According to leading lace scholar, Pat Earnshaw, there is little evidence of lace before the 16th century. Lace has a storied history of having both ecclesiastical and secular purposes. The secular use of lace was subjected to the ephemeral nature of fashion, and for this reason, there is a great array of designs and techniques that have been developed over the years, and even more styles developed based on the region of manufacture.
In the early 19th century, several styles of machine lace were developed, which allowed for mass production and lower costs. The influx of lace resulted in a resurgence of preference for the art form, and Earnshaw noted a large revival in handmade lace between 1840 and 1890. However, these works had a hard time competing with the cost and time efficient machine-made work.