Historical information

This lace appears to be a beautiful product of the Leavers lace making machine. It is Valenciennes in style which is a bobbin lace characterized by the diamond shaped net. Unlike comparable Mechlin lace it does not have a gimp thread outlining the pattern. Valenciennes lace originated in France but perhaps due to religious persecution later moved to Ypres in Belgium and was very popular in the 18th century. It was simpler to produce than Mechlin lace and was never used on expensive garments but reserved for bed linen, lingerie and the fichu. By the 19th century it was made by machine which made it cheaper and even more accessible.


Churchill Island has a large lace collection, which was added to by three successive generations of the Amess family - Jane, Janet, and Unity. The Amess family owned Churchill Island from 1872 to 1929. Jane was wife of Samuel Amess, who was the first Samuel Amess to own Churchill Island. The examples of lace are notable for their variety, and provide representative examples of techniques from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

Physical description

Machine made Valenciennes lace with a floral design on a fine mesh background, and one scalloped edge.