The French town of Caen specialised in coloured silk lace. This cap with lappets may have been made there. Its combination of black and coloured lace is typical of handmade and machine-made laces in the 1850s and 1860s.
Black lace became very fashionable from about the 1850s. The trend was reinforced by the Empress Eugénie of France, who loved wearing lace and particularly favoured black. Black silk bobbin lace was a major part of production in northern France and an important industry in Spain. The machine-made lace industry also developed to meet demand. Much of the machine lace that survives from the 19th century is black in imitation of French hand-made bobbin lace. Some of it is of very high quality and design.