Lace has been described as 'plain or ornamental net-work, consisting of a thread or folds of flax, cotton, silk gold or silver; interwoven drawn, platted, looped or twisted so as to form a beautiful texture'.1 In the trade the words 'lace1 and 'net' are often used interchangeably, though the latter usually implies a plain mesh. But 'lace' always follows a pattern: 'without a pattern or design the fabric of lace cannot be made'.2 Handmade needlepoint lace originally involved a parchment pattern attached to two pieces of linen which provided outlines to be edged with buttonhole stitching or some variation of this technique; pillow-made lace employed a similar pattern device, but pricked this out with pins to guide the threads on a pad, cushion or pillow. Such techniques were widely applied in Europe by the sixteenth century and practised as a cottage industry in Ireland and English country districts. In the seventeenth century 'bone (or pillow) lace' was made in Buckinghamshire, Hertforshire and Bedforshire and in 1724 Defoe refers to production in which the villagers were 'wonderfully exercised and improved in the few years past'/ Good lace was also being made in Devonshire in the eighteenth century.