Florence, fisrt half of the seventeenth century
At the beginning of the century, Maria de´ Medici married the king of France, Henry IV of Navarre who could not refuse the marriage, because of his enormous debts with the Florentine family.

At the death of the king, Richelieu first, and Mazarino later, crucially contributed to the greatness of France that culminated with the accession to the throne of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

We are inside a Florentine palace, witnessing the daily life of a family of the Medici court. The noblewoman sitting by the fireplace is reading the description of the wedding ceremony of Maria de´ Medici, written by young Michelangelo Buonarroti, nephew of the master.
Beside her, the little niece is trying to save her apple form the assaults of her pet dog. Not too far, the child’s mother, sitting beside the alcove, is having her hair styled by her maid; beside her a small table with some toilette necessities.

On the cassapanca da corredo and on the work table there is some lace popular at the time: GENOA LACE, MILANESE LACE, PUNTO IN ARIA.
  • The first pattern books for bobbin lace, originally called "merletti a piombino", date from the sixteenth century. The production of this lace, as that of needle lace, was also an Italian pride; Venice and Genoa held the supremacy for a very long time. To make bobbin lace it was not necessary to possess any special ability, or experience "because the lace is worked over a geometric pattern, crossing the threads on the marked lines and points …". (T. e F. Oddone, Lavori Femminili, Milan, 1911, p.16).
  • In our country, bobbin lace always ranked second in comparison with needle lace. The noblewomen who passionately made reticello and punto in aria lace, did not appreciate the "bulky and less elegant tombolo" much, therefore there were not many authors that published pattern books for bobbin lace. (E. Ricci, Trine Italiane. Modano, Fili Tirati, Buratto, Reticello, Trine a Fuselli, Punto in Aria, Bergamo, 1934).
  • Curious traditions are linked with the lives of lace makers: for instance in a book published at the beginning of the past century is written: "the lace maker works at home", frequently surrounded by her daughters and by her neighbours, handling the bobbins with amazing skill. In the evening she puts a lamp on the table and, in front of that, a bottle full of water, to soften the light and concentrate the rays on the work ... (G. Montecucco Rogledi, L'uncinetto nella Casa, Milan, 1971, p.24).
  • The wait for the wedding of Maria de´ Medici with the king of France Henry IV, generated an atmosphere of great euphoria and excitement in the chief Tuscan towns. Florence is in ferment and gets ready for the festivities; the walls on the Arno river are widened, predictions on foreign guests are made. An array of tailors, embroiderers, hairdressers, jewellers, shoemakers are ready to do their best in order to make the guests as elegant as they can. (M. Vannucci, Caterina e Maria de ´Medici regine di Francia, Rome, 1989, p.231).
  • Maria de´ Medici arrived in France with a trousseau worthy of her role and brought to her new country the taste and refinement of Italian fashion. According to the style of the time and to the court style, the queen’s gowns are rich in precious gold decorations and particularly gold and silver lace, her favourite ones, also enriched with gold paillettes and pearls. (C. Caneva, F. Solina (edited by), Maria de´Medici (1573-1642) una principessa fiorentina sul trono di Francia, Livorno, 2005, p.148).
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