ARGENTELLA

Characteristics

Ground Rosacae - hexagon honeycombs with solid hexagon inside. Absence of brides or reseau. Stitches- buttonhole especially in the cordonnet, outer border fringed with tiny Venetian picots Threads- extremely fine 400 cotton thread, not produced today Design -flowing flowers and leaves, ferns, fungi in semi-naturalistic manner Uses- lappets, flounces etc.

History

Argentella is distinguished by its elaborate rosette and honeycombs, and is made up of a solid hexagon within a skeletal hexagon. It has the appearance of tiny bricks held apart by a filigree of wrought ironwork.

Due to the short period during which this lace was made, it is quite a rare lace, similar in design to Alencon and Argentan. The overall appearance is more elaborate and the quality is usually better.

There is controversy regarding the origins of this lace, in particular as to whether it originally derived from Alencon or Argentan. Reigate (Page 101) states “it is really the best quality Argentan. The name ‘Argentella’ seems to have been invented by Mrs. Palliser, since there is no mention of it before the publication of her book”. ” This ground was a deliberate attempt to copy the designs of the contemporary silks which appeared in 1700, in particular the ‘fillings’ portrayed in these ‘lace’-patterned silks.” (Gwynne p 25)

References

Earnshaw, P Needlelace, Merehurst, London, 1991
Earnshaw, P The Identification of Lace, Shire publications, 1994
Gwynne, J.L, The Illustrated Dictionary of Lace, Batsford, London, 1997
Kraatz, A LACE: History and fashion, Thames and Hudson, 1989
Toomer, H LACE: a guide to identification of old lace types and techniques.
Voysey, C, Needlelace in Photographs, Batsford, London ,1987, Pages 36-40

© Valerie Cavill, August 2010

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