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: 135
Latest Activity: on Monday

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

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.

Identification of two pieces of lace 27 Replies

My sister-in-law bought two pieces of lace while in Bize (southern France). She wants me to identify them. I assumed to start with that they are machine made, but I've looked carefully at them and…Continue

Started by Jo Edkins. Last reply by Jo Edkins Oct 13, 2019.

Lacemaking history 5 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 Elliott Sep 17, 2019.

Comment Wall


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

Comment by Devon Thein on May 9, 2012 at 5:53pm should display the search for embroidered handkerchiefs at the MMA. Let's see if it does.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 9, 2012 at 5:52pm

This is not my area of expertise since it is actually White Work, not lace. But, I think the lattice looking areas are "deflected thread" meaning that embroidery stitches are used to cinch the threads together to form that appearance, but that threads are not actually removed. This is quite common in White Work produced in a variety of places, but some of the best is Appenzell produced in Switerland. There is a chapter about Appenzell in the book 20th Century Linens and Lace, by Scofield and Zalamea that John may like to read as he seeks to document his find.

There are a number of pieces of this kind of work in the Metropolitan Museum which can be searched in the on-line collections, What (textiles) What (embroidery) what (handkerchief) is the search, but I will see if I am able to link in  another message. These seem mostly to be late 19th and early twentieth century and many say they are French in origin.

The possibility always exists, of course, for a third world origin for such labor intensive textiles.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 9, 2012 at 3:54pm

John Simms just recently joined our network, and indicated that he wanted help identifying a piece in his collection.  John, I assume P501 is the one you meant.  It is an embroidery which has some lace-like elements, rather than a lace.  The woven cloth is all still here.

I'm not knowledgable about antique embroidery.  This piece does appear to have some pulled thread elements in it.  In 34 the flower centers are eyelets.  In 31 along the left, half of each leaf is pulled thread, possibly a variety of satin stitch.  In the upper right corner that curved line of openwork may also be whipped, with no fabric threads actually removed.  The partial flower center visible in the upper right corner is definitely not pulled thread.  A circle of fabric would have to be cut to make that shape, and then stitches were added to make the filling in the flower center.  In 28 the grapes have eyelets at their tops.  In 26 the flower center above the bird's head is a pulled stitch of some kind.  The 2 flowers below the bird's head would have the cloth center cut out, with stitching added afterwards.

But one problem with the whole piece is that the closeups are out of focus, so I can't see the actual threads.  I could name stitches for you if I could see the threads.

The rest of the embroidery is satin stitch.  But there are some areas with fillings made on counted threads.

But as to where and when this style was popular, I haven't a clue.  It bears some affinity to Dresden work, a very fine, small scale form of pulled thread.  But embroideries properly called Dresden, would be 90% pulled work and only 10% curviliear motifs in satin stitch.  This piece has the ratios the other way: 98% satin stitch 2% pulled stitches.

Anybody else have ideas?

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 2, 2012 at 6:11pm

On Devon's piece:  Very interesting.  The ninepin edge is reminiscent of Bedfordshire, but nothing else is.  I would call it continental guipure, except that the dome and 2 spires suggest Byzantine lands and orthodox churches.  (But I am no expert on European churches.)  And the scale is like Bedfordshire. What an interesting collection of elements.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 1, 2012 at 5:24pm

Yes, those are very interesting pieces. Is there any chance that you could provide photos or links? That way we could all brain storm!

Comment by Helen Bell on May 1, 2012 at 4:58pm

Re Devon's lovely cap and lappets:  Devon and I have brainstormed on her lace, and from the research I've done, the consensus seems to be that it's not English.  I've seen those double half stitch trails in some photographs of some of the Lester florals, so it's an uncommon element (the cap/lappets on the cover of Ann Buck's book on Lester has double half stitch scrolls). But Devon's piece just doesn't quite speak English to me.  I think the people I've asked, feel, like me, that it's possibly French made.  I suspect, Devon, that it might be some kind of commemorative piece.  I know I suggested St Paul's (London), and you've also had Sacre Couer suggested. 

Regarding the other mytery piece (IOLI suggested from 18 hours ago):  I've been emailing today with an English friend, and she's very knowledgeable when it comes to Beds and British laces, and she kind of agrees with me that it's possibly Danish.  It's very reminiscent of a piece in the V&A that she's trying to get re-labelled to show it's Danish, and I've seen photos of another piece that's the V&A's 'sister' piece, and one at CSU in their collection that is a cousin (all from the same 'stable' as it were).  They have double half stitch trails (by double half stitch I mean CTCT).

Comment by Paula Harten on May 1, 2012 at 4:06pm

I agree that this looks a lot like Beds, even the shape of the collar is like those in B. Underwood's book, but the one element that jumps out at me is the trails done in whole stitch.  I don't know if there are examples of Beds with that.  Interestingly, there are also a lot of whole stitch ground areas in Devon's unknown piece.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 1, 2012 at 3:21pm

Whatever this is, I may have another piece like it, this lace of uncertain origin.Helen and I have discussed it in the past and I don't think we formed any conclusion. The petals are tapered, not flat like the wheat ears of Bedfordshire, which seems to be significant.

Some people think that the building is St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, suggesting that it is a tourist item for mid-19th century tourists, possibly also suggesting an Italian origin, although there is no rule that tourist items actuallly have to be made anywhere near where they are sold.

Comment by Helen Bell on May 1, 2012 at 10:28am

Pretty piece.  I've seen some pieces that are reminiscent of that piece, and they would appear to be Danish.  It's got the Beds looking elements, but I'd hedge a guess that it's Danish.  It just makes me immediately think of the other pieces I've seen.


Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 30, 2012 at 10:30pm

Is this Bedfordshire, Danish, or possibly Swedish? 

It is from the Museo de Arenys.


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