Hand-Crafted Italian Lace Collar, Late 1800s

Hand-Crafted Italian Lace Collar, Late 1800s

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This hand-crafted lace collar, owned by Virginia Livingston Hunt, was made at the Lace School on the island of Burano, near Venice, Italy, in the late 1800s. Venice was a center for the production of fine needle lace from the late 1500s through the 1600s. French needle lace overtook Venetian styles in popularity during the 1700s, and lace-making skills began to die out in Italy. In 1872, a lace making school opened on Burano to revive traditional techniques. It was a charitable effort to attempt to improve the island’s economy by making and selling laces of cotton that imitated the linen needle laces of previous centuries. On close inspection you can see that the thickness of the cotton thread varies; also the reseau (net-like ground) is made with looped threads rather than with buttonhole stitches. Both of these characteristics identify the lace as Burano. Collars such as this, or collar-and-cuff sets, were popular clothing accessories in the 1800s and even into the 20th century, as they could be used to vary the appearance of a dress.
Object Name
lace, collar
Object Type
date made
end of 19th century
place made
overall at tips: 1 in; 2.54 cm
overall at neck edge: 28 3/8 in x 4 1/4 in; 72.0725 cm x 10.795 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Miss Virginia Livingston Hunt
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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