TORCHON LACE

Characteristics

  • Straight bobbin - grounded lace
  • Large scale square meshes
  • Interlacing twisted threads
  • Design: largely geometric.
  • Cloth stitch (close weave) and half stitch (loose weave) patterns
  • No raised work

History

Torchon lace is thought to have originated in Saxony and France. Laces with the geometric designs of torchon laces have been known since the 17th C but in the mid-19th C they became particularly popular and acquired the name torchon.

The name ‘torchon’ is derived from the French word for rag or duster, and it was sometimes known as ‘Beggar’s Lace’. Being the simplest of the bobbin laces, it could be made quickly and comparatively easily and became the mainstay of many lace making areas in Europe when competition from the machine laces forced workers to turn away from the more difficult laces.

Torchon lace was made in England in the East Midlands as laces for the middle market.

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
Levy, Santina, Lace-A History, V&A Museum
Stainer & Bell, The History of Lace, London 1979
Toomer, H. Lace: A Guide To Identification Of Old Lace Types & Techniques

© Valerie Cavill 2008

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