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The Lennox Point Tresse

Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, 1515-1578. Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, 1515-1578.

The Lennox point tresse is a small example of point tresse (hair lace) said to be made by Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-1578) from her own hair. She was the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

According to the Inventoire de differentes Broderies et Ouvrages de Marie Stuart, Chartley, le 18 Juillet, 1586, there was “un petite quarré fait à point tresse ouvré la vielle Comptesse de Lennox elle estant à la Tour” among the possessions of Mary Stuart (Labanoff, vol. VII, supplement, p. 240) ['a little square of hair lace worked by the old Countess of Lennox while in the Tower'].

It would appear that in 1574 Lady Lennox was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Queen Elizabeth I. During her imprisonment, Lady Lennox made a small square of point tresse out of her grey hair. This was then sent to Mary, Queen of Scots as a "token of her sympathy and affection." According to the story, Mary treasured this small piece of lace. What is certain is that this piece was recorded in the Chartley Inventory of Mary’s possessions while staying at Chartley Manor, Staffordshire (England) between 1585-1586. What susequently happened to this example of point tresse is unknown.

Sources:

  • EARNSHAW, Pat (1984). A Dictionary of Lace, Aylesbury: Shire Publications Ltd, p. 77.
  • LABANOFF, Prince Alexandre (1844). Inventoire de differentes Broderies et Ouvrages de Marie Stuart, Chartley, le 18 Juillet, 1586, vol. VII, supplement, p. 240.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 9th July 2016).

GVE

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 19:12