A highly detailed white ink drawing on grey paper of three different types of hand-made Downton lace.

Kim Chittick - Exhibitions Officer, Salisbury Museum

"Teresa Whitfield’s work offers an immersive experience to our visitors. Through her intricate drawing process, she brings the minutiae of lace construction into sharp focus. It is a fusion of illusion and historical reality that actively invites the viewer to participate in a game of comparison between the ink drawing and the lace itself. And Whitfield’s work is not just about the beauty of the lace. It is about appreciating and researching the past to bring it alive in the present, in a way that modern audiences can appreciate and relate to. As a Museum, that is exactly what we want to do to – delve into the stories of the past and bring them alive.

Our Downton Lace Collection represents a fascinating real-life tale of passion: a story of a few local women striving against the odds to keep alive a once-thriving industry. In contrast to the prevalence of the lace-making industry in England in the 1700s, by the early nineteenth century changing fashions and advancing technology were having a detrimental impact on the demand for lace; time-consuming and specialised, hand crafted lace was slight competition in the face of the machine-made variety. Determined to preserve the legacy of this ephemeral and transient craft, the prickings, lace and records were passed into the safekeeping of The Salisbury Museum.

Within the permanent displays, visitors have been able to appreciate the beauty of the lace, but Whitfield has offered it up in a new perspective, from a different angle, using a traditional medium to explore an historic object in a modern way. I believe that, through Whitfield’s drawings, our visitors will come to a more informed understanding of the dedication and talent of the Downton lace makers, and the perseverance of the local community to hold on to their heritage."