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Textile - Lace Edging

From the Collection of Kew Historical Society Inc 1 Civic Drive Kew Victoria

Maltese lace edging. It shows the Wheat ears, characteristic of Maltese lace
158 x 382 mm
Object Registration
fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society, lace
Historical information
This form of bobbin lace is made in Malta. It is a guipure style of lace. Maltese lace is worked as a continuous width tape lace on a tall, thin, upright lace pillow called a "Trajbu" and the Bobbins are called "Combini" . Bigger pieces are made of two or more parts sewn together.
Lace made in Malta was originally needle lace, from the 16th to the 19th century, when the economic depression in the islands nearly led to the extinction of lacemaking there. But in the mid 1800s, Lady Hamilton Chichester sent lacemakers from Genoa to Malta. They used the old needle lace patterns and turned them into bobbin lace, which was quicker. It was not long after its introduction that the Maltese lace developed its own style from Genoese lace.
Maltese lace was shown at The Great Exhibition of 1851 and it became popular in Britain. The style was copied by lacemakers in the English Midlands, and it was one of the sources for Bedfordshire lace.
Characteristics of Maltese lace
Maltese lace usually has the following characteristics which are useful for identification:
It is usually made from cream silk. There is often the 8 pointed Maltese cross as part of the pattern, worked in whole or cloth stitch.
The pattern may also have closely worked leaves known as “wheat ears” or “oats”. These are plump and rounded in shape, rather than the long narrow leaves of other types of bobbin lace.
Last updated
2 Oct 2019 at 12:48PM