Hidden in Stores Lace from the V&A’s Collection @WeAreBCR

Rare lace, some dating back to the 1600s and never seen in public, is to go on show in Stourbridge on April 6.

The Lace Guild and Museum has been lent eight pieces of nationally and internationally-significant lace from the V&A in London.

The Hidden in Stores exhibition will see pieces stored in national museum archives reach a wider audience, generating much excitement in the UK lace making community.

The exhibits include: a rare coloured Honiton shawl, rumoured to have been on show at the Great Exhibition of 1851; exquisite examples of Milanese lace; early 3D English needle lace; and a purse by Ros Hills, one of the only contemporary lace makers to be held in the V&A Collection.

Ann Day, Assistant Curator at the Lace Guild, said: ‘We will have some amazing lace in the exhibition. Some pieces have never been out on display, and others have probably not been seen at a public exhibition for at least 50 years.

‘We are delighted the V&A has agreed to lend us these eight pieces, allowing significant exhibits to reach a new audience. In addition to the V&A lace, we will be exhibiting lace from the nationally-renowned Spriggs Collection, which is currently on loan to us.

‘We hope that through the Hidden in Stores exhibition, many new visitors to our museum in Stourbridge will discover lace and its fascinating history.’

The oldest V&A piece is a scalloped lace collar dated from around 1630, and the exhibition will also feature a contemporary purse made in the 1980s. A series of lace making workshops, ranging from beginners Bobbin Lace through to more specialised classes, will run alongside the exhibition.

The Lace Guild is a small independent accredited Museum run entirely by volunteers from a Victorian building in Stourbridge. The Hollies houses a collection of more than 16,000 artefacts.

Founded more than 40 years ago, the Guild collects both antique and contemporary lace and works to keep lace making alive as a registered education charity and membership organisation.

Hidden in Stores is part of Arts Council England’s Ready to Borrow scheme where regional museums can apply to exhibit items from national collections. So far, the fund has helped nine museums in the Midlands with investments totalling nearly £700,000.

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “It’s great to see these rare examples of lace from the V&A being shared with the Lace Guild here in the Midlands, allowing more people to enjoy and experience pieces from national museum stores.’

The V&A houses one of the world’s leading art, design and performance collections.

A spokesperson said: ‘The V&A lends to more UK partners than any other museum and in doing so we seek to promote, support and develop the UK creative economy by inspiring designers and makers, and by stimulating enjoyment and appreciation of design.’

The Lace Guild is open Wednesday to Saturday, apart from Bank Holidays, during the exhibition. Hidden in Stores opens on April 6 and runs until June 21.

Notes to Editors

If you would like to cover the Private View on the evening of April 5, or need to request additional images or interviews, please contact Louise on 07808 829390. The Private View guest list includes the Mayor of Stourbridge, Margot James MP, and a V&A representative.

Other media opportunities include:

Museums at Night at the Lace Guild, date tbc.

Workshops taught by national lace experts on 27 April, 11 and 12 May, 1 and 2 June, 8 and 9 June, 22 June, at the Red Cone (Sat nav DY8 4AZ), plus 15 and 16 June at the White Cone (DY8 4FB).

A quarterly lace identification day in May, where a member of museum team will be available to consult with about lace owned or made by members of the public.

The total awarded to Midlands museums by ACE’s Ready to Borrow scheme is £694,800.

Key Facts:

  • The Lace Guild is the largest lace organisation in the United Kingdom.
  • It is an Accredited Museum(since 2009) with a large collection of lace and artefacts.
  • It produces two quarterly magazines, ‘Lace‘ and ‘Early Days in Lacemaking‘.
  • It publishes booksof lace techniques and patterns and has a large library.
  • It runs courses and workshops throughout the UK and organises exhibitions


Website and Social Media:

Twitter: @TheLaceGuild
Facebook: @thelaceguild

Directions: The Lace Guild, The Hollies, 53 Audnam, Stourbridge, DY8 4AE. You can park behind The Hollies or get off the bus almost outside. The Lace Guild is down the road from the Red House Glass Cone and the Ruskin Centre, situated in the Black Country’s Glass Quarter.

About the V&A:

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity, spanning 5000 years of human creativity. It was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, its purpose is to champion creative industry, inspire the next generation, and spark everyone’s imagination.


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