Maltese Lace

Collar of Maltese lace in ecru silk, early 20th century. Collar of Maltese lace in ecru silk, early 20th century. TRC 2007.0645
Published in Maltese lace

0. Cover page

Maltese lace, locally known with the umbrella term of Bizzilla 'ta Malta, is associated with the Mediterranian archipelago of Malta, and especially with the island of Gozo. It is a form of bobbin lace of relatively recent, mid-19th century date, although local lace production itself dates back for several centuries. Maltese lace is usually made from ecru coloured silk yarn ('blonde'), but sometimes a black version occurs (for example, TRC 2019.2805). There are also examples made from linen.

The TRC Leiden has recently been given several pieces of Maltese lace (TRC 2020.4880 and TRC 2020.4881). The donation complements previous acquisitons of the same type.  Because of this  gift, and the recent publication of Azzopardi's monumental book (2020) on the subject, we would like to draw attention to this form of bobbin lace in this small online exhibition.

41 eGP15RGL. SX400 BO1204203200

Sources of information:

  • Anon (1851). Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, London: Spicer Brothers.
  • Azzopardi, Consiglia (2007). ‘Lacemaking in Malta’, The Gozo Observer, no.16, June 2007, pp. 27-18. Available here
  • idem (2020). Maltese Lace History & Mystery, Four Centuries of Bizzilla.. MaltaKite group.
  • Earnshaw, Pat (1982, 1984). A Dictionary of Lace, Aylesbury: Shire Publications Ltd.
  • Levey, Santina (1983). Lace. A History. Maney Publishing.
  • Maltatina, 'Bringing Maltese lace making back to life', 2 July 2019 (click here)
  • Special portal for information on Maltese lace, see

For this online exhibition:

  • Author: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood
  • Web-design: Joost Koopman
  • Exhibition design: Willem Vogelsang
  • Publisher: TRC Leiden.
  • Year of publication: 2020
  • Copyright: All illustrations of objects housed in the TRC collection can be used free of charge, but please add to the caption: "Courtesy Textile Research Centre, Leiden" and the pertinent accession number of the object.
Browse through the exhibition: 1. Bobbin lace »