Figural lace panels such as this one were items of gentlemen's high-fashion neckwear, meant to be attached to the end of a long, fine fabric cravat. The elaborate imagery, time-consuming to achieve, made the panels extremely expensive accessories. Drawing inspiration from contemporary formal gardens, the design of this example centers on a fountain with water jets that issue from the tip of Amor's raised arrow and fall to fill a basin for swimming birds. Set among the parterres planted with tulips and other flowers is a fountain in the form of the mythical wyvern, spouting water from its mouth, and garden statuary representing a nesting bird. A whimsically incongruous dagged cloth is festooned—tied to trees and secured by overlarge tassels.
The ambiguous term point d'Angleterre does not refer in this instance to needle lace or the country of origin, but to a group of highest quality bobbin laces made in Brussels. The reference to England may denote the principal market for this type.
Arthur Blackborne ; Mrs. Edward S. Harkness (until 1948; to MMA)
Artist: Design attributed to Bernard van Orley (Netherlandish, Brussels ca. 1492–1541/42 Brussels)Date: design ca. 1515, woven ca. 1525Medium: Wool, silk, silver thread, silver-gilt thread (20-21 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)Accession: 41.190.136On view in:Gallery 508