Discover the timeless quality of antique lace

Antiques for Everyone's Spring fair features a enticing array of antique lace and embroidery

The delicate appeal of lace has lasted centuries (just think of Elizabeth I’s fabulous dress in The Ditchley Portrait), which is why Antiques for Everyone is putting on a special display of lace at its spring fair from 7th-10th April.

Lace first appeared in Britain in the Elizabethan era and often decorated the elaborate ruff collars, which were a symbolic sign of status during the period. In the 17th and 18th centuries ruffs began to disappear and the arrival of new fabrics, such as cottons and embroidered muslins, resulted in the creation of lighter, more airy lace than had been seen before. 

In the early 19th century, the first lace machines were invented and gradual advances in technology allowed for significant improvements in both quality and output.  For the first time, the middle classes were able to emulate the upper classes with readily availiable lace that cleverly mimicked exquisite handmade designs.

More recently, lace has featured prominently in the costume design of popular period TV series Downton Abbey and Doctor Thorne. Both series are a prime opportunity to see how lace was used during the period to create different decorative additions such as frills and bows to bonnets and dresses.

Today, lace remains as delicate and romantic in its feel and appearance as it did then, featuring heavily on red carpets and in fashion collections worldwide. And, of course, as the fabric of choice for royal brides.

A unique collection of lace will be on display at the Antiques for Everyone fair, at Birmingham's NEC. The collection, courtesy of The Lace Guild Museum, will exhibit lace from the 18th to the 21st century and experts will be on hand to advise on everything from the craft of lacemaking to the fabric's impressive history.

For your chance to win one of ten pairs of tickets to the fair enter our giveaway here.

Antiques for Everyone Spring Fair runs from 7th-10th April at National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, B40 1NT. Thursday to Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. 0844 5810827.

Words: Kat Morris

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