Friday, June 18, 2010

Filet Lace in Turin

Whenever I used to think of Filet lace, I always thought of designs done mostly in Darning stitch or Crochet Filet... Italian Filet from the various regions has really opened my eyes to how different and interesting this ancient art can be.

Right now at the Palazzo Madama in Turin there is a lace exhibit which will be there until the end of the year. This particular display, which consists of 95 pieces of lace including Reticello, Venice Gros Point, Punto in Aria, Filet and types of 17th and 18th century laces, shows the course lace has taken through history. The museum holds over 450 pieces so this is but a small sampling.

If you download their newsletter (at the bottom of the page, click on: SCARICA IL NUMERO O (2MB) - text in Italian), check out the header on top of page 5 for some really unusual needlework with gold and little pieces of coloured stones dating back to the Renaissance which was donated to the museum by Elisa Ricci, foremost Italian needlework scholar, author, collector of the early 20th century. There is a photo of the full piece on the link for the exhibition but it's difficult to see anything, the shot in the newsletter is a closeup of a small section and the gold threads and beads are clearer. There is a full page colour photo of this piece in the book: Tessuti Ricami e Merletti in Italia by Marina Carmignani if you can get your hands on a copy (it's a very expensive book!) though, the text does not go into much detail. This piece alone would be worth going to this exhibit.

Visit the museum's Flickr group to see more than six hundred photos of the museum and some of its displays. It's definitely worth making yourself a cuppa and looking through them, not so much from a textile standpoint but for internal shots of the amazing palazzo! There are more interior photos on the website here.

Ah... where was I? It is so easy for me to get sidetracked... yes, Filet lace. A kind Italian friend sent me some photos of the show - among which were these two photos of a most interesting piece of Filet lace:

Look at all the different stitches used on this piece... and different weights of thread to add emphasis to certain motifs. Definitely a piece worth studying - what a lot of work!

For more reading on a different type of Italian Filet, check out the post on Sardinian Bosa Filet lace. For lots of photos, go to the Museo del Merletto an online museum of lace.

Thanks to Silvia for the photos!


  1. Hello Jeanine, I am really enjoying your blog. I love Italian needlework, particularly whitework so I have found plenty of interest in your posts. I am also a gold work embroiderer so was quite intrigued by the piece you mentioned above. On close inspection I think it has coloured silk embroidery with gold twist outlines on the linen squares and pearl purl cut into short lengths embellishing the needlelace sections. I would love to see more of this! Perhaps one day I will manage a visit to Italy - you have certainly whetted my appetite.

  2. Hi Susan, I'm glad to know there are others out there who love Italian needlework!
    I think you are right about the goldwork on the Renaissance piece (I've done some goldwork myself, though only on a beginner level). I hope to get a better picture of this piece and if I do I'll post about it here for sure.

  3. Very lovely pics! Thank you very much for sharing! :)