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67 Victorian Things: Kent velvet coat as evening dress, which would have made it easier to distinguish guests from servants at parties (a problem that was a regular subject of Punch cartoons), but he was triumphant in reducing the three-stud shirt front to one stud.The prince looked best in the carefully fitted double-breasted frock coat that made bulky figures like his appear impressive. No gentleman need feel that he was mindlessly following the whims of fashion if he took the prince as his guide when choosing his coat. Works Cited Flugel, J. C. The Psychology of Clothes. London: Hogarth, 1930. Freedgood, Elaine. Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006. Tailor and Cutter: ATrade Journal and Index of Fashion. London, 1867–1936 Trollope,Anthony. John Caldigate. 1879. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1946. Wagner, Gillian. Barnardo. London:Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979. • Lace La r a Kr iegel • In her tribute to lacemaking in Ireland during the famine years of the 1840s, Mrs. Meredith, a lady philanthropist, declared,“We write about it because it is so soon to pass away.” One day, she foretold of those heroines who had arisen from adversity and plied their craft to rescue a nation, “the lacemakers ” would“exist only on paper” (Meredith xiii).With such declarations, Mrs. Meredith forged a set of connections between lace, writing, and the past.These relations extended well beyond Mrs. Meredith’s 1865 hybrid text, which was a work of celebratory history and a set of didactic tales rolled into one. Indeed, they characterize a larger set of writings on lace, including manuals, histories, and exhibition catalogues, that proliferated in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. As literary critic Elaine Freedgood has noted, these years witnessed an explosion of meditations on lace (Freedgood 626; see also Treadwin). Written largely, although not solely, by women, these texts described the changing fortunes of the handmade lace trade, whose two branches included point lace, worked with the needle, and pillow lace, made with bobbins.Along with the more primitive sister art of crochet lace that developed in Ireland, the crafts of point and pillow lace suffered several blows throughout the nineteenth century. Most importantly, the rise of the mechanized trade, centred in Nottingham, challenged the market viability, if not the aesthetic primacy, of handmade lace. Other sundry changes, including the acceleration of fashion, the rise of the middleman, the decline of the convent, and the demands of domestic service, victorian review • Volume 34 Number 1 68 also compromised the trade. In the face of these challenges, reformers sought to revive a handicraft tradition that was constantly under threat and to rescue those ladies who made their livelihood in lace. To do so, they employed a range of strategies.They developed lace schools in the convents, prisons, and orphanages of Ireland; they reinvigorated lace training in the English countryside ; they collected rare specimens of lace for show at museums in London and elsewhere; and they planned metropolitan exhibitions. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, then, the lace trade existed in a state of precariousness . On the one hand, it was fleeting, even declining; on the other, it was always on the cusp of renaissance and revival. Given this condition, it is no surprise, as Elaine Freedgood has shown, that history provided the register for writing about lace in the latter half of the nineteenth century.The historical discourse on lace commemorated a women’s craft that was a labour of love and an artifact that punctuated life-cycle events, including birth, marriage, and death. This discourse also had a larger social purpose. Ultimately, Freedgood argues, it worked to combat the commodity fetishism of the industrial capitalist marketplace (Freedgood 627, 631–44). Freedgood’s notably prescient observations are forceful in rendering coherent a sundry array of writings. Indeed, they illuminate the dynamics of the lace revival, and the meanings and hopes that accrued around it, to great effect. This said, they merit some refinements that will allow us to further appreciate the shifting relationships among artifacts, institutions, and texts during the time ofVictoria. It is my sense that the lace revival occurred in fits and starts...


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