They could be mistaken for photographs. Teresa Whitfield's drawings of historic lace are so precisely done, it is difficult to believe that she produced them with only a pen in her hand.
Teresa studies historic lace from museum collections across the UK, including Nottingham Castle Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Bath Museum of Fashion and the Bronte Parsonage Museum. By drawing these pieces, Teresa brings attention to the demise of the hand-made lace industry, while challenging preconceived ideas about lace. Her attention to detail is similar to that which the lace-makers themselves must have had, using only their hands and age-old techniques to create the most intricate designs. As such, Teresa's drawing is almost forensic in its precision.
Now, a new drawing of Teresa's is about to be shown for the first time at Killerton House, Exeter this February; the drawing, entitled ‘Richard Shops Blue Lace Dress’, is a life-size depiction of a long 1970’s dress from the Killerton costume archive and took more than two years to complete. It will be on display at Killerton for nine months (curated by Shelley Tobin). Teresa came across the dress while researching lace in the Killerton House costume collection and was intrigued by the sheer complexity of the construction of the fabric.
In the Spring, a second new drawing, entitled ‘Blue Lace Blouse’, will be exhibited at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. This drawing features a 1960’s sleeveless lace blouse which is part of the RAMM costume archive.
Blog post by Jessica Edney