So let's look at those hugely ornate Reticello collars and cuffs of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
For those of you who may be joining us just now, we started this series on the Different Styles of Reticello here.
As Elisa Ricci says in her introduction to the 1909 reprint of Federico Vinciolo's Les Singuliers et Nouveaux Pourtraicts, "To judge by the number of times this little book by Vinciolo was reprinted between 1587 and 1658, one must believe that the refined and demanding ladies of the time considered it the best of its kind. There are some 17 editions that we know of – but there is reason to believe that there were more, since it is inconceivable that some fragment or recollection of every edition has come down to us, considering the manner in which ladies would use, or rather consume, such pattern books, ripping out the pages and distributing them to their embroiderers, as one does today with patterns found in fashion magazines."
It is amazing that we have traces of these pattern books, considering all the factors against their survival like fire, water, mice, wear and tear, mould, mildew – the ones to survive must have been jealously guarded indeed. There are some that still are... jealously guarded that is. Vari Disegni di Merletto by Bartolomeo Danieli and Libro di Lavorieri by Aurelio Passerotti are ones I'd love to see... I don't know if they contain patterns for Reticello or not.
There is quite an informative article in the back of the Italia Invita 2005 Forum Book by Marialuisa Rizzini on the various pattern books of the 16th century that cites some 156 editions which are known. I thought I had a list of them all at one point but I can't find it now, I will keep looking and post it when I find it.
From Les Singuliers et Nouveaux Pourtraicts by Federico Vinciolo:
Ornate collars and cuffs were the thing to be wearing. Here we have a detail of collar and cuff by Scipione Pulzone, late 1500s (click here for the whole picture):
Elisabetta Catanea Parasole Romana, 1616, Teatro delle Nobili et Virtuose Donne – numerous designs for "Reticella", this is only one page:
There were many other antique pattern books to draw from, and the best way to see the embroideries now is to check out portraits from the period.
From Old World Lace by Clara Blum:
From Old Italian Lace by Elisa Ricci:
There is a free downloadable German version of Elisabetta Catanea Parasole Romana's, Teatro delle Nobili et Virtuose Donne, under Parasole: Musterbuch für Stickereien und Spitzen at the Online Digital Archive. While there you can also download Old World Lace by Clara Blum, and Old Italian Lace by Elisa Ricci and even Federico Vinciolo's Les Singuliers et Nouveaux Pourtracits.
To purchase a reprint of five antique pattern books collected in one volume, check out Disegni per Merletti e Ricami.