Lace-making developed in England during the 16th century in response to the growth in personal wealth and to changes in fashionable dress. Needle lace, still then seen as a branch of embroidery, was made in professional workshops in London. But through the teaching of embroidery as a domestic skill with needle lace stitches in the repertoire, lace was also made at home, for the decoration of household linen, clothing and other objects. This piece may have been made as a border for a decorative cover.
Design & Designing
The most popular subjects for the needlework pictures and other types of object to which this lace is related, were scenes from the Old Testament of the Bible and classical mythology, as well as abundant plant and animal life. This piece includes various motifs which the maker would have found in pattern books and which could have also been used for embroidery.
This border shows Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. In the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, they are the original human couple, parents of the human race. Alongside them, Cupid, the pagan god of love, is firing his bow and arrow to ensnare a lady, who may be identified by her crown as a queen or princess.