Museo del Merletto

Lace Museum

The Burano Lace School

The Exhibition

March 1 > May 27, 2018
Burano, Lace Museum


The exhibition is designed to narrate the founding, crisis and relaunch of the Burano Lace School. At the end of the nineteenth century, enlightened aristocracy and government policies under the patronage of Queen Margherita of Savoy initiated  a project for the revival of Venetian lace by opening schools: the first in Burano in 1872, assisted by an elderly teacher, Cencia Scarpariola, and others  in Venice, on the coast and on the mainland. The lace patterns used were taken from established collections. All the various styles were reproduced, often with a technical precision superior to the original, but decorative innovation inspired by art nouveau and art deco designs remained limited. The activity continued for decades, thanks to generous commissions from the royal house and financial support from the Marcello family, but changing fashions and diminished financial resources in general, together with the tumultuous effect of the First World War, the tendency to produce only traditional designs, the high cost of handmade items and competition from other Italian lacemaking centres, frustrated every effort to prosper. In the 1970s the last schools and workshops began to close until, in 1981, an initiative by a consortium of public and private entities, together with the Adriana Marcello Foundation, opened the School Museum. This led to a series of successful themed exhibitions and, to prevent its extinction, the organisation of theoretical and practical courses on the art of Venetian and Burano lacemaking.