Rare lace, some dating back to the 1600s and never seen in public, is to go on show in Stourbridge from April 6th to June 21st, 2019. Alongside the traditional lace, the exhibition will also include colourful, contemporary lace by artist Ros Hills. The ‘Hidden in Stores’ exhibition, in association with the V&A, is generating much excitement in the UK lace making community. Hopefully, it will also bring a brand new audience to one of the most unique museums in the UK – the Lace Guild Headquarters  – located in Stourbridge in the West Midlands. Entry is FREE.

V & A Museums loans lace

For the exhibition, the Lace Guild and Museum has been lent 8 pieces of nationally and internationally-significant lace from the V&A in London. 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, and early 3D English needle lace.

“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 8 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” – Ann Day, Assistant Curator at the Lace Guild.

lace museum UK

Ros Hills: contemporary, colourful lace

The exhibition will also feature an exquisite lace purse by Ros Hills, one of the only contemporary lace makers to be held in the V&A Collection. Her work is unusually colourful for lace makers. When the V&A bought one of her pieces, Hills was finding it hard to be accepted or make headway in lace circles.

“I was making lace that was not white, its structure was not typical of the times. I had loose ends and unusual combinations of stitches.  I was interested in the exquisite detailing of ancient laces – for example Gros Point de Venise, a heavy sculptural lace made in 16th Century Venise – but wanted to make something new.

I spent my childhood in Iran and Iraq and the West Indies. My father was a civil engineer. We also visited Kashmir. I remember the beauty of its lakes and gardens, its flowers and mountains.

I believe that the bright and vibrant colours that surrounded me growing up in the Middle East have had a great influence on my work” – Ros Hills.

lace museum UK
I recommend  some of the best art and craft classes in Birmingham for you here

Learn to make lace

A series of lace-making workshops, ranging from beginners Bobbin Lace through to more specialised classes, will run alongside the exhibition. Workshops taught by national lace experts will take place on 11 and 12 May, 1 and 2 June, 8 and 9 June, 22 June.

Find out more/book here.

The Lace Guild 

The Lace Guild is the largest lace organisation in the United Kingdom. Since 2009 it’s also become a museum, with a large collection of lace and artefacts exhibited in 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.


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.

Address: 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.

Entry is FREE. 

Hidden in Stores is an Arts Council England funded exhibition through the Ready to Borrow Scheme.

With thanks to Louise Palfreyman for her interview with Ros Hills and letting me know about this exhibition.

Ruth x

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