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Common Grounds

Project: Other


Common Grounds: Lace Drawn from the Everyday is a collaboration between artist Sarah Casey, The Bowes Museum and curator Annabel Talbot to bring to light hidden aspects of the internationally significant Blackborne Lace Collection, the whole of which was gifted to the Museum in 2006 by descendants of A Blackborne & Co, master lace dealers in 19th century London.

In addition to the main Blackborne collection, which is exceptional in its quality and quantity, the Museum received a secondary group of items, a ‘B’ collection. Unlike the main collection, which contains some of the finest surviving examples of handmade lace dating from the 16th century, the latter is the lace of ordinary people. Although some fragments of lace on the bonnets is close to 300 years old, it is uneven in quality consists of reworked fragments of lace from a range of sources. And it is these which inspired Casey’s exquisite, transparent drawings after she opened two unsorted trunks of stock from Blackborne’s shop, which had lain unexamined and overlooked for 70 years.

Over the past 2 years Casey worked with The Bowes Museum and expert on Blackborne Lace, Annabel Talbot, and began sorting through the bundled together articles, to explore how drawing can both examine unseen aspects of the collection. The result is a poetic record of 54 lace caps docuemnte through ‘hidden’ drawings which appear like x-rays or scans, revealed only when held up to the light .

This innovative approach to exhibiting aspects of the collection seeks to revalue this overlooked lace, bridging a gap between high art and everyday textiles of ordinary people.
Effective start/end date1/10/131/07/15
  • Casey, Sarah (Principal Investigator)
  • Talbot, Annabel (Co-Investigator)