[Fr. point d’Alençon]
Type of lace produced in France. In 1675 a group of 30 Venetian lacemakers was settled in the Norman town of Alençon by Jean-Baptiste Colbert (Louis XIV’s minister of finance). The Venetians instructed local needlewomen in point de Venise, but by the 1690s the distinctive local style known as point d’Alençon had emerged (see alsoLace §2, (iii), §2(iii)). Needlewomen adopted the net ground technique, and invented a series of new stitches.
Lace production was halted at the Revolution because of its association with the ancien régime, but revived under Napoleon (reg 1804–14) and again under the Second Empire. Lace is still produced in Alençon, supported by the Atelier National du Point d’Alençon founded in 1976, and there are good collections of Alençon lace in the Musée de la Dentelle au Point d’Alençon and the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle.
The term point d’Alençon now denotes a style as well as a place of origin. The style is characterized by a uniform mesh (called the ...