Downton Lace: A History

Title: Downton Lace: A History of lace making in Salisbury and the surrounding area.

Authors: Susan Hartley and Pompi Parry.

Language: English

19 pages, softcover, 1991. Published by Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

Out-of-print but available second-hand.

ISBN 0 947535 13 4.

Language: English.

A slim and professionally-produced history of lace in and around Salisbury (including Downton, Alderbury and Redlynch) Wiltshire, from around 1560.

Black-and-white photos (including 19th-century prickings, bobbins, pillow, named and unnamed lace patterns, lacemakers including Bertha Kemp and the late Edith Purkess, the last lacemaker of the Old Downton Lace Industry). Notes on lace pillows, Downton bobbins, threads and patterns.

The book is particularly useful for anyone studying the history of English regional laces. The information elaborates on the short introductions in lace making books by Bertha Kemp and Janet Stukins.

Lace makers working in Downton Lace (and by inference Malmesbury Lace from north Wiltshire since they are indistinguishable) will benefit from having many unique features and characteristics explained, e.g., the tradition of displaying white lace on a lilac background. The book also fleshes out the background of lace makers instrumental in the revival of the lace in the 20th century, e.g., Bertha Kemp (see her definitive book on the style) and Edith Purkess (who donated her Downton lace materials to the Christopher Tower Reference Library, New Forest Heritage Centre).

Rod, 7/11/20