Nottingham Lace Places Exhibition

To celebrate the importance of Nottingham lace on a global scale, we are showcasing some of Nottingham City Museums’ own collection of lace, as part of Nottingham Lace Places.

30th July ’22 – 30th October ’22


Book House Admission


Lace has long been a feature of our homes, our wardrobes, and the significant moments of our lives. But until the 1760s, it was made entirely by hand using time-consuming craft processes. It was a beautiful but expensive luxury, affordable only to the few. Then, Nottingham inventors began to adapt framework knitting machines (originally used for stockings) to create lace net. By the mid-19th century, Nottingham machines were making affordable, high quality, patterned lace to rival lace made by hand. Nottingham became the world centre of the machine-made lace trade.

This temporary exhibition, in a suite of intimate rooms at Newstead Abbey, offers you a taste of some of the treasures of Nottingham City Museums’ internationally important lace collection – and the stories behind them.

The exhibition includes contemporary responses to lace by artists Joy Buttress and Manolis Papastavrou, Lesley Farrell and Teresa Whitfield.

From the 15th to 30th October, visitors can also explore an exhibition of art created by students from Nottingham College, inspired by lace, its history and the lace collections at Newstead.

Standard House Admission

Price: Adults: £12, Kids Go Free (with each paid adult)

Book House Admission

Sneak peek from the exhibition


Small tatting motifs, 1955-1979

Displayed on a tablecloth made in Plauen, Germany, 1955-1965. The tablecloth was imported by Rolyat and Co. Ltd, St Mary’s Gate, Nottingham. Tatting is a type of handmade lace.

Nottingham City Museums’: [NCM_1999-84_10 (detail. with NCM_1979-3_17]


Lace panel, 1925

Made on a Leavers lace machine by Henry Mallett and Sons Ltd, Nottingham for the Industrial Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, Paris, 1925.

The panel has a repeating pattern of famous Parisian landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, beneath a burst of fireworks.

Nottingham City Museums’: [NCM_1966-165]


Evening dress, 1959 

Made from yellow Nottingham Leavers lace by Chanelle, St Aldates, Oxford. The end of wartime rationing in the 1950s prompted a fashion for fuller skirts, gathered in at the waist.

Nottingham City Museums’: [NLP_dress_NCM_1982-622]


Jacket, 1850-1860

Machine-made net, hand-embroidered by one of Nottingham’s many lace ‘runners’. These highly-skilled and poorly-paid women and girls worked long hours in rooms on the top floors of warehouses in Nottingham’s famous Lace Market, or in their own homes as ‘outworkers’.

Nottingham City Museums’: [NLP_jacket_NCM_1962-125]


Ceramics by Lesley Farrell

Hand-built using traditional coiling and pinch construction methods. Lesley applies layers of colour to the surface using lace fragments as stencils, over and under which she applies vitreous slips (liquified clay).

On loan from the artist.

Nottingham City Museums’: [NLP_Lesley Farrell ceramics]

Look out for details of creative workshops coming up during October half term:

Discover Nottingham Lace Places exhibition

Step inside Newstead Abbey’s Historic House each weekend to discover Nottingham Lace Places exhibition.

Price: Adults: £12, Kids Go Free (with each paid adult)

Book online in advance, or arrange on entry to the Historic House

Book House Admission

A big thank you to those involved in ensuring this exhibition can be put together to showcase Nottingham Lace.

Keep in touch

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest from Newstead Abbey straight to your inbox.