You are here

Resources for renaissance bobbin lace

Submitted by Katherina Weyssin on October 28, 2011 - 6:53pm

Several members of the Barony are excited by bobbin-lace at the moment, so I'm compiling a the resources we've found most useful here.

Digital Archive of Documents Related to Lace

A fabulous collection of primary and secondary resources: facsimiles of renaissance pattern books, scans of 19th C histories of lace, modern articles on lace and lace making, etc.

Especially useful are:

  • Le Pompe (mid 16thC lace pattern book).
  • Parasole (1616 lace pattern book, including 7 pages of bobbin-lace patterns)
  • Palliser (19th C history of lace, with rather good footnotes)

Both volumes of Le Pompe are available in facsimile here.

Powerhouse Museum

The Powerhouse Museum has a fabulous lace study room, well worth a visit if you find yourself in Sydney. They have images online of only a few renaissance laces, but the resolution is fantastic: you can often trace the path of every thread. 

Lace study centre - resources about lace (e.g. an excellent glossary of lace terms).

Search online collections - images of renaissance lace.

Metropolitan Museum

Excellent search, lots of images - more 200 results for "bobbin lace, 1400-1600". If there are apparently-similar alternate images, often the last one will be at much higher resolution.

Searching for "lace" is effective, but misses some complete garments that have lace on them. It's worth trying "costume" too, for the body linens.


Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Good collection of early textiles, with lots of photos online. 

Pieces including bobbin lace from before c. 1630:


A seach for "lace" before 1640 brings up about 12 items; with good resolution photos.

Art Institute of Chicago

Cleveland Museum of Art:

Lots of lace; some images, reasonable resolution. The search results are not easy to sort by date - so once I know what I'm looking for, I find it quickest to search by accession number.

Pieces of with images of bobbin-lace from before about 1630:

  • Cutwork and bobbin-lace cloth, 16th C.Accession No.: 1923.995
  • Reticella and bobbin-lace insertion, 16th C. Accession No.: 1920.1242, also 1920.1241
  • Genoese collar in point and bobbin lace, 16thC. Accession No.: 1920.1240
  • Cutwork and bobbin-lace altar-frontal, 16thC.Accession No.: 1920.1171
  • Table cloth with lace, 16thC. Accession No.: 1920.1170
  • Table cover. Accession No.: 1920.1167
  • Burato with bobbin-lace edging. Accession No.: 1920.112
  • Bendiction veil with red-and-white lace edging. Accession No.: 1920.1156
  • Buratto with lace edging, blue and white.Accession No.: 1920.1129 (I'd like to try this one)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Good collection, reasonable search, though the "order by date" function didn't work when I last tried it.

Katherina's lace patterns, and other lace stuff.

Blog classifications: