handkerchief

HOYFM.451.1987

A handkerchief of very fine linen lawn with a border of of Youghal needlepoint lace. This particular style of Irish lace was known as 'Rose Point'. As the name suggests, this type of lace is handmade using a needle and fine thread to create motifs using buttonhole stitch. Floral motifs created in this manner are then joined by a grid of interlinked bars or 'brides'. The lace is worked over a pattern, hand drawn or transfer printed, onto a solid background fabric in a contrasting colour. When the lace is completed, the backing fabric is removed. Youghal lace, in imitation of seventeenth century Italian needle lace, was developed by Mother Mary Smith of Presentation Convent, Youghal in the mid-nineteenth century to provide gainful employment for women in the local area. It achieved a degree of commercial success and royal patronage. A train of Irish needlepoint lace was made for Queen Mary for her visit to India in 1911. Found mainly on costume and small accessories such as handkerchefs and fans, Irish needlepoint lace fell out of favour after the First World War due to the cost of the labour-intensive work; by the 1930s it had all but disappeared. This fine example is one of a large collection of handerchiefs and archival material, held by UFTM, relating to the Belfast textile designer H.R.Lilley (1886 -1970).

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