Wandering through Wikipedia again today, I came across this kind of "lace loom" or "lace drum" according to Google translate. The page says "Tambour à dentelle". It wasn't represented on the bobbin lace Wikipedia page, so I added it to that too. 

This is the image and the details page: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gens_de_l%27alpe_Mus%C3%A9e...

It is also linked to a larger image of the display at this exhibit. They were largely 18th century, but one dates in the 17th. 

I have seen similar ones in the New York Historical Society.

I am now obsessed, of course. I saw one in a local antique store, but it was above my pay grade. WAY above. 

But: I haven't seen any contemporary copies. Does anyone make this kind of pillow today? I'd love to give one a spin.... [see what I did there...??]. 

Anyone have other information on the use of these? I'd like to learn more.

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These are pillows from Queyras in the French Alps.

I bought a modern copy in 2009 - their bobbins are carved and amazing.  This is largely a freehand lace.

Laurie Waters
Northern New Mexico Museum of Lace - the website is finally up at https://nnmml.org

Gorgeous. Exactly what I'd love to find somewhere. I found a blog or two, but no links to someone who sells them so far.

I saw a gorgeous pillow like this at a home in Tasmania (Australia) about 30 or more years ago.  There was some lace being worked on it, and the Continental bobbins were beautifully carved too, - ? to match.  It was held in a special stand, as far as I can remember.

I think they call them Drum Pillows, though I am not sure.  Anyway, they are a beautiful piece of equipment!!

It looks to me as if it is a type of bolster pillow - i.e. you pin the pattern round it, and turn the pillow to work it. The end carvings are beautiful but irrelevant. 

Yeah, the NY Historical collection also has a number of the intricate bobbins too: https://emuseum.nyhistory.org/objects/69355/lace-bobbin 

The carvings are lovely and diverse, from what I've seen. But I also love the clever little storage door, and it looks like that has some helpful dating on it, at least in some of them.


The reason these are so expensive is that you are competing with collectors of traditional chip carving, and good rare pieces always go for high prices. Fakes are rampant in this field, so be careful, especially when you see a date.

Here's another modern copy I bought in 2009 which also includes a stand:

You can also occasionally see French chip carving on other lace-related items, like footstools:

And a close relative of the art in the occasional sculpture:

The person who made my colored Queyras pillow and the carved bobbins was Marc Amblard:

He also did a beautiful Maurienne pillow and stand for me:

I don't know if he is around anymore, I was corresponding with him in 2007 and 2008. He also only spoke French.

Oh, that's a huge help--I can see him working even fairly recently on these. I really appreciate the lead, and the other info about the furniture too! I was considering writing up a piece on lace furniture at some point for our local lace newsletter, and I will keep those in mind as well.


I did a piece on lace furniture on LaceNews back in 2011:


Very interesting, - and what a good thing this history is being preserved here and shared with us all.

Amazing the skills of the various craftspeople. And how good there are still folks like us around to appreciate it!!

this type of pillow, a sort of wheel, was used in the mountains between France and Italy, and Switzerland. The laces made were a form of "freehand" lace.

a few of the ones on this page (mine) are of your type.





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