For discussions of lace history and lace identification.  You can post a photo into a comment box for a lace you want to discuss.  Bobblin lace history.  About historic lace. Kinds of lace.  Distinguish types of lace.

We can identify a piece of lace for you, but we need good detail.  At least one photo with this kind of detail is necessary.  Otherwise we are just guessing.  A shot of the whole thing is useful because that shows us the style.  Style gives us clues to date and possibly geographical origin.  But we need the detail shot to tell us how it was made.

Members: 138
Latest Activity: on Friday

Examples + Resources


Jean Leader's new website, different types of lace -

To compare needle lace, tatting and crochet, Kathleen Minniti's sampler.

My antique lace boards on Pinterest 

My collection of boards on Pinterest 

Jo Edkins lace collection online:

Laces compared:

A university based website specializing in the social history attached to lacemaking


 Bobbin lace    antiquebobbinlace     bobbinlace3     Needle lace    needlelace2 

For recognizing Swedish bobbin lace:

Tatting     tatting2   tatting3      

Filet lace    filetlace2    filetlace3   filet lace4    Buratto 

Sol lace   sollace2   sol lace3

Knitted lace    knittedlace2     Crochet lace        Irish crochet lace      IrishCrochet2      


Bobbin tape lace  bobbin tape lace 2   

Mixed tape lace-machinetape      Romanian needlepoint lace  


Embroidery on tulle-needlerun      Embroidery on tulle-tambour        Carrickmacross  



This is what it takes to make a cloth stitch strip with a machine. I don't know which machine this is. ;

Chemical lace   ChemicalLace2  chemical lace3     chemical lace4     

See this for a technical explanation of the chemical lace process.

Barmen machine lace        Raschel machine lace     Leavers machine

machine1 (not sure what machine) a booklet which purports to distinguish machine from hand made laces. Some of the diagrams of typical machine structural elements are quite good. But too many of the comparison photos do not have enough detail to verify whether they are in fact machine made or hand made. The photos don't all show the individual threads. Still, the booklet is useful for the diagrams and descriptions of the various machine laces.




The Koon collection CD is a collection of images from the Eunice Sein Koon
Collection of Lace donated to IOLI by Ms. Koon. Ms. Koon was the editor of
Lace Craft Quarterly and a collector of lace.  It is not related to the
Minnesota collection to the best of my knowledge.  The CD is a series of
Powerpoint slides organized as the collection pieces are numbered.  There
are approximately 100 pieces of various types of lace in the Koon
collection.  Pictures from the CD could be copied and pasted into another
Powerpoint presentation, or the images could be used to request pieces of
lace from the collection for study by IOLI members.  Policy for use of this
lace is described on p. 58 of the IOLI Member Handbook. -- Jo Ann Eurell


The IOLI - Internation Organization of Lace, Inc. has a study box of lace fragments that members can borrow.  

(I am searching for a link)

IOLI also has a lending library for members' use

A site with good photos of high quality antique laces: ;

Discussion Forum

Strange mesh 3 Replies

Does anyone recognize this lace? My first thought was Lille, but the design is a little off, more like 19th c Valenciennes. Maybe Valenciennes with a round-hole mesh? But Val isn't known for the…Continue

Started by Laurie Waters. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator on Friday.

Lacemaking history 6 Replies

Please, does anyone know for sure how lace tokens were used in Great Britain in the 1700s?I have read theories that the tokens were given in lieu of governmental coinage due to a coin shortage, but…Continue

Started by Laurie Elliott. Last reply by Laurie Waters May 13.

Mystery technique 6 Replies

Someone has contacted the New England Lace Group to ask for help identifying the technique used to make a shawl, the fiber used and how best to repair it. The first problem is actually figuring out…Continue

Started by Jill Hawkins. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Feb 10.

History of Lacemaking 3 Replies

A friend has been asked to make a presentation about the history of lacemaking. She asked about reference books for her preparation.  My suggestion is An Early Lace Workbook by Rosemary…Continue

Started by Sally Olsen. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 31.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Identification-History to add comments!

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on January 19, 2019 at 8:03pm

Yes, now I see it.

Comment by Devon Thein on January 19, 2019 at 4:54pm

Dear Lorelei,

I think that you are looking at a piece of machine made mesh that was patched into the piece. Here is a photo where the machine made mesh is outlined in red, the handmade in green and in between you can see that they were overlapped. 

Yes, I think you are correct that when the motifs were small they applied them, because it was too much trouble to sew them in, whereas with larger motifs it might have been more time efficient to sew them in. . It is quite likely that both techniques are to be found in the same piece in some instances. 

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on January 19, 2019 at 3:58pm

The mesh on your 3rd example appears to be made like this:

It is a mesh made with 2 threads instead of the usual 4. 

From a practical standpoint whether the motifs have droschel ground attached to their edges, or whether the ground covers the entire back of the motifs (applique) would depend on the relative size of the motifs. If the motifs are large, then hooking the droschel ground net threads into the motif edge would save work. But if the motifs are small then letting the net cover the entire back of the motifs would be faster. Doing sewings takes time. Its a question of which method is faster. I'm still a little fuzzy on exactly when machine made nets were widely available, and reliably available. My impression is that would be the 1820s or 1830s. Your Charles X piece might fit in the machine net era. But the others, probably not. So assume hand work.

Comment by Devon Thein on January 19, 2019 at 11:54am

Yesterday, I realized after going through my photography, thee the making of the drochel ground in strips in Point d'Angleterre, or Brussels vrai drochel edgings is the norm, although I had never noticed it before. Subsequently, I heard from a well regarded lace authority who has a great deal of knowledge.She asked me whether I had ever seen a piece that was strips joined together with the motifs applied (as I had thought was the norm.)  She also suggested that if the process was applique, perhaps the underlying mesh was actually machine made. 

This got me to thinking about why I had formed the opinion that this had been done, and I looked around in my books. I found the source of this information in Marian Powys, Lace and Lacemaking, p. 136. "The technique of this lace is the same as Point d'Angleterre, but in the Empire period, when there was often little decoration at the border of a large space of net, the ground was made in strips about three-quarters of an inch wide, invisibly joined. The lace was applied to this ground, or more exactly the ground to the lace, as was done after with the machine-made nets in the Brussels appllique laces." She is writing about the Diana and Endymion coverlet which we have in the Met (44.91.1) It is quite likely that this may be a commission for royalty or the aristocracy. I am posting a photo of this piece showing the applique. It is the one with a green background. I looked through my other photography to see if there were any other examples of pieces where I believe that the motifs were sewn on to handmade drochel net. I found several, but all of a royal nature except for one, which was just a border. Here are some photos. On pink, Napoleonic bee, 09.68.234. Fleur de lis: Charles X monogram, 1824 (20.101.1a). Napoleonic bee, on a veil, 54.44.1, and the border shown from the back (14.14.2) 

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on January 18, 2019 at 4:52pm

In this last one the strips are really obvious. And the lacemaker seems to have taken just one pair and made a large loop for the next strip to be sewn into. And that is where the threads are breaking or frayed. Not enough support.

Comment by Devon Thein on January 18, 2019 at 4:14pm

Regarding the Point d'Angleterre with the strips of droschel. New theory. They are all like that but I never noticed before. See the photos for the pattern of joins.

Comment by Devon Thein on January 18, 2019 at 4:12pm

Lorelei, some of those little snowflakes look just like the filling in one of the photos. Interesting. One thing about using a pair as a single is that you can have more threads to feed into the linen stitch faster as in the Flemish laces. 

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on January 18, 2019 at 4:10pm

Your 2nd piece is also interesting. The raised work indicates that this is primarily a part lace, Duchesse or Brussels. Duchesse, last half of the 19th century would almost certainly have had the motifs appliqued onto machine made net, I am not certain that machine net could be made in Droschel ground, or whether only point ground was possible. This is definitely Droschel ground. The existence of strips does seem apparent, which indicates hand made ground. If hand made it would be possible to hook the ground threads onto the completed motifs, and to hook those threads onto motifs to start a ground section, and to complete one.

So these technical elements suggest not last half of 19th century, but earlier. An odd element is that some of the edge motifs are filled with needlelace stitches, not bobbin fillings (although most have bobbin fillings).

The design has a large ground-motif ratio. That was typical of the last 3rd of the 18th century. Both edges have motifs, not a straight sewing edge. So this was probably intended as lappets. How far into the 19 th century were lappets in fashion? They are definitely 18th century. I don't know enough about fashion history to pick an end date for lappets. I seen to remember seeing a photo of Queen Victoria wearing a lappet type thing, but the lace was narrow, like an edging or insertion adapted for that purpose. But I'm not certain about this.

On the whole, I think an 18th century date, specifically last half or last 3rd of the 18th century fits with the technical and design elements we can see.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on January 18, 2019 at 3:51pm

Devon - Here is Mechlin ground, oriented vertically, in the direction the lace maker would see it. It is a stack of half stitches, basically a Brussels ground without the pin in the middle of the stack.

Here is point ground:

Here are some variations on the little snowflake, used in Binche, Flanders and other continental laces as a filling.

As to whether it is Russian ........ I wouldn't venture a guess. But point ground lace was made in Russian, and in every other lace making country, during the 19th century. The book is RUSSIAN EMBROIDERY AND LACE by Yefimova and Belogorskya, Thames and Hudson, 1982, with a foreward by Santina Levey. Most of the lace is Vologda and tape laces, but there are some point ground. The only distinction that I can see is a certain mechanical character to the design, lacking the flowing delicacy of English and Danish point ground.

There is a booklet published by OIDFA, POINT GROUND LACE, A COMPARATIVE STUDY, 2001. It purports to detail the itty bitty technical differences in stitches used, thread paths, in the various regions that produced point ground lace. It includes Slovenian and Czech lace, but not Russian. (Am I surprised?) It won't exactly answer your question, but would give you an idea of regional differences.

Comment by Karen Thompson on January 18, 2019 at 2:59pm

Have never seen anything like the first piece with double threaded point ground. Very interested in seeing other comments. 


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