Pair of lappets

Artist or maker:
Place of production:
Venice?, Italy
linen thread
Type of object:
borders (costume accessories)
Accession number:


This piece of lace is a beautiful example of the type of early Italian lace that appealed to Baroness Edmond de Rothschild (1853-1935). It is possibly a pair of lappets (long streamers worn as part of a lady’s headdress at the very end of the 1600s), a border to adorn a dress, or even a furnishing item.

There are not many examples of Italian lace in the collection, but those that are included tend to have flowing and intricate floral patterns, which echo Baroness Edmond's interest in flowers and fashionable design motifs, such as the pomegranate and carnation.

This type of lace is known as gros point and was made in Venice from the early 1600s to the mid 1700s. It is characterised by its large motifs, often padded with wool to give raised effects. The flowers and leaves are linked by brides or bars, terms for the joining threads, decorated with picots (small loops).

In the late 1800s, when Baroness Edmond began collecting lace, this type of Italian lace was much admired and books of instructions and designs were published to allow lace-makers to copy the large-scale patterns. It was also very collectable, and it is possible that this example has been altered or restored in the 1800s.

At the time Baroness Edmond was acquiring lace, many women were forming such collections. During the 1850s and 60s lace had become hugely fashionable once more with trimmings liberally applied to every item of women’s dress. Skirts and sleeves were embellished with deep flounces and ruffles, and lace shawls were deemed essential for both day and evening wear. Baroness Edmond's collection ranges in date from the 1600s to the 1800s and includes lappets, caps, cuffs, dress edgings and stoles. Major centres of production, including Venice, Brussels and Alençon, are well represented.

Baroness Edmond's collection came to Waddesdon when it was inherited by her daughter-in-law, Dorothy de Rothschild (1895-1988).

Rachel Boak 2013

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1670 x 80
Venise - 1 Bande bord droit. 1m 65 long. - 8cm largeur
Handwritten in red ink by Baroness Edmond or a contemporary on blue paper stored with lace

gros point. Late 18th cent
Handwritten in red ball point pen in curator's hand on blue paper stored with lace

approx 100cm
Handwritten in blue ball point pen on blue paper stored with lace

82 (circled)
Handwritten in blue ball point pen on blue paper stored with lace, part of old inventory number

Handwritten in blue ball point pen on blue paper stored with lace


Acquired by Baroness Edmond de Rothschild (b.1853, d.1935); inherited by her daughter-in-law, Dorothy de Rothschild (b.1895, d.1988); inherited by present owner.
Waddesdon (Rothschild Family)
On loan since 1995