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Hand-made lace
la Maison de la Dentelle, Bailleul

handmade lace
Part-made square of lace - the painstaking art of hand stitching is kept alive in Bailleul

Traditional lace head-dress, once worn by peasant women on special occasions
Early 19th century lace-making machine
It can make lace to any pattern, with incredible detail - just bu changing the paper roll that feeds through the machine on the left of the loom.

Keeping an old craft alive
In a fine old Flemish style house in Bailleul, you can see people practising the old art of making lace by hand. Hundreds of intricate stitches go into each small square of lace.

Making fine lace by hand
This widespread cottage industry was started by Louis XIV in the 17th century. Poor lace-makers toiled long hours in their cottages. They ruined their eyesight to make fine lace trimmings for the bed-linen and garments of the aristocratic few who could afford such luxuries.

Traditional dress
A lace head-dress was the traditional "Sunday best" wear for Northern French peasant women on religious holidays and special occasions. These scraps of lace were treasured heirlooms, handed down for generations.

Machines to make Lace
In Calais and Caudry [near Cambrai] you can see the 19th century machines that put the hand lace-makers out of work [see background page on "
History of the Lace Industry"]. In 1860 there were 8 schools in Bailleul to train lacemakers: not one was left by the First World War.

School for Lace-makers
In 1918 a rich American, Sir Nelson Cromwell, endowed a college in Bailleul to revive the old skills. Lessons are provided for up to 150 students from age 6 upwards, to learn traditional stitches and patterns used by the old craftspeople of the region.

Museum and shop
The museum has displays showing lace making techniques, with many examples. The shop sells some of the students' work, and on special occasions you can see them wearing traditional costume.

Other places to visit:
Benoît de Puydt Museum, Bailleul
- has collections of Flemish art & culture, including historic examples of handmade lace.

Background information
Lace industry
Textile Industry
Industrial revolution

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Location: la Maison de la Dentelle, 6 rue du Collège, 59270 BAILLEUL,
Take Bailleul exit from A25 autoroute
Information/ reservations:
Tel: 00 33 3 28 41 25 72
Fax: 00 33 3 28 43 81 01




Musée Benoît de Puydt © Copyright 1999-2000 Invicta Media. Last updated 3rd May 2000