Cap crown


Not on view

The Metropolitan Museum's great lace collection was started when the Museum became the first among American museums to organize a permanent collection of lace with the acceptance of the McCallum Collection in 1879 and the bequests of Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Mrs. Robert L. Stuart, Mrs. Augustus Cleveland, and Mrs. A. W. Winters shortly thereafter. In 1893 a loan collection of antique laces shown at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago was assembled by a committee of New York women headed by Catharine Augusta Newbold. About 1900 Miss Newbold arranged and labeled an exhibition of laces and linenworks lent to the Metropolitan Museum by Mrs. James Boorman Johnstone and the Misses Johnstone. "Her scholarly knowledge of lace technique enabled the Museum for the first time to offer a comprehensive display of lace illustrating its historical development," wrote Miss Frances Morris, then curator of the textile department.

Miss Newbold's name occurs again in connection with a group of thirty-eight laces recently given to the Museum by her nieces, Mrs. Donald P. Spence and The Lady Reigate, in memory of her sister, their mother, Mrs. William Redmond Cross. These represent a selection of the finest of Miss Newbold's personal lace collection, a collection probably made at the time she was active in lace circles in New York about the last decade of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, under the guidance of Marian Hague, a distinguished connoisseur and collector herself. This period witnessed the last peak of appreciation of and connoisseurship in an art form that had been in tremendous vogue from its beginnings in the fifteenth century. And it was the last period in which fine laces were available in any number.

Among choice examples of the great lace types represented in Miss Newbold's small collection are: early Italian pieces combining cut-work, pulled work, reticella, embroidery on linen ground; Sicilian polychrome silk filet; seventeenthcentury Venetian points (point de Venise à reseau and the widely known rose point de Venise); famous French needlepoints (Point de Paris, Argentan, Alençon); French and Flemish bobbin laces (Binche, Valenciennes, Brussels, Point d'Angleterre, and Point de Gaz); and a beautiful cap crown of Argentella (1979.310.9), a rare eighteenth-century European lace whose place of origin has never been surely determined.

Cap crown, Bobbin lace, Brussels bobbin lace, point d'Angleterre, linen, Flemish

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