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Carrickmacross lace handkerchief, partly worked

Description:

A handkerchief of Carrickmacross lace, partly worked, on a patttern drawn in ink on tracing paper. A style of lace worked in applique and embroidery, hand sewn on two layers of fabric, fine muslin on a background of cotton net. This piece shows an early stage in the work, where the pattern is outlined with a couched thread. Upon completion of the couching the paper pattern is removed and much of the muslin is cut away to reveal the appliqued motifs which will then be embellished with filling stitches and tiny buttonholed stitches known as 'pops'. A picot edging of twisted thread all around a finished piece is a characteristic of Carrickmacross lace. This style of lace was introduced into Ireland by Mrs Grey Porter of Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan in the early 1820s as a means of providing employment for women in rural areas. The establishment of seven lace making schools (the Bath and Shirley Lace Schools) on the Carrickmacross estate of the Marquis of Bath, in 1846, supported the further commercial development of the craft and a potential means of survival for many families affected by famine. Carrickmacross lace flourished greatly in the late 1800s thanks to a lace school founded at the St Louis Convent in 1890 and schemes to promote new designs for Irish lace, under the patronage od select committees including, amongst others, The Marchioness of Londonderry and the Countess of Aberdeen.