English

england_432582Knotted pile carpet weaving technology probably came to England in the early 16th century with Flemish Calvinists fleeing religious persecution. Because many of these weavers settled in South-eastern England in Norwich the 14 extant 16th and 17th century carpets are sometimes referred to as “Norwich carpets.” These works are either adaptations of Anatolian or Indo-Persian designs or employ Elizabethan-Jacobean scrolling vines and blossoms. All but one are dated or bear a coat of arms. Like the French, English weavers used the symmetrical knot. There are documented and surviving examples of carpets from three 18th-century manufactories: Exeter (1756–1761, owned by Claude Passavant, 3 extant carpets), Moorfields (1752–1806, owned by Thomas Moore, 5 extant carpets), and Axminster (1755–1835, owned by Thomas Whitty, numerous extant carpets). Exeter and Moorfields were both staffed with renegade weavers from the French Savonnerie and, therefore, employ the weaving structure of that factory and Perrot-inspired designs. Neoclassical designer Robert Adam supplied designs for both Moorfields and Axminster carpets based on Roman floor mosaics and coffered ceilings. Some of the most well-known rugs of his design were made for Syon House, Osterley House, Harewood House, Saltram House, and Newby Hall. Axminter carpet was a unique floor covering made originally in a factory founded at Axminster, Devon, England, in 1755 by the cloth weaver Thomas Whitty. Resembling somewhat the Savonnerie carpets produced in France, Axminster carpets were symmetrically knotted by hand in wool on woolen warps and had a weft of flax or hemp. Like the French carpets, they often featured Renaissance architectural or floral patterns; others mimicked oriental patterns. Similar carpets were produced at the same time in Exeter and in the Moorfields section of London and, shortly before, at Fulham in Middlesex. The Whitty factory closed in 1835 with the advent of machine-made carpeting. The name Axminster, however, survived as a generic term for machine-made carpets whose pile is produced by techniques similar to those used in making velvet or chenille.Axminster carpet has three main types of broadloom carpet construction in use today (machine woven, tufted & hand knotted). Machine woven carpet is an investment that will last 20 or 30 years and woven Axminster and Wilton carpets are still extremely popular in areas where longevity and design flexibility are a big part of the purchasing decision. Hotels and leisure venues almost always choose these types and many homes use woven Axminsters as design statements. Machine woven carpets like Axminster and Wilton are made by massive looms that weave together ‘bobbins’ of carpet yarn and backing. The finished result, which can be intricately patterned, creates a floor that provides supreme underfoot luxury with high performance. Tufted carpets are also popular in the home. They are relatively speedy to make – a pre-woven backing has yarns tufted into it. Needles push the yarn through the backing and which is then held in place with underlying “loopers”. Tufted carpets can be twist pile, velvet, or loop pile. Twist pile carpets are produced when one or more fibres are twisted in the tufting process, so that in the finished carpet they appear to be bound together. Velvet pile carpets tend to have a shorter pile and a tighter construction, giving the finished article a smooth, velvety appearance. Loop pile carpets are renowned for being hard wearing and lend carpets great texture. The traditional domain of rugs from far away continents, hand knotted squares and rugs use the expertise of weavers to produce work of the finest quality. Traditional rugs often feature a deliberate ‘mistake’ on behalf of the weaver to guarantee their authenticity. Six of Axminster carpets are known as the “Lansdowne” group. These have a tripartite design with reeded circles and baskets of flowers in the central panel flanked by diamond lozenges in the side panels. Axminster Rococo designs often have a brown ground and include birds copied from popular, contemporary engravings. Even now a large percentage of the 55,000 population town still seek employment in this industry. The town of Wilton, Wiltshire is also known for its carpet weaving, which dates back to the 18th century.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>