Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.


Copyright 2012 by the author(s).


Volume 1 of the 16th century pattern book "Le Pompe" was printed by the Sessa brothers for Matio Pagano in 1557. Volume 2 appeared in 1560 with a new set of patterns. These works are among the earliest existing devoted entirely to bobbinlace. The patterns are drawings meant to be interpreted by the lacemaker. Most are highly adaptable to the plaited techniques we now associate with Venice. But more flowing designs are also present (fig 1), and seem to point the way toward tape lace development, or perhaps a side branch that was not fully developed in subsequent years. Little lace from this period survives, and it has been a challenge for modern lacemakers to interpret the more advanced patterns using modern techniques. This may not be the best approach. A new example has come to light which exactly copies one of the Le Pompe designs (fig 2), even matching the scale of the original plate. The piece is of fine linen and of a surprisingly advanced technique bearing little resemblance to modern interpretations. This paper will present a technical analysis of the piece, compared and contrasted to contemporary plaited laces, later tape laces, and modern attempts at copying such designs.