Hair Lace

Band of needlelace with human hair, 17th century, UK Band of needlelace with human hair, 17th century, UK Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, acc. no. T.150-1963.

Hair lace is a form of bobbin and needlepoint lace made from human hair. This type of work is sometimes called point tresse. Hair lace was particularly popular in Europe during the seventeenth century. Because of the smoothness and springiness of human hair, however, it can be difficult to work.

Items made with human hair were mostly intended as sentimental reminders (births, marriages and deaths). Human hair is also said to have been used to support the extremely fine picots of some Venetian and French styles of needlepoint lace, where the more commonly used horsehair was too thick.

See also the TRC Needles entry on the sixteenth century Lennox point tresse.

Source: EARNSHAW, Pat (1984). A Dictionary of Lace, Aylesbury: Shire Publications Ltd, p. 77.

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 29th June 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 30 April 2017 18:23
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