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THE COLLECTIONExplore the collection

Costume, lace and accessories

A wide-ranging collection with an 18th-century French focus. Significant collection of 600 18th-century European buttons in a variety of materials. Venetian, Brussels and Alençon lace of the 17th , 18th and 19th centuries. Fans and some items of clothing.

Baroness Edmond de Rothschild collected virtually all of the objects in this category. They range from the 17th to the 19th centuries, but most mirror the 18th-century French focus of the Waddesdon collection and reflect a fashionable collecting pursuit for late-19th-century women. Baroness Edmond’s interest extended beyond the historical aspect of collecting; she also enjoyed wearing fancy dress and used pieces of her collection in creating the costumes, while many of the buttons were sewn onto her dresses and coats.

There are nearly 600 buttons (in 61 sets) from across Europe and made from a variety of materials including metal, mother-of-pearl, enamel and ceramic; some manufactured and others hand painted. The lace, predominantly designed to be worn, comes from the principal centres of production in Italy (Venice), Belgium (Brussels) and France (Alençon). Fans include some extravagant 19th-century examples as well as 18th-century ones painted with charming scenes.