Maltese Lace: Fit for A Princess

As most people around the world know, last month the youngest member of the British Royal Family was christened amidst a lot of fanfare in England. Undoubtedly Princess Charlotte has received a shower of gifts from all over the world, including from Malta.

Last week, almost a month after the official christening, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle presented the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a traditional Maltese lace summer blanket on behalf of the Maltese public.

The design for the blanket was adapted from old, traditional patterns. The centre piece was worked using the English stitch with sprays of small flowers and leaves scattered on it. The eight-pointed Maltese Cross is also included in the centre of the blanket. Another feature of the blanket are the Princess’ initials CED – Charlotte Elizabeth Diana - that are monogrammed on the blanket. The lace used is fine pure silk ordered from silk manufacturers in the UK. 

Dating back to the reign of the Knights of Malta the traditional Maltese lace started off as an embellishment for the clothing of aristocrats and other nobles. It is said Princess Charlotte’s ancestor, Queen Victoria, was particularly fond of wearing Maltese lace and often ordered items of clothing to be made with the objective of encouraging the re-emergence of the art of lace-making and “so that the poor would be able to obtain a modicum of enjoyment from their lives”.

Maltese lace, or bizzilla as it is known locally, is created using a pillow stuffed with straw and the lace-maker uses bobbins to make the lace. Maltese lace is said to be a direct descendant of Genoese lace. Historically it was made of black or white silk, although nowadays ivory coloured linen is used more. Bizzilla can be distinguished through its own character and is often highlighted by the presence of the Maltese Cross.

Want to know more about the the best places to find Maltese Lace, or any other information about traditional crafts in Malta? Feel free to drop us a line drop us a line.


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