The origins of lace are disputed by historians, but evidence from Italy and Flanders show a well-developed craft as early as the late 1400s. Some needle lace forms date back to pre-Christian times. For many years, only the wealthiest of Europeans could afford to have lace on their clothing. Wearing lace was not limited to women; wealthy men in Tudor and Elizabethan England wore starched lace ruffs and lace cuffs. Lace was sometimes made with gold or silver threads with gold and silver sequins woven in.
Although lace was worn in Scotland, it was imported from France, Italy, Belgium, Germany or England. Several attempts were made by wealthy patrons, starting in 1750, to found lace making schools near Edinburgh and Glasgow importing French lace makers as teachers, but there is no evidence of a Scottish style of lace. We partner with the Rocky Mountain Lace Guild to demonstrate bobbin lace techniques that would have been used during the early 18th Century to make lace for wealthy Scots.