Saturday, 20 August 2022

Textile Details

'Tapelace centrepiece' Used by the Herzfeld family. (Photo: Breege Doherty)
'Tapelace centrepiece' Used by the Herzfeld family. (Photo: Breege Doherty)


Title of Textile:Tape lace centrepiece
Maker: The Herzfeld family
Country of Origin: Austria Hungarian Empire
Year Produced: 1905
Size (cm): 31 cm square
Materials: linen and cotton
Type of Textile: Memorabilia

This tape lace centrepiece, traditionally used under a crystal vase, was made by the Herzfeld family in 1905. Somehow it remained intact when the family was transported to a concentration camp in 1941 and when they journeyed to the refugee camp in Naples in 1945. Eva Herzfeld and her mother brought it with them in 1948 as they travelled by ship, with other Red Cross refugees, to Argentina and Chile.

It was retrieved from the apron pocket of the family’s Chilean nanny and brought to London in the late 1990s and later to Northern Ireland in 2004.

This well travelled centrepiece, made with skill and care, as a form of decoration, is now over 100 years old. Its transnational journey, from table to pocket to trunk, at times pristine, at times crumpled, at times in danger of being cast aside, is multilayered. Now intact, this small linen square prompts reflection on the journey and experiences of the Bacic - Herzfeld family, and countless other families, historical and current, as they adapt(ed) to life as inmates, refugees and immigrants.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Breege Doherty

Textile Detail Image(s)