Point Ground Lace by Heather Billington.

Buckingham Point lace, (Bucks point) belongs to the family of point ground laces. Other laces in this family include Bayeux, Chantilly, Blonde de Caen, Downton, Lille, Tonder, Beveran and many other lesser known laces.

All point ground laces are a light continuous lace with a ‘net” or ‘tulle’ transparent ground. The ground is known as ‘point ground’ and is worked – cross, twist, twist, twist, pin. There is no stitch to enclose the pin.

A piece of Bucks Lace

The motives are usually worked in cloth stitch and are also light and ‘gauze like’, they are outlined with a very heavy thread known as a ‘gimp’. This gives the motifs greater definition and texture.Many fillings are uses within the motifs to give a lighter area of texture, the main filling stitch used is ‘honeycomb’. The headside often undulates or is ‘Vandyked’ and is edged with picots.

Records indicated that lace making was well established in England by the late 17th century. Point ground laces seem to have started in England about this time, the refugees from Europe came to England and brought their lace equipment and patterns with them.The early Point ground lace made in England was a combination of several European laces. The ground came from Lille lace and the patterns were derived from Michlin.

Traditionally most of the workers were the wives and daughters of agricultural workers living in the East Midlands villages. This area included the counties of Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and of course Buckinghamshire. The lace was made and sold to supplement the men’s meagre earnings. At this time those who made lace as a livelihood knew and worked only one or two patterns, they were limited by the need to produce a large quantity of lace quickly and accurately.

As the cottage industry developed and more people were making lace, new designs were developed. Many of the dealers were designers, their patterns were given to the lace makers on the proviso that the dealer would be able to purchase all the lace made from these patterns

A wide range of lace goods was offered for sale including berthas, flounces, cuffs, fans, scarves as well as edgings and insertions. As Bucks point lace was a very delicate and soft open lace it was easily draped and gathered, this made it very suitable to wear on the muslin empire line dresses that were very fashionable at this time.

Towards the end of the 1800’s the lace industry around Buckinghamshire had almost disappeared due to foreign competition and the change in fashion.

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