For those who love hand made lace.
Santina Levey LACE, Victoria & Albert Museum, W.S. Maney & Son, Leeds, 1983. The standard and most scholarly text.
Pat Earnshaw LACE MACHINES AND MACHINE LACES, B.T. Batsford, London 1986. There are 2 volumes. I've only seen volume 1. Helps with understanding what is and isn't possible in machine laces. I could wish some of the close-ups showed more detail.
Pat Earnshaw NEEDLELACE, Merehurst, London 1991. This is really a how-to book, but she gives a very good account of how and when the successive styles appeared, particularly in Venice, France and Flanders.
Fulvia Lewis LACE, Edizioni Remo Sandron, Firenze, 1980. The close up details are really good for learning to distinguish one kind from another. Museum quality needle and bobbin lace.
"I suggest books by Elizabeth Kurella for lace that you might encounter at flea markets and auctions. Heather Toomer's books are good for lace that you might encounter for sale if you are lucky, but more likely in museums. For the hard core, of course, the Santina Levey book, Lace: a History is the best. The Pictorial archive might be more interesting to graphic artists as there are many images, but very little explanation."--Devon Thein
A good source explaining machine laces with drawings of the basic structure each produces. IDENTIFYING HANDMADE AND MACHINE LACE, by DATS in partnership with the V & A musuem. Text by Jeremy Farrell, 2007. DATS = Dress and Textile specialists.
Rosemary Shepherd LACE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM. 2003. Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
Book Appendix Glossary, Powerhouse Museum Lace Collection: Glossary of terms used in the documentation. Rosemary Shepherd: 1983-2003
""Pictorial Archive of Lace Designs: 325 Historic Examples (Dover Pictorial Archive." has photos or drawings of (presumably) 325 laces without any explanation as to what they are. So I don't think it is very useful. The prints are not clear enough to study the laces even if you knew what you were looking at. "-- Karen Thompson
'Lace: a quick guide to identification'.published by the Lace Arts Council for Education from Helen Bell:" It would tuck into a purse or bag. For a go-to on the fly book, it looks to be very handy". from Loretta: "The propose of the book is to help people make a quick identification of the most common types of lace on the market today (antique market that is). There are 40 pages 5½ x 8½ . Each page has a photo and close up of a handmade piece of lace and if possible also a machine made copy of the type of lace. Major identifying points are written for each type. It is broken down into bobbin lace, needle lace, knotted lace, and other. With only 35 pages devoted to identification and one type on each, this is by no means all inclusive. It does cover the most commonly found types of lace available for purchase today. It does a good job of helping people identify handmade vs machine made lace. "
Janet Arnold, PATTERNS OF FASHION, a four volume set on men's and women's fashions by , medieval through 18th maybe early 19th C. It's primarily on reconstructing clothes. Nancy Neff recommends reading the blurbs attached to each volume on amazon to get a better idea of the contents.
Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (Taschen, No. 25) (Midi S.) 2 volumes, by Kyoto Costume Institute (Editor)
Suggestions from Devon Thein:
The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France, 1750-1820
Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England
Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe 1715-1789
Four Hundred Years of Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum,
The Visual History of Costume, Ribeiro & Coming,
Accessories of Dress, An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Lester & Oerke
The Art of Dress, Clothes and Society, 1500-1914, Jane Ashelford
Victorian and Edwardian Fashion, A photographic survey, Alison Gernstein
Please post a comment below, listing whatever books on lace history and lace identification that you think are particularly good, particularly accurate.