POINT DE GAZE

Characteristics

  • Fine thread
  • Toile (pattern/design) main feature - roses with tiers of petals
  • Ribbon swathes and scrolls, candelabra, floral posies, sprays and pendants
  • Background loosely worked buttonhole stitch: light gauzy appearance
  • Cordonnet fixed by spaced buttonhole stitching
  • Often incorporating bobbin lace around the elements.

History

Point de Gaze, a derivative of Flemish needlepoint, was also known as rosaline, point a l’aiguille, gauze point, Brussels rose point and point de Bruxelles. It was made in and around Brussels from 1850 to 1930s and was one of the most delicate and expensive laces of the late 19th and early 20th century

Designs were excellent, close, firm and very carefully thought out. Beautifully organized floral designs, arranged in pendants, posies or swirling sprays gave the impression of opulence rather than over crowding. Most distinctive characteristics are the dainty gauze ground using single buttonhole stitches lightly threaded through each other, which gave it its name, and the roses with layered petals. These 3 dimensional petals increased the sense of naturalism, an effect much sought after in the second half 19thC. The effect of sunshine was created by the interplay of closely and widely spaced buttonhole stitching. Naturalism was also achieved by the use of denser and less dense stitching in the clothwork of the motifs to give the effect of shading.

Point de Gaze was made in huge quantities and in large pieces – flounces and shawls. To enable these to be worked, the designs were divided into small areas each made by a single lace-maker. The completed parts were then assembled on a master pattern and joined invisibly together. This way only a small number of workers had access to the overall design which lessened the risk of pirating.

Point de Gaze was imitated by the Schiffli machine (late 19thC) using net to imitate the gauzy reseau (background) and shaped pieces of cotton cloth for the raised rose petals.

References

Earnshaw, P. The Identification of Lace, Shire publications, 1994
Earnshaw, P. A Dictionary of Lace, Shire publications, 1982
Kraatz, A. Lace: History and fashion, Thames and Hudson, 1989
Toomer, H. LACE: a guide to identification of old lace types and techniques

© Valerie Cavill 2008

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