UK dealers Joachim and Betty Mendes have so much wonderful lace for sale on their site http://www.mendes.co.uk/ that I could spend many posts on LaceNews describing it. But for now let me talk about one particular piece they have just put up for sale, to be followed soon with a more formal interview.
The new piece is No. F62.1 – see it on page http://www.mendes.co.uk/antique.lace.p.two.html about three quarters of the way down. It measures 54 cm x 340 cm, and shows the typical Louis XIV ‘candelabra’ symmetry of the late 17th century. Something this large would typically be used as a furnishing flounce. The picoted bride ground has a French hexagonal shape, and the small motifs are very flat with no buttonholed edges. The scrolling stems are rather isolated, difficult to follow in a definite pattern. All this is the sign of true French needlelace design which developed after the termination of the French monopoly in 1675, and represents a definite break with contemporary Italian work.
The war-like iconography associated with the Sun King is common in textiles of this era, demonstrating the might of the king. Louis himself sometimes appears in one of his various roles as Apollo, god of the sun in court ballets (see plate 226 in Levey’s “Lace, A History”). Louis was a highly trained dancer, and the formalism of the court was mirrored in contemporary dance. He does not appear in this lace flounce, but it does include figures of cannon and helmets.
This is a fascinating and remarkable lace – see the site for condition notes. Asking price is 6,800 GBP.