Lace Names - Mechlin

A discussion on arachne recently involved names for various antique laces. I posted my own set of terms that I use when talking to myself about this issue. My terms are based on structure, techniques used, and style (motif shapes, kinds of motifs).


We have a constant problem with terminology, partly because we comprise 2 different groups of people – collectors and lace makers. I am not willing to say one is right and the other wrong. But our perspectives are different. As I understand it, the collectors want a name they can use to reference a particular piece in a way that gives collectors an idea what to expect. I would like to hear from collectors on this issue, particularly what they consider the purpose of a name for a lace. So “Mechlin” may refer to a general geographical origin (just as “Honiton” may refer to any part lace from Devon, which traveled to London on the Honiton coach)  Collectors also seem to use the term “Flemish” to refer to the fragile laces from about 1650-1700 that were made, generally, in the region of Flanders.

The problem comes in when us lacemakers get into the conversation. My perspective is always that of a lace maker – what techniques are used in this piece, what do I have to know to reproduce this. I also would like terminology to refer to time, to distinguish antique from modern designs of that type, and to distinguish century or half century for antique laces. I have worked out a set of terminology that I use, mostly to talk to myself. I don’t seriously expect everybody to follow my path (though I admit my ego would find that delicious).

I use Flemish/Early Brussels to describe part laces from 1650 to the early 1700s. I tack on the Early Brussels to indicate there should be no confusion about whether Flemish = Flanders. (The latter name usually describes a straight/continuous lace.)

Look at the last row -

I use “Brussels” to refer to part laces of the 18th century which emanate from the fashion center of that age. Laces from about 1750 are sometimes called “point d’Angleterre”. But I refuse to use that latter name. As far as I can see its only use is to describe a particular style of Brussels lace. Duchesse is the 19th c simplification of Brussels. I refuse to use “Brussels Duchesse” to refer to Duchesse with needle inserts: I just call it “Duchesse with point de gaze inserts”. I do that because the motifs of Duchesse are distinct and always basically the same.

Here are links to my pinterest boards, which I have collected in an attempt to pin images to these names.

I use Flanders/Mechlin to describe straight/continuous laces from the region near the town of Mechlin, dating from the first half of the 18th c, and using any of the complex grounds, usually with gimp. And I use “Flanders” to describe laces from the revival era, c 1900, using 5 hole ground. And I use “Mechlin” to refer to revival era laces which have Mechlin ground.

I am trying to create names which include reference to the structure, the time environment, and the style of a lace.

Sorry for the very lengthy report, but this can’t really be explained in just a few words. So I offer my method, for whatever it is worth.

Lorelei Halley

Part laces


Straight laces 


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