Wednesday, July 07, 2010

13th century lace embroidery

Images from Seven centuries of Lace, here and here

It's such a nice surprise to see something you haven't seen before (at least, in the embroidery department :-) I found these images of 13th century lace/embroidery while I was browsing through the book Seven centuries of lace by Maria Margaret Pollen (1908). You can download or browse the book for free here. The site allows you to zoom really well, so it's better to view these images from the site itself.

For those of you who are interested in smocking: the armpits in the Alb attributed to st Francis(third picture) appear to be have been smocked in a way similar to those of the Alb of St Hugo. Chris Laning, thanks for uploading this picture, and the picture of your wonderful reproduction. ! Additional note: Chris just pointed out that the reproduction was made by her friend and that it's not smocking as such but a technique called ""Italian shirring."

This type of ecclesiastical clothing always makes me wonder: Would this type of embroidery have been used in secular clothing, and if so, how, when..? I would love to know more about this!


Chris Laning said...

Hmmmm. Especially in a 1908 book, I'd doubt the dating on the first (lacy) alb. I don't think I've seen anything resembling that style of embroidery before the late 16th century.... which doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong, of course, only that I'd want to check further. In textiles and embroidery, the general rule is that the more recent the book, the better the information tends to be. (But you know that, of course!)

The whitework alb does look a great deal more like other 13th-century work I've seen.

I should also clarify that the reproduction alb I own is not my work -- it was a much-appreciated gift from a friend.

Machteld said...

I was also surprised about the one with the scalloped border, because it looks much younger :-)

You're very lucky with a friend like that!

Anonymous said...

Elsa Gudjonsson in Traditional Icelandic Embroidery talks about sprang embroidery and similar lace work also having a relatively early date. I remember the examples she pictured being relatively square and pixellated, but it may shore up this date here.

Machteld said...

Ragnvaeig, thanks for the reference!

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