|Full length muslin cornelli screening a blank wall.|
The machine that made them was probably called a Cornely and these dainty patterns come in huge variety - some graceful and delicate in design, others with bolder geometric and heavier borders, possibly of a later date, but most date from late 19C. I am going to investigate Bath Textile Dept. at the college to see the machine working, as they have two, I believe. The curtains were of course made to keep out prying eyes but more especially to keep out the sun and the dust from the unmade-up roads outside the bourgeois houses which caused much damage and distressed the precious silks and velvets of the well-furnished house. Washing these nets is quite a skilled job - sometimes they are quite rotten and disintegrate as you immerse them in water, and any weight or strain can cause them to 'flake', so examine the fabric well before buying, and inspect for tiny pinholes which may be the start of weak patches that wreck the netting; so negociate the buying price accordingly!