Those of us of a “certain age” know aprons as a sometimes pretty, but basically utilitarian, item of clothing meant to keep the dress underneath clean. Aprons stood laundering better than period dresses and there were thousands of these worn in earlier centuries. There were, however, some aprons that were strictly made and worn as an accessory and served no practical purpose at all.
In the 18th century they often had a “bib” and were known as pinners because pins were used to hold the bib in place. They could be as sheer as dragonfly wings or of more substantial fabric depending on their intended use. The dressy ones might be embroidered or done up in white work.
Such embroidery work and fine sewing were suitable for ladies to do in a social setting while actually sewing a common garment was not. The difference was that embroidery and white work were skills a lady was expected to possess and the items they produced were, in essence, works of art.
Perhaps these originals will inspire someone to recreate one of these exquisite pieces.