Odds and quads

July 8, 2010

This 19th-century lady's cap forms part of Nottingham Trent University's archive of more than 75,000 intricate lace samples, which was launched earlier this year.

Nottingham was at the heart of Britain's lace industry at its peak in the 19th century, with more than 130 factories employing about 25,000 workers.

The Nottingham School of Art - which eventually became part of Nottingham Trent - was specifically established in 1843 to train the designers that the industry required.

In order to facilitate research into this aspect of local heritage, the archive has brought together bequests from lace manufacturers and the British Lace Federation.

The collection is now housed in the Bonington Building, home of the School of Art and Design, and includes cuffs, bonnets and collars; garments and garment panels; sample books and portfolios of machine-made lace.

Unusual items range from a 17th-century Venetian priest's cloak to imitation snakeskin lace made for shoes and handbags in the 1920s.

Send suggestions for this series on the sector's treasures, oddities and curiosities to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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