This Exhibit was on display in Spring 2004
The Historic Textile and Costume Collection has numerous items made from lace or having lace decorations. In conjunction with a class on lace, graduate students created an exhibit on lace using objects from the collection. The exhibit demonstrates the major techniques used in making lace, and shows ways in which lace has been used in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Leaver's Lace Company, located in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, graciously allowed the lace class to visit the facilities. The owner, York Roberts, is the third generation in his family to manufacture lace. His grandfather emigrated from England, founding S.H. Roberts and Son, Lace Manufacture in 1906. One of the cases in the exhibit focuses on this company and the modern manufacture of lace. The Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design Department would like to thank Mr. Roberts, Chris Chambers, draftsman, and the employees of Leaver's Lace Company for their help in organizing this case.
A case in the exhibit is dedicated to a new acquisition for the Collection. The Mabel Foster Bainbridge Lace Collection was recently deaccessioned by the Valentine Museum in Virginia. It was subsequently donated by Mrs. Bainbridge's son, Robert P. Bainbridge of Chestnut Hill Massachusetts to the URI Historic Textile and Costume Collection. As a recognized authority on lace, Mabel Foster Bainbridge's collection includes lace pieces, books on lace, lace making tools and other items. Lace pieces dating from the 17th and 18th centuries and lace samples from around the world are contained in the collection. URI is fortunate to have received this collection and thanks Robert P. Bainbridge for his continuing support.
A skirt and blouse ensemble from about 1900, embellished with wide galloons of lace and lace edging, stands in front of a crazy quilt edged with lace. The mechanization of the lace-making process in the middle of the 19th century expanded the use of lace by the middle class. Inexpensive lace was used to ornament clothing and accessories such as parasols and hats. The crazy quilt, a popular needlework project for women in the late 19th century, could be trimmed with lace; the URI Historic Textile collection has three quilts trimmed with bobbin, machine-made and knit laces
20th century dresses of lace.
Four cocktail dresses of lace dating from
the 1920s to 1950s stand ready to be installed
in the exhibit Lace: The Elegant Fabric. Clothing from
the 19th century through to a 1980s Scaasi
dress of silver metallic lace is presented in the exhibit.
The bottom example shows an incomplete piece
of needle lace still on the paper pattern. This lace
was probably made by Mabel Foster Bainbridge,
who was an accomplished lace maker and a Master Craftsman in the Arts and Crafts Society of Boston.
From the Bainbridge Donation
This is a fragment of bobbin lace made in Czechoslovakia in the early 20th century.
Russian and Eastern European countries
are known for the use of colored
threads in bobbin lace decorations.
From the Bainbridge Donation
Applique or insertion from the Tirocchi Dressmaker Shop in Providence, Rhode Island. Donated by Louis J. Cella, Jr.
This piece of lace is made with silver metallic thread and glass beads. The Tirocchi sisters had a successful dressmaking shop in Providence during the 1920s and 1930s. The Historic Textile Collection has a number of metallic laces, now on exhibition, from the shop.