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  • Place of origin:

    Brussels (made)

  • Date:

    1730-1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bobbin lace worked in linen thread

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Miss M. B. Hudson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Eighteenth century women of all classes wore kerchiefs around their neck for protection and modesty, but for the wealthy or extravagant, this accessory provided another opportunity for the display of costly lace. For fashionable English women in the 1730s and 1740s the choice was almost always Brussels bobbin lace. This period saw a boom in the wearing of lace, for both men and women, decorating all types of clothing.

This kerchief is composed of lace from at least two different sources, including a pair of lappets. Lappets formed part of a head dress, known as a 'lace head' in the 18th century. It was composed of a curved panel, the cap back, to which two long streamers were attached called lappets. The whole ensemble was finished with a lace frill.

The fragility of lace led it to be easily damaged, but its intrinsic worth meant that it would never be discarded, but remade in a different form. Brussels bobbin lace was particularly suitable for this, as, by the nature of its manufacture, it was composed of parts which could be separated and rejoined, although this was rarely done as skillfully as when it was originally made. This kerchief may have been made up for the collectors' market in the nineteenth century.

Physical description

Wide strip of lace attached to a curved piece of lawn to make a kerchief.

It is a composite object - the lace from various different pieces of Brussels bobbin lace, skilfully joined (one join done in the Museum Art Work Room). The main pattern is a cornucopia motif present at both ends of the kerchief, possibly originally a pair of lappets. The inner edge attached to the lawn has been crudely cut.

Place of Origin

Brussels (made)


1730-1750 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Bobbin lace worked in linen thread


Depth: 26 cm maximun, Width: 98 cm approx., maximum, spread flat, Length: 155 cm outside lace curve, Length: 1402 mm, Width: 457 mm

Object history note

The object came into the Museum in two pieces and was joined in the Art Work Room.

Descriptive line

Kerchief, Brussels bobbin lace, made 1730-50, assembled in the 1800's

Production Note

The kerchief is assembled from different pieces of lace; the assembly was probably done in the second half of 19th century.


Linen thread




Lace; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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