Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1630-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, bobbin lace, linen thread, hand sewing

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 9

Object Type
Lacemaking developed in England during the 16th century in response to the growth in personal wealth and to changes in fashionable dress. By 1600, bobbin lace was being made domestically throughout the country and professional centres had been established in London, the West Country and the Midlands. The lace for this collar may have been worked at home for its maker's own use.

Materials & Making
The quality of English lace in the 17th century was affected by the type of linen thread available. English thread was softer and more irregular than Flemish, though it was praised for its whiteness. When Celia Fiennes, during her travels around England, visited Honiton in Devon in 1698 she wrote, 'here they make fine bone [bobbin] lace in imitation of the Antwerp and Flanders lace, and indeed I think its as fine, it only will not wash so fine which must be the fault in the threads.'

Ownership & Use
Lace was worn by both men and women in the 17th century. It could be made to shape for particular items, or worked in lengths and attached to linen garments like shirts and collars. The showiest effects were achieved with lace worn at the throat, setting off the face, and at the wrist.

Physical description

A deep band of linen, cut in two pieces and seamed on the diagonal at the centre back, with a narrow neck band for tucking into high-necked gown. It is triimmed with a broad edging of English bobbin lace.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1630-1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, bobbin lace, linen thread, hand sewing


Height: 27 cm, Width: 76.2 cm

Object history note

Purchased with a forehead cloth for £3 10s from W H Brackett in 1922. No details of provenance on registered file.

Historical context note

Linen neck wear was an important part of seventeenth century dress; this was probably worn together with other linen bands of different shapes, matching linen cuffs and possibly a coif.

Descriptive line

A woman's band, English, 1630-50; linen band edged with English bobbin lace

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Tiramani, Jenny, 'Linen Band', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns, vol.2, London: V&A Publishing, 2012, pp.116-121

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The collar is made of fairly heavy linen, and would have been worn instead of the folded neckerchiefs seen in portraits of the 1630s and 1640s. The bobbin lace edging is rather less skilfully worked, and of less ambitious design, than the man's collar on the other side of the case. It may have been made at home. [27/03/2003]




Bobbin lace making


Accessories; Fashion; Lace; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.