Discovery and Documentation – The Blackborne Lace Collection

My role as Assistant Fashion and Textile Curator, which is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is to create access through the cataloguing and storage of the internationally important Blackborne Lace Collection that was generously gifted to the museum in 2006.

The Blackborne Collection is so vast and comprehensive that we are continually unearthing important items and are still in the process of discovering its full potential and historic significance.

I have begun the sizeable but exciting task of looking through the shop stock section of the collection, much of which is still in its original trunks.

The shop stock, which is in many ways an incidental collection of objects, documents the trade of the London based lace dealership A. Blackborne and Company during the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century. So it is a real mixture of lace of different shapes, sizes, ages, and origins.

I thought I would share a few choice images of the shop stock section of the collection:


If you are interested in contemporary lace watch out for our spring exhibition Study, Design & Create: The 98 Lace Group inspired by The Blackborne Collection

28th Jan – 15th April 2012.

By Annabel Talbot, Assistant Fashion & Textile Curator

5 thoughts on “Discovery and Documentation – The Blackborne Lace Collection

  1. How wonderful to have such a collection of lace. As lace is a particular favourite of mine, I just wondered if you were planning on exhibiting the collection in the future? I have recently designed a Victorian Wedding Dress for a Dickensian Exhibition (Ilumini)next year, but would love to get some inspiration for further projects from the lace if it was to be displayed.
    Many thanks, Tracey


    1. Hi Tracey
      I am glad you found my blog interesting – you will be pleased to know that key pieces of lace are included into our permanent Fashion and Textile display area and some of the lace from The Blackborne collection will be included in the spring exhibition Study, Design and Create. I am also relocating a number of pieces from The Blackborne Collection into the Glass Study Cube in the Fashion and Textile Gallery, so you will be able to book a session and I can show you a selection of lace on request. However this part of the project is ongoing so will not be readily available until April next year. I hope this helps.
      If you are interested in Victorian Lace you may like to read the Museum’s publication Fine and Fashionable (which is sold on the Museum’s website) and Victorian Lace by Patricia Wardle – both are very informative.
      All the best
      Annabel Talbot


  2. Hi:
    Interesting site. I am doing some research on Edith Rockefeller McCormick, whose considerable collection of laces was auctioned off (1934) after her death. I am trying to track down where these laces ended up. I do have photos of many of them. I wonder whether some might be in your collection?
    Andrea Ross


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