Honiton lace is a type of bobbin lace made in Honiton, Devon, in the United Kingdom. Historical Honiton lace designs focused on scrollwork and depictions of natural objects such as flowers and leaves. Honiton lace is a part lace. Its ornate motifs and complex patterns are created separately before being sewn into a net ground. Common motifs include daisies, roses, shamrocks, ivy leaves, butterflies, lilies, camellias, convolvulus, poppies, briony, Antwerp diamonds, trefoils, ferns, and acorns.
The art of making lace is rumoured to have been brought to Honiton, England, by Flemish refugees in the mid-to-late 16th century. An old tombstone in the town is inscribed with information about one James Rodge, who is described as a “bone lace seller” who died in 1617; it is unknown whether he emigrated from Flanders or not. In the early period (approx. 1620-1800), sprigs of various designs were worked separately from the net ground by hand and then put together near the end of production. Later (approx. 1800-1840), handmade Honiton lace became obsolete in light of the invention of machine-made net, which was much cheaper to produce.
19th Century Revival
Handmade lacework had a resurgence in popularity in the 19th century when Queen Victoria ordered a Honiton lace bridal dress. The revival happened quickly, and demand was so great that cheaper-quality lace was produced in large quantities. Due to the massive demand, this cheaper work had simpler designs due to the necessary production speed. Defining structures of lace at this time were “leaves, flowers, [and] scrolls . . . [that] look as natural as possible.” 19th-century Honiton lace incorporates a variety of stitches, including whole stitch, stem stitch, lace stitch, fibre stitch, long plaitings, square plaitings, broad/cucumber plaitings, Honiton ground, star ground, Dame Joan ground, buckle stitch, Flemish stitch, turn-stitch, chequer stitch, fibre stitch, and Antwerp diamond stitch.
Honiton lace – Wikipedia. (n.d.). Honiton Lace – Wikipedia. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honiton_lace
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