History of Lace: A Collection of Portraits


Here’s a second installment in the series entitled ‘History of Lace.’ You can find the first article here

Without much talk, following are some works of art of those who have been image setters throughout the centuries.

Catherine de Medici, the woman who first introduced lace-making in France. Notice the exaggerated upright Venicien lace collar in her portrait:

Catherine de Medici (1621). Image via Wikipedia

Catherine of Braganza, the Queen wife of Charles II. Dirk Stoop (1660). Image via Wikipedia

Although Catherine of Braganza was not much popular in England, for she was a protestant, and she failed to bring an heir to the throne, however, she was the one who introduced the custom of drinking tea in England, in addition to using the fork at the royal dining tables. It’s difficult not to admire her portrayed simple elegance!

It was widely believed that Queen Elizabeth I, known as the Virgin Queen, loved to wear Lace collars in a form that mimics halos of 14th century Madonnas, to signal purity:

Queen Elizabeth I, a 16th century influential figure. A portrait attributed to Georges Gower.

By the 17th century, lace was so common in Europe that it was used to decorate everything at the nobility mansions, from doorknobs and pillow cases to dresses:

The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer, 17th century.

Charles I. was executed on the 30th of January, 1649, for refusing to accept parliament’s rights to cut off expenditure, and control taxes.

Charles I & Henrietta Maria of England, by Van Dyck.

How ridiculously extravagant showing off ones wealth could be? Prince Charles Louis & his brother, Prince Rupert, used to wear lace collars over their metallic body armors!

Prince Charles Louis and Prince Rupert. Van Dyck, 1637. Image via Wikipedia

Marie Antoinette, by François-Hubert Drouais, was painted in 1773, while she was still 18.

Franz Xavier Winterhalter – ‘Portrait of Empress Eugenie’, 1894

Finally, I couldn’t help but notice that even though I have nothing against digital painting and illustration (in fact, I’m taking beginner courses myself!), it’s so sad that such elaborate, fine and detail-oriented art of portrait painting is going extinct…

Coming up next, ‘History of Lace: Documenting Modern Times.


  1. I love your article and the wonderful, empowering information that you share…

  2. Interesting! I am originally from Nottingham, England, famous for lace as described in this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/work/england/nottingham/

  3. Wow, I have learned a lot about lace by just visiting this blog. I was never a fan of lace before, but I am growing to appreciate it a lot more. Great post

    • Thank you Kay!
      I wasn’t a fan either when I was a teenager.. Now I just adore it, simply for its individuality, the hard work, art & precision put to it, & for the uniqueness it gives for the one wearing it! :)

  4. Hiba,
    So glad you found Venetian Red and my series “The History of Lace in Seven Portraits.” I’m providing a link for interested readers to the collection of posts on Venetian Red>

    It’s a fascinating topic, and you’ve done a great job coming up with additional illustrative paintings here!

    Looking forward to more cross-blog dialog.

    • Thanks a lot Liz!
      I was thrilled to find a blog who already shared my passions: Painting & lace!
      Your blog is simply amazing, and so informative, I loved it :)
      I’m working on some other new articles about lace as well, hope you will like them.
      Thank you again.

      Best Regards.

  5. Pingback: History of Lace: The Earliest Traces in Pictures « Cloud Of Lace

  6. Pingback: History of Lace: Documenting Modern Times « Cloud Of Lace

  7. Pingback: My First Blog Award! « Cloud of Lace

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