Lace Dictionary
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From Baby To Belgium

BABY. A term for narrow and light laces. BABY IRISH. Irish crochet of delicate character.

BADEN. Famous for peasant laces.

BANTA. A lace tie worn by Italians early in the Eighteenth Century.

BARBE. A lace tie worn in Italy and France in the early part of the Nineteenth Century.

BARCELONA. City in Spain famous for its heavy plaited bobbin laces, blonde, black silk and maltese laces; much tatting is also made at Barcelona.

BARMEN (Germany). Machine-made torchons in imitation of the French and Belgian designs and braids from which hand-made laces are made.

BARS. Connecting threads ornamenting open spaces in lace, sometimes called brides, claires, coxcombs, legs and ties.

BATH (England). Devonshire bobbin lace is sometimes called Bath brussels lace.

BATTENBERG. A name applied to Renaissance lace when made of Battenberg braid or tape. BAVARIAN. Inexpensive torchon laces are made in Bavaria.

BAYEUX (France). In the department of Calvados, Bayeux and Caen are celebrated as centres of the lace-making industry. Before 1745, the lace-workers made a white thread lace of Venetian design, the needle-point flowers being surrounded by a thick heavy cordonnet. Light thread laces were occasionally made. In 1740 a merchant, M. Clement, opened an establishment in Bayeux, and from that time the lace-making trade there has flourished exceedingly, until at the present time it is one of the first in France. The lace of Bayeux closely resembles that of Chantilly and is frequently sold as such. Many of the so-called Chantilly lace shawls in the Exhibition of 1862 were made at Bayeux ; the designs are the same ; the mode of working is identical ; the most experienced lace judges are sometimes unable to detect the difference. Silk laces were first made at Bayeux, Caen and Chantilly in 1745; the silk was of ecru colour, brought from Nankin ; white silk from Cevennes was afterwards used. One thickness of silk is used for the ground and another for the pattern ; the manufacture of hand-made white blonde lace has languished since the invention of machines for lace-making at Nottingham and Calais. When large pieces of lace, such as veils, scarves, and deep flounces for skirts are made, the beautiful raccroc stitch is used and the pieces are joined imperceptibly, so that a shawl which would at one time have taken two women a year to make, can now be completed by fifteen women in six weeks. Alencon lace is now made at Bayeux. (Further information will be found under Black Silk Lace and Chantilly.)

BEAD EDGE. A series of looped threads edging a lace.

BEDFORDSHIRE. This is a bobbin variety differing but little from Lille lace. Its manufacture flourished during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Queen Catherine of Aragon introduced the making of lace into the county during her two years residence at her jointure manor of Ampthill, and encouraged by example and subsidies the industry of the workers. Much Bedfordshire pillow lace is still disposed of by itinerant lace-sellers. Baby lace was made in Bedfordshire when babies' tiny frilled caps were worn, quantities being used for sewing to the edges of cambric frills. This is sometimes called English Lille, on account of the resemblance to the Lille patterns and to those of Mechlin. The industry in this county, however, as in Devonshire, is, unfor­tunately, dying out, especially with regard to the working of the finer patterns. The work is carried out chiefly in the cottages, and geo­metric or Maltese designs are worked, frequently in cotton thread or flax with cotton admixture.

BEGGAR'S. A term of contempt once given to the narrow braid laces of gueuse, bisette, compane and mignonette patterns. In the reign of Louis XIV., many edicts were published to prevent the courtiers from squandering their wealth on foreign laces, and to encourage the home manufactures by compelling the nobles to wear the coarse kind of Torchon made in France at the time ; but the fastidious French­men would have none of the " Beggars' Lace," which was never worn except by the lower classes who could only afford a cheap and easily executed lace. Cheap laces are no longer called Beggars' Lace.

Belgium Lace

BELGIAN. The only original lace of Belgium is the old Flanders Point. All other kinds are reproductions of the laces of the other countries of Europe. The Italian laces are made, the application, and fine French and English varieties. During the Austrian occupation of Italy, when the lace industry declined considerably in the Peninsula, the trade in Belgium was extremely prosperous. Again when Point d'Angleterre was required for England and France, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Belgium supplied large quantities. The imitative faculty is extraordinary. "Made in Belgium" is to the lace trade what "Made in Germany " is to the trade of the nineteenth century in fancy goods ; that is to say, whenever a new type or pattern in hand-made lace appears in Italy, France, or elsewhere, that same lace, at a rather cheaper price, will a month afterwards appear from Belgium, Flanders has disputed with Italy the honour of introducing to the world so lovely a fabric as lace, but we think there are conclusive proofs of the priority of Venice in making needle-point lace, as we have briefly shown in our opening chapters. As to bobbin lace, the arguments used in favour of the invention in Flanders are based upon a picture in a side chapel in the Church of St. Peter's, at Louvain. Quentin Matsys has depicted a girl working at a pillow. This picture was painted in 1495, and the occupation was evidently chosen as one common in the country at the time. But on close examination it will be found that it is embroidery and not lace which is being made. Every northern country in modern Europe learnt the art of bobbin lace-making from the Netherlands, chiefly through the refugees who brought their knowledge of the handicraft with them when they fled from the horrors of the religious persecutions of the sixteenth century. So keenly alive were the Belgians to the profit accruing from the national handicraft of lace-making, that in 1698 an Act was passed in Brussels making it a criminal offence to suborn the workpeople, as so many of the most skilful were emigra­ting, led away by the high wages offered in France and other coun­tries. Well organised ecoles dentellieres, or lace schools, still exist in Belgium, and chil­dren's education in lace-making com­mences at five years of age. This being so, it is little wonder that lace is a source of national wealth. Large quantities are made in the ateliers and lace schools in the towns, some also by the villagers in their own homes throughout the country. As early as the sixteenth century, the Emperor Charles V. ordered that lace-making should be taught in the schools and convents, and we have seen an interesting proof in the Musee Cluny in Paris that he patronised the lace-makers in a practical manner by wearing cut-work and embroidery. The form it takes is that of a cap worn by the Emperor underneath his crown. It is made of evenly woven linen and designs of very fine lacis or cut-work alternating with the imperial arms embroidered in relief. Large quantities of black lace are manufactured in Belgium at the present day, this industry especially flourishing in and around Grammont. The lace-making industry of Mechlin has declined considerably on account of this lace being an easy one to imitate by machinery. Louvain and Antwerp were the towns which once gave their names to laces made in the neighbourhood. Special descriptions of Belgian laces will be found under the headings Antwerp, Binche, Brussels, Flanders, Mechlin, Trolle Kant, Valenciennes, etc