Lace Christening Dress

The dress was made by Ann Rebecca Hassel, the wife of schooner Captain David Hope Hassell of Saba. The dress was sent to Mary Barnes on Barbados for the christening of her second daughter Adel. Many Sabans moved to Barbados to school their children in English when Dutch was made the official language in 1906. The Saba drawn-thread lace work is also known as 'Spanish work'. It was introduced to the island in the 1870s by Mary Gertrude Hassel, who had learned the art from Spanish nuns during her education as a young girl in a convent in Curacao or Caracas. It is assumed that the English dress material and embroidery thread was purchased on the nearby St.Kitts, a well-developed commercial center at that time.