In September of 1666, the Great Fire of London burned for five days, reaching temperatures hot enough to melt pottery and completely cremate victims, destroying thousands of buildings, and leaving seven eighths of Londoners homeless. In addition to devastating the city, the disaster ignited religious and ethnic hatreds, stirring mobs to violence and politicians to a blame game, and threatening the newly restored monarchy. London had been a medieval town, outgrowing its own streets and buildings, but after the fire it was rebuilt, with much the same street plan, but wider streets, better sewage disposal, and fire lanes to the Thames.
In 2014, PBS released a four-part miniseries dramatizing the Great Fire, which is compelling as history, drama, and costume-feast-for-the-eyes. And I... I love those things!
Most pictures in this post are the property of Tineke Stoffels of the Netherlands. Please do check out her website! The other images are credited and linked to their Wikimedia Commons source-pages.
Four hundred forty-six years ago yesterday, the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre began in France. Today the killings continued in the city of Paris, before the King ordered them to stop (then start again, then stop, no really, stop). They didn't stop; they continued throughout the country into the autumn, but royal permission had been withdrawn so the crown could avoid blame for the later murders.
Yesterday I looked at the history and the 1994 film about the massacre, La Reine Margot. Today, I'm going to look at the costumes and especially the lace in that movie. The pictures in this post are all screencaps from when I last watched it, cropped to focus the attention on specific characters/costumes. Click any one to see it full size!
The first time I heard "galloon" I though it was a pirate thing... it sounds like doubloon or galleon or maroon! Arr, matey! But actually, galloon is a textile term. Wikipedia's stub of an article about it simply says it's a woven or braided trim, and gives as an example the gold trim sewn all over 1700's style liveries. Merriam Webster gets closer to the word as I've heard it used, specifying that the narrow trim has both edges scalloped. Do an image search to see the different shades of meaning: "galloon trim" yields a mix of narrow metallic trims and lace trims, while "galloon lace" yields lace trims with scalloped edges. Today, I'll try to delineate these different uses and meanings of galloon.
Regarding copyright: The pictures illustrating this post come from various sources... Wikimedia Commons, my own work, and lace/fabric retailers. I have included usage rights and copyright information under each picture, as well as off-site links for pictures which are not mine to claim. This post is educational and not for profit.
Lace identification is tricky. For one thing, different types of lace imitate each other, as for instance bobbin lace imitating needlelace, or crochet lace imitating bobbin lace. Carrickmacross lace imitates more expensive needlelaces, and Battenburg (tape) lace imitates bobbin lace by using the techniques of needlelace. Even tatting can be a chameleon, in pieces like the Queen of Roumania's (below), where she tatted flowers and appliqued them on net to look like a grounded lace:
To complicate identification, unless you're looking closely at a lace, you can't see how it's put together; from a distance, a cheap chemical lace could mimic an expensive handmade antique! Laces made on Schiffli embroidery machines or Leavers looms can be very good imitations! Check out the side-by-side comparisons in this Lace Booklet from the Dress and Textile Specialists.
Naturally, that won't stop me from playing Name That Lace, which is a game I just made up! I shall start with an image of a lace in use, being worn or used in film, photograph, or painting. I will then do a bunch of research to decide on its most likely style, place of origin, method of manufacture, and whatever else I can figure out. My conclusions will most likely be guesses, since (as mentioned above), lace identification is tricky. Maybe some of my readers can help out?
Let's have fun and learn things!
Today an informative post about the development of French needlelaces! As I previously defined it, needlelace is lace made by embroidering with a needle rather than braiding with bobbins or crocheting or knitting. During the reign of Louis XIV (the Sun King), the French government made a deliberate investment in lacemaking, as part of a wide-ranging plan to become Europe's center for luxury goods, fashion, and taste. They had stiff competition in all those fields: the Italians and Dutch were already Europe's sourcebook and marketplace for luxury goods. In particular, as relates to lace, the bobbin laces of the Netherlands were fantastically expensive and popular. But the needlelace of Italy was also prestigious; Italy developed needlelace from its history of drawn thread work and reticella, and by the 1600's the Italian gros point de Venise, which was sculptural and meant to look like carved ivory, was the needlelace to beat. The French set out to beat it.
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