Press Release

Lace: A Sumptuous History (1600s - 1900s)



CONTACT: Charles Schuler  
Associate Deputy Airport Director
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport 


Lace: A Sumptuous History (1600s - 1900s) 
New exhibition presents the beauty, craftsmanship and variety of lacemaking over three centuries

SAN FRANCISCO -- Lace, a decorative openwork web, was first developed in Europe during the sixteenth century. Two distinct types of lace making—needle lace and bobbin lace—began simultaneously. Needle lace is made with a single needle and thread, while bobbin lace entails the plaiting of many threads. Lace was always an expensive luxury item because of its painstaking, time-consuming production. Preeminent lacemaking centers were established in Italy, Flanders, and France. Lace styles evolved throughout the centuries in response to changes in fashion. Both men and women wore lace from its inception to the eighteenth centuries.

The Industrial Revolution supported the development of new, machine-made laces in the nineteenth century. Even so, a demand for handmade lace remained. In response, novel laces were developed, including a simplified needle lace, Belgian Point de Gaze, as well as delicate French Chantilly bobbin lace. In addition to these laces, domestic techniques such as tatting and crochet were encouraged by women’s periodicals and printed patterns.


From homemade tatting and crochet lace to impeccable Brussels à Vrai Réseau bobbin lace and French Point d’ Alençon, Lace: A Sumptuous History explores the wide range of laces made over the centuries. Edgings, lappets, parasols, gloves, collars, and dresses are some of the delightful forms in which these laces appear.


View the exhibit online.


Lace: A Sumptuous History is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from February 8, 2014 to June 22, 2014. There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the country’s only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. For more information, please visit


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