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Lace, the product of intense, time-consuming hand work, signaled prestige, power, and wealth, and consequently acted as an important finishing touch on elite dress. This Valenciennes lace may have been owned by Martha Washington or her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis. It likely trimmed a bonnet or cap for everyday use. It features the characteristic diamond-shape Valenciennes ground and tiny picots on the outer edge. As is typical for early-nineteenth century laces, the mesh ground, rather than motifs, is its most important feature. In the early nineteenth century, ladies preferred airy and simple lace trims on their garments and accessories.


White Valenciennes linen bobbin lace, featuring the characteristic diamond-shape Valenciennes mesh, a looping pattern on the lower edge, and tiny picots (loops of thread), which protrude from the edge. A linen stitch fills the motifs.




Linen, Bobbin lace


Overall (WxD): 29 in. × 1 1/2 in. (73.66 cm × 3.81 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. M. Lee Shaffer, Jr. and Charles Conrad Krumbhaar, Jr., 1955

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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