Saturday, 10 August 2013

Isaack Luttichuys and Flemish Bobbin Lace

Isaack Luttichuys, Portrait of Young Woman with
Ostrich Feather in her hand, 1656
I just found this lovely painting by Isaack Luttichuys, (1616, London – 1673, Amsterdam), in the collection of the the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I am off to The Netherlands next week and will be visiting the Rijksmuseum a few times. I hope this painting will be on display. It is by a fairly unknown 'society' painter, Isaak Luttichuys who came to The Netherlands in the early seventeenth century. He was the son of Dutch parents, born in London, but moved to Holland at an early age. Very little is known about his life, training or career.

The hugely detailed manner in which he painted the woman's lace collar is truly beautiful. The Flemish bobbin lace is painted in the not uncommon way of scratching out the white paint with the back of a brush into the wet paint, thereby revealing the darker layers underneath. Rembrandt used a similar manner to paint bobbin lace. The density of the lace made this method quite suitable as painting every thread of lace would be more work than painting the 'gaps' (negative space) in between. As a lace painter, I know how difficult it is to stick to the pattern of the lace and maintain the correct rhythm in scale and pattern. Although there is a slightly lack of plasticity in the lace on the woman's body, the intricacy and detail of the lace is impressive and very beautiful.
A piece of lace from the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows the type of lace used in these collars. A Flemish bobbin lace (made with bobbins and basically a type of weaving, in contrast to needle lace wich stems from embroidery) from the mid 17th century with extensive and dense flower patterns.

17th Century Flemish Bobbin Lace fragment. Metropolitan Museum of Art
In a few days I am flying off the Then Netherlands. I hope to spend lots of time at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Frans Hals Museum and I'll fit in a visit to Belgium where I'll attend the annual Lace Days in the centre of town and at the local Lace Museum.

Flemish Bobbin Lace, 1650-80.

The renewed Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I can't wait to visit. Its been a long time.

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