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.

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Examples + Resources


Descriptions of several styles 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:


 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)   




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

Post removed 5 Replies

Post removedContinue

Started by post removed. Last reply by Georgia Seitz Sep 13.

Bedfordshire? 10 Replies

I'm new to the technical side of the lace world, but a long-time collector from charity and thrift shops. I'm having fun trying to ID and date some of my old finds. I'm wondering if some of you with…Continue

Started by Guinevere. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Aug 27.

Point ground

This is part of a collar from around 1890-1910. It is made in Sweden. I wonder if someone recognises the pattern or figures in the pattern. It is from Vadstena, but I suspect it is influenced from…Continue

Started by Karin Landtblom Jul 4.

One more from Selma Giöbel

This one is designed by the same woman, Selma Giöbel, that I wrote about in previous discussion.THe same question here, has anyone seen something similar to this? Could it origin from France?//Karin…Continue

Started by Karin Landtblom Jul 4.

Comment Wall


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

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 15, 2018 at 4:42pm

Deborah - A very interesting piece, but not Mechlin. This is a bobbin lace in the Brussels and Duchesse family. I have come across about half a dozen piece with these techniques, and have never found anyone who could give me a date and place of origin. Let me explain.

The red lines run along side of raised work, probably a rib. This kind of thing occurs in part laces, but never in a straight lace such as Mechlin. In a straight lace -- continuous lace -- it would be impossible. This next photo shows a motif I made with both a raised rib and a bundle of threads, large scale so it is easy to see. 

The green and blue rings show areas of ground which were added after the motifs were finished. Your photo is not quite close up enough for anybody else to see it, but since I have seen this kind of work I can say with certainty that both areas of ground are needle lace stitches, not bobbin made grounds. The 2 look different because the stitches are spaced differently.

This page from my personal website has 3 examples of this kind of work, numbers are 338, 166, 165.

All were in the possession of a lace merchant when she allowed me to photograph them. The bobbin made motifs are larger and coarser in scale than either Brussels lace or Duchesse, but the kinds of motifs are similar. I think it is possible they were part of the revival movement just before the 1st world war, an attempt to recreate the Flemish part laces of the late 17th century. So I would date it most likely around 1900 give or take a dozen years, and probably Belgium or France.

I am assuming you understand what a part lace is. If you need clarification on that I can give you more information.

This is a very rare type of bobbin lace, so I don't have any other photos to show you, except the ones on my website.

Comment by deborah greenfield on May 15, 2018 at 12:05pm

side B

Comment by deborah greenfield on May 15, 2018 at 12:04pm

Hello experts, Once again, I offer up an interesting (I think) piece for your scrutiny. Found in the UK, it's 6.5" wide. Is it some sort of Mechlin? 18th C, 19th C? I've looked at masses of photos on Lorelei and other's pinterest pages but haven't found anything quite like it. As always, grateful for any thoughts. I'm uploading a pic of side A which has some raised work and side B which is flatter....

Comment by Laurie Elliott on April 30, 2018 at 9:17am

Carolina, thank you for giving us this new site.  Very interesting.

Comment by Carolina de la Guardia on April 28, 2018 at 1:06am

It is impossible for me to see anything in the picture...I am sorry.

The word “randa or randes” applies to both needle and bobbin lace worked on 15nth., and 16nth., cent. in Castilla (Spain).

Cut work as well as “vainicas” are not included into this group. It is just needle.

Maybe “Soles de Salamanca” could be included. They were also made and known as Soles de Tenerife and Soles de Paraguay, and carried to South America by Spanish people in 16nth., cent.

More information (only in Spanish) and pictures:

It is also possible that in South America people have given the name of “randes” to all type of needle and lace coming from Spain at that time, but here they are important differences between needle, needlelace and embroidery, made here before 16nth. century.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 27, 2018 at 7:22pm

I can't see enough detail in your photo to be sure. But here are some links for what I suspect your example is.

This one resulted from a search on      vainicas       the Spanish term for this type of embroidery.[]=vainicas%7Ctyped

The 2nd if one of my pinterest pages

This type of embroidery is usually classed as drawn thread work. (Drawn fabric refers to "pulled thread work". In drawn thread work some threads are rremoved from the fabric, but not in pulled thread. I have noticed that this type of work is very popular among Spanish lace makers and embroiderers, also in countries in the new world which have a history of Spanish immigration.

Comment by Sally Olsen on April 27, 2018 at 6:40pm

I received this message from an embroidery friend:

"We have a friend who is doing a textile exhibit in Oaxaca Mexico using local artists.  The pieces below are cut work with lace. She was told it is based on Moorish influence and comes from Spain originally.  The artist calls it randa, which translates to lace, lace trimming. She is creating a catalogue for the exhibit,  so is looking for information about the technique.  Do you recognize the technique? I keep finding reference to spanish cutwork, but in a quick search cannot find details.

Thank you."
The picture that was included with the message does not provide much detail.  The squares on the graph paper remind me of kloster blocks for Hardanger.  

From what I have seen so far, it appears that randa is a general term used for lace-like embroidery techniques and is not necessarily a specific technique or style.  Is that correct?
- Sally
Comment by deborah greenfield on April 15, 2018 at 4:51am

Thank you both. That's all fascinating. Yes, looking under a magnifying glass and holding the piece up to the light there are some thickened areas but not always. In most cases it looks like the braid is threaded once through the edge of the tape. The fabric of this piece is very fine and lightweight, possibly linen, and the braids are very fine as well. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. Not being a lace maker I don't understand all of what you say but certainly this deepens the way I look at this piece. 

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 14, 2018 at 8:29pm

I agree with Nancy. -- early 18th century or last half of 17th.  The lace may not have started out its life as lappets, but may have been cobbled into that form to serve a useful purpose. According to Santina Levey one distinguishing factor for the Flemish/Milanes question is how the braided attachment (I like to call them "joinings") works. In Flemish the braid is thrown across the gap, then sewn onto the edge of the lace until the next space where a joining needs to be. She thinks that Milanese did it differently. A braid, often with picots, was thrown across, sewn, then braided back to its starting point and sewn. This means that the Milanese method might have the joinings made as the tape itself was being made. But in the Flemish version the tape would be completed and then 4 more bobbins would be added temporarily to make the joining.

Your piece looks like the Milanese method, but I am not certain. There should be a thickened area where the braid was carried along the edge of the tape, but it is inconsistent in this piece. Perhaps you might be able to tell with the actual piece in hand, with good magnification.

This piece is not pure tape lace, which I define (in an idiosyncratic manner), as a lace where the tape has a constant number of bobbins throughout, with no bobbins added or cut out, and without discrete motifs, such as the flowers in this piece. It looks like a tape lace stylistically, but structurally is a part lace. It is just that the design has not migrated to the distinct flowers and leaves of Brussles or Duchesse. In my private study at the textile department at the Art Institute of Chicago, I saw many Flemish and Milanese laces. Both regions might produce laces with discrete motifs, or without them (and only a pure tape). At that time I could not tell the difference between the 2 places of origin, except by Levey's idea about the joinings. Stylistically they were indistinguishable. Although at the time I knew a good deal less than I do now.

An interesting piece.

Comment by Nancy A. Neff on April 14, 2018 at 5:36pm

I agree that this is early 18th C, could be as early as late 17th C but unlikely given the floral design. It could be either Milanese or Flemish--there are few non-cloth stitch design areas in the tapes, which to me indicates it's as likely to be Flemish. (At first I thought the cross-hatch filling in the flowers was a stitch I see in the 17th-to-18th C Antwerp laces but it's not, so that isn't evidence one way or the other.) Other points to consider: Does the guipure argue for Italian vs. Flemish? Were lappets worn in Italy?


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