Mechlin Lace - History


Originally the term 'mechlin lace' was used for any bobbin lace from Flanders. Mechlin lace grew in popularity throughout the late 17th century and the 18th century, and was mentioned several times. The 1657 inventory of the Maréchal de la Motte included 'a pair of Mechlin ruffles'. Jean-François Regnard, when visiting Flanders in 1681, wrote of the lace and lace-makers. When the English prohibition was removed in 1699, Mechlin lace became the grand fashion in England, and it was advertised in the London Gazette. It was very popular at this time in France and Holland as well. The earliest with a réseau (open net) ground wasn't made until 1720, and at this point the term became specific to this lace with the open net. In 1755 Mechlin lace went into decline in England, and by 1834 there were only eight manufacturers left. Machine-made Mechlin lace started to be produced in 1819. Another machine was invented in 1847 which exactly followed the hand movements a lace-maker would make. Manufacture has since died out.

Mechlin lace was also very popular with the English royalty. Queen Mary II, in spite of the prohibition against imported laces, purchased two yards of knotted fringe for her Mechlin ruffles in 1694. Queen Anne purchased quite a bit of it— 83 yards in 1713. George I had a Mechlin cravat, and it was a favorite of Queen Charlotte and Princess Amelia.

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