Antique wedding dress

May 24, 2018

 

This lace wedding dress is made using the Irish crochet technique. It was worn by a - now unknown bride - around 1870 in England.

Irish crochet lace was a style of Irish lace which is not considered a "true" lace as it's worked with a hook instead of a needle or bobbin. It was originally developed in Ireland as a method of imitating expensive Venetian point laces.

By 1845 it was being taught in the Ursuline Convent, Blackrock, County Cork. Within a few years it was being taught in almost every convent in the country and used as part of the Famine Relief Scheme. By 1857, approximately 12,000 women and their families were working in crochet.

Charity groups sought to revive the economy - devastated by the great Irish potato famine - by teaching crochet lace technique at no charge to anyone willing to learn. This type of lace is characterised by separately crocheted motifs, which were later assembled and joined with a mesh background.

This exquisite dress is in the collection of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York at https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/156403 

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