PARASOLE, Elisabetta Catanea
(b. ca. 1565, Roma, d. 1625, Roma)

Il Teatro delle nobili et virtuose donne

Printed book, folio size 220 x 280 mm
Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge

Il Teatro is the most popular of Parasole's lace pattern books which went into multiple editions between 1616 and 1636. The 1620 edition was dedicated to Olimpia Aldobrandini, whose coat of arms is engraved into the frontispiece. The entire title of the book is the following: Il Teatro delle nobili et virtuose donne: dove si rappresentano varii disegni di lavori; nuovamente inventati et disegnati da Elisabetta Cattanea Parasole.

Parasole's woodcarvings were unique for her time period in that Parasole used a dark background for the designs. This was created by carving the lace design into the wood block rather than carving away everything but the lace. The overall effect was that the white lines of the lace against the dark background mirrored the delicate appearance of the actual fabric.