to her. I think the attribution had to do with the fact that she did have to interpret the line drawings into lace, which is quite difficult. Perhaps your piece is a Biedermann version.

Here is an overall shot.  Just to be clear, this piece is not in the museum's possession.  It is most likely the person I am dealing with is not in California as she offered to "send it to me" by postal mail as opposed to bringing it in.  They did not use a ruler with the pictures, but she described it as a doily.  Generally speaking, doilies are about 5-13". 

This does look very much like the one in the photo, although more poorly executed as well as missing the outer ring.



It is also the mirror image, since both have the embellishments on top.  This is certainly a fun piece.


I really like the edge design on Devon's example. And also Kim's piece. It also occurred to me that the 2nd woman is a mirror image, perhaps a woman and her reflection on water.

I really meant the two lacemakers chose to make the pattern differently - one is the reverse of the other - I am assuming we are seeing the fronts of both pieces.  The design does give one the feeling that it is a woman and her reflection, but not exactly.


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