Windwardside, Saba

Beside exhibitions of antique Dutch tiles (1625 - 1800) and of antique books (1640-1777)
This part of the collections of Dutch Museum Saba shows handmade lace from between 1850 and 1930
all from the Netherlands, Belgium and France

More than 200 examples of Dutch lace have been identified
with help from Els Mommers and from Marie-Louise van Osch.

What is Lace?
Lace is a weave made entirely by the lace-worker. Close and open mesh-work interchanges in a greater or lesser degree, giving the lace a heavy or a fine appearance. In making lace the worker do~ not first take a piece of material to work on, but creates the weave with one or many threads. All openwork weaves that are crocheted, knitted or knotted including tatting which is worked with a spool, are lace products.

Needlepoint lace

To make needlepoint lace a pattern is drawn on parchment or dark paper; this drawing is sewn on to double linen which makes it easier to separate later on. Two threads are sewn along the edges of the ornament to attach the rows of stitches of flowers and leav~ and such motifs as well as ornamental stitches and background. When the lace is finished, the stitches fastening the outlining cord to the linen are cut away thus releasing the finished lace.

Bobbin lace

Bobbin lace is the fairy-like weave made with either silver, gold, linen, cotton, silk or wool thread, which is wound on bobbins. The drawing is attached to the pillow or cushion and the pins are then stuck through the drawing with the pillow, leaving half of each pin standing clear and forming the framework round which the thread is built up into lace. , Each pin remains in its place until a section of the pattern is completed, when the back pins are removed and replaced into the repeat part of the design so that the continuity is maintained.

There are many types of "lace" besides this more principal discussion about the definition in which has been stated as : "Lace is a weave made entirely by the lace-worke, classified by how they are made."

This more wide defintion includes all the following types:

A. Needle lace; B. Bobbin Lace; but also: C. Cutwork, or whitework; D. Tape lace; E. Knotted lace; F. Crocheted lace; G. Knitted lace; H. Guipure/ Filet lace. In several cases different techniques are combined with each other.

An image of working with Needle Lace in the past and nowadays

A.    Needle lace;

such as Kenmare Lace are made using a needle and thread.


This is the most flexible of the lace-making arts. While some types can be made more quickly than the finest of bobbin laces, others are very time-consuming. Some purists regard needle lace as the height of lace-making. The finest antique needle laces were [made] from a very fine thread that is not manufactured today.

Needle lace (also known as needlelace or needle-made lace) is a type of lace created using a needle and thread to stitch up hundreds of small stitches to form the lace itself.


In its purest form the only equipment and materials used are a needle, thread and scissors. This form of lace making originated in Armenia where there is evidence of a lace making tradition dating back to the pre-Christian era. Turkish needlelace is also very popular around the world. This form however arose separately from what is usually termed needlelace and is generally referred to as knotted lace. Such lace is very durable and will not unravel if one or more loops are broken.


Beginning in the 17th century in Italy, a variety of styles developed where the work is started by securing heavier guiding threads onto a stiff background (such as thick paper) with stitches that can later be removed. The work is then built up using a variety of stitches - the most basic being a variety of buttonhole or blanket stitch. When the entire area is covered with the stitching, the stay-stitches are released and the lace comes away from the paper. See reticella.


Needle lace is also used to create the fillings or insertions in cutwork.

Needle Lace types:

Punto in Aria · Point de Venise · Point de France · Point d'Alençon . Point de Rose · Point d'Argentan · Point d’Angleterre  · Point de Sedan · Argentella · Armenian · Halas lace · Hollie Point · Point de Gaze · Kenmare Lace · Limerick · Pag · Gros Point de Venise ·Youghal ·Lierse kant


Embroidered: Reticella · Buratto · Filet/Lacis · Ñandutí · Needlerun net · Tambour · Teneriffe

Cutwork: Battenberg · Broderie Anglaise · Carrickmacross ·Borduurwerk op tule


B. Bobbin Lace;
as the name suggests, made with bobbins and a pillow.






The bobbins, turned from wood, bone or plastic, hold threads which are woven together and held in place with pins stuck in the pattern on the pillow. The pillow contains straw, preferably oat straw or other materials such as sawdust, insulation styrofoam or ethafoam. Also known as Bone-lace. Chantilly lace is a type of bobbin lace.


Bobbin lace is a lace textile made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread, which are wound on bobbins to manage them. As the work progresses, the weaving is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placement of the pins usually determined by a pattern or pricking pinned on the pillow.


Bobbin lace is also known as pillow lace and bone lace, because early bobbins were made of bone[1] or ivory.


Bobbin lace is one of the two major categories of hand-made laces, the other being needlelace, derived from earlier cutwork and reticella

Kloskant :



 Mechels' Lace


Rijssels' Lace


Duchesse Lace


Brugs Flowerwork Lace


Binche Lace



Paris Lace

Chantilly Lace

Turnhouts' Lace

Brussels Duchesse

Flanders' Lace

Cluny Lace

Blonde Lace

Gold Lace

Kiskunhalas (Halasa-Lace)

Another (last) image of the making of real Bobbin Lace.


C. Cutwork, or whitework;

Cutwork or cut work is a needlework technique in which portions of a textile are cut away and the resulting "hole" is reinforced and filled with embroidery or needle lace.

Cutwork is a related to drawn thread work. In drawn thread work, typically only the warp or weft threads are withdrawn (cut and removed), and the remaining threads in the resulting hole are bound in various ways. In other types of cutwork, both warp and weft threads may be drawn.

Needlework styles that incorporate cutwork include Broderie Anglaise, Carrickmacross lace, whitework, and early reticella.


D.    Tape lace;

makes the tape in the lace as it is worked, or uses a machine- or hand-made textile strip formed into a design, then joined and embellished with needle or bobbin lace.

E.    Knotted lace; (Borduurwerk)

including macramé and tatting. Tatted lace is made with a shuttle or a tatting needle.

F.    Crocheted lace; (Haakwerk)

including Irish crochet, pineapple crochet, and filet crochet.Crochet lace is an application of the art of crochet. Generally it uses finer threads and more decorative styles of stitching - often with flowing lines or scalloped edges to give interest. Variation of the size of the holes also gives a piece a "lacy' look.

Originally crocheted lace was not regarded as true lace. Crocheting was considered easy and less time consuming, but otherwise clearly inferior surrogate for "true" lace such as bobbin lace, needle lace or netting. The first examples of crocheted lace try to reproduce the products of other lacemaking techniques as faithfully as possible. Later, the many possibilities and inherent beauty of crocheted lace were appreciated more.

Main styles of crocheted lace include filet crochet, Irish crochet and its modern derivatives, pineapple crochet. Freeform crocheted lace also exists, examples of which are pieces striving to imitate reticella lace.

G.    Knitted lace;

including Shetland lace, such as the "wedding ring shawl", a lace shawl so fine that it can be pulled through a wedding ring.

Lace knitting is a style of knitting characterized by stable "holes" in the fabric arranged with consideration of aesthetic value. Lace is sometimes considered the pinnacle of knitting, because of its complexity and because woven fabrics cannot easily be made to have holes. Some consider that "true" knitted lace has pattern stitches on both the right and wrong sides, and that knitting with pattern stitches on only one side of the fabric, so that holes are separated by at least two threads, is technically not lace, but "lacy knitting", although this has no historical basis.[1]

Eyelet patterns are those in which the holes make up only a small fraction of the fabric and are isolated into clusters (e.g., little rosettes of one hole surrounded by others in a hexagon).

At the other extreme, some knitted lace is almost all holes, e.g., faggoting. Famous examples include the wedding ring shawl of Shetland knitting, a shawl so fine that it could be drawn through a wedding ring. Shetland knitted lace became extremely popular in Victorian England when Queen Victoria became a Shetland lace enthusiast. From there, knitting patterns for the shawls were printed in English women's magazines where they were copied in Iceland with single ply wool.
Rectangular lace shawl on the needles. White threads ("lifelines") are strung through the pattern every twenty rows and will be removed upon completion.

Knitted lace with no bound-off edges is extremely elastic, deforming easily to fit whatever it is draped on. As a consequence, knitted lace garments must be blocked or "dressed" before use, and tend to stretch over time.

Some lace is distinguished by its shape and method. Faroese lace shawls are knit bottom up with center back gusset shaping unlike a more common neck down, triangular shawl.

H.    Guipure/ Filet lace :

The stitching area is stitched with embroidery threads that form a continuous motif. Afterwards, the stitching areas are removed and only the embroidery remains. The stitching ground is made of water-soluble or non heat-resistant material.

Filet lace (also known as Embroidery on Knotted Net, Lacis, Filet Brodé and Poinct Conté) is a needle lace created by darning on a ground of knotted net or netting.

As mentioned above Filet lace is created on a ground of knotted net. That ground can either be made by the lace maker or as of 2005 purchased commercially in either handmade or machine-made varieties.

Making the net by hand with a netting shuttle / needle and a gauge involves anchoring the piece, using either a heavy cushion (which Carità (1909) recommends be made of lead) or a stirrup around the workers foot. Having a secure anchor against which to maintain tension a square net is made starting from one corner and adding a new mesh on each row until the desired size is reached, then by decreasing. The individual meshes are formed on a gauge which helps ensure a uniform size and are created by knotting to a loop in the previous round.

The net to be worked on is then stretched taut on a frame and the decorative stitches applied.

Many designs involve blocking out the main design in linen stitch, indeed some designs consist entirely of linen stitch. This creates solid and open areas on the piece. Open areas in the design can then be decorated using a variety of other stiches.

Filet Lace is typically created in a single color of thread, usually white or ecru, but many countries have used colors.

I. Industrial, Machine-made lace;
Any style of lace created or replicated using mechanical means.
Quite some examples are shown in this exhibition just to show the variety (and also the beauty (even though it has not been handmade)

Thanks to not only Wikipedia but also to "Lace", written by .W. van der Meulen-Nulle, Universe Books Inc. New York

(the ambiance)

To give a first impression of the museum you may like to see the different rooms at a time when all lace was exhibited:
(click to enlarge)

room 1

room 2a

room 2b

room 3a

room 3b


(some examples of the 211 pieces)


Bobbin lace
Bobbin lace Point de Paris
Notted lace
Brugge Flower lace
Torchon lace
Lace de Cluny
Vol de vierge
Crotched work
Cutwork & Embroidery
Several types of industrial lace

(background info on the collection)


The collection is originates from the late mrs. Henriette Renée Caderius van Veen (1909-1941), her mother and her grandmother,
resp. mrs. A.J.C. (Nia) Caderius van Veen-Steenhoff (1888-1991) and mrs Johanna (Jeanne) Steenhoff-van der Feen (de Lille) (1856-1917)

Almost the whole collection has been packed in 1941 when Henriette Renée (Neek) died in 1941 because of a tumor.
At the exhibition you can even see where she stopped with her last lacework of frivolité.
Her mother did not like a possible lesbian relationship of her daughter.
In the hospital access by her best girlfriend had been forbidden and when it appeared that an operation was not possible
she came home and got the garden house behind the house as her last place.
All her letters to her girlfriend had been kept and also all letters from her girlfriend to her had been kept away.
Her own brother and sister collaborated in this and regretted that afterwards very much.
The collection has been moved by her mother at the occasion of an evacuation because the German army wanted to tear down the house
near the bridge of Arnhem over the river the Rhine.
(See the movie about the major error of general Montgomery: "One bridge too far")
The collection had not been unpacked until René Caderius van Veen, named after his late aunt by his father, had moved to Saba in 2011,
so about 70 years later.

Amost the complete collection is visible on this webpage by this link









Some other Saba-websites and- pages (all deleted) Some other websites