When lace appeared in home furnishings (Tablecloths, Doilies)
Lace was used very early as a decoration for tablecloths and table runners: we can find several, even sumptuous, examples starting from the 16th century. This happened because in Italy (and, generally speaking in central Europe) tablecloths, besides being a status symbol representing the wealth of the landlord and which could be shown off together with clothes, had also a cultural value. Actually, more than the table (with the exception of fratini (fratino tables) in monasteries, real dining tables appeared only in the 18th century), the tablecloth was the real symbol of the users’ social rank. As important guests used to wipe their hands on the tablecloth, tablecloths were arranged in layers and removed, one after the other, together with dirty dishes. A striking example can be found in the “Convito a casa di Levi” (Banquet at Levi’s House), a large canvas painted by Paolo Veronese in 1573 and now at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, where the tablecloth is decorated with large precious lace. As lace was very precious, it appeared much later in curtains and other home furnishings (braid decorations were generally used), also because until the 18th century home interiors were not permanently furnished.

Virtual Museum:

Tablecloths decorated with lace can be found in the following rooms: Room n. 3: interior of an early 17th-century Palace in Florence.Room n. 4: presentation of the point de France to the Sun King (Parisian environment referring to Versailles, about 1680).Room n.6: early 18th-century middle-class Dutch interior. Room n. 7: chocolate at Madame de Pompadour’s Petit Appartaments in Versailles.Room n. 13: interior of Burano school and laboratory, second half of the 19th century.

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