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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Victorian Broekie Lace

On a sunny winter's day, I drive into Darling. Here, away from the ocean, the blue colour of the sky seems more intense. The homes in the older Victorian residential area are a joy to behold and I park here and there to take a walk. A profusion of foliage and deep dark verandas contrast with the light white walls and iron fretwork on some of the stoeps. This is overfeed of the senses and I realise that it is going to very difficult to condense this town into just a few paintings!

Victorian homes are relics from a time when curliqued designs and filigree castings were very popular. All hardware, including molded metal ceilings were made possible by the inventions of the Industrial Age. While Australians call the cast iron fretwork on verandas "Adelaide Lace", in South Africa, and I believe only here, we call it "broekie lace". Please, please do not translate this word as "panty lace" as it had nothing to do with such garments! I will explain:

Looking at pictures of Victorian ladies and little girls from about 1850 onwards, you will notice that they wore crinolene dresses in those days. A crinolene was a very wide dress kept wide with a petticoat with 8 hoops ranging from small around the waist to very wide at the bottom. These dresses could be lifted easily by the wind, thus long linen pantaloons underneath were a necessity. It was considered very dainty if young girls' pantaloons were slightly longer than the dresses and decorated with delicate lace. In Afrikaans, pants, jeans, pantaloons, everything is plainly called "broek". And the metal lace work on the veranda? Broekie lace!


  1. Hi Marie, and what a wonderful depiction of the old Victorian house! The gate is an open invitation to enter and have a peek inside. Lovely painting.



  2. This is such a beautiful painting, Marie!

  3. This painting is exquisite! You have marvelously captured the atmosphere of these wonderful victorian houses and laces!


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