The Persian Carpet Studio
 
Monday to Saturday 10am - 5:30pm The Old White Hart, Long Melford, Suffolk CO10 9HX|01787 882214
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Restoring our heritage to its former glory

The restoration and cleaning of an Aubusson carpet circa 1600s from Houghton Hall in North Norfolk.

The Aubusson carpet is used in a room that is open to the public, therefore it was essential that the carpet was moved to our workshops while the house was closed for the winter period. The carpet was very fragile, and at 24’ long by 20’ wide it had to be very carefully transported and manoeuvred for repair.

After some time spent stabilising the carpet to prevent further damage, the next stage was to wash the carpet. Years of dirt and grime were lifted off to reveal the beautifully rich colours that had been hidden beneath.

Subsequently, there was a need to re-weave holes in the main field. Matching threads were sourced to replace broken foundations and colours were matched to recreate blocks of the weft-faced weave where it had worn away.

The sides of the Aubusson had worn through in some areas.  Many years ago, in an effort to protect them from further damage, the sides had been folded under. Unfortunately, where this had formed two layers, it was rapidly wearing through.

As there was considerable damage, the decision was taken to re-weave entire panels of the outer brown border. As large panels were involved this was carried out on a tapestry loom in order to match the tension under which it was originally woven. This procedure prevented any unevenness. The new panels were then attached to the carpet, creating a stable, functional edge.

Finally, the carpet, now clean and restored to its former glory, was re-laid in the room ready for visitors to the house to admire for many years to come.

Case studies

       
    Case studies

A dusty old floor covering has a shock value of £30,000
- don't throw away a fortune!

A private customer who had inherited the carpet with the house brought in the Zeigler carpet (pictured) to us. The previous owner did not have a high regard for the carpet so did not want the inconvenience of moving it.

The new owner brought the carpet in for some stabilising work on areas that were fraying and to turn it into a usable floor covering. They had no idea of its value. Original Zeiglers are highly sought after so to find one of this age (late 1800s) and in such good condition meant it had considerably more value than the customer realised.

If they were to try to replace it they would have had to spend around thirty thousand pounds. This shows that it is worth seeking the advice of a professional before throwing away what could be a priceless antique. On cleaning the carpet we re-discovered the jewel-like turquoise and red colouring that had been hidden for years.

     
   

Upon removing the dirt and dust it immediately became apparent why these carpets are so sought after. The designs of Ziegler carpets have influenced weavers throughout the world. There was some insect damage where parts of the carpet had been hidden under furniture and neglected for years; luckily this was reparable to an invisible mend. Fraying edges were stabilised to prevent the loss of knots turning rapidly into holes.

The carpet was placed back into the new owner's house becoming the main feature of a room rather than just the dusty old floor covering that it had been in the past.

 

The restoration, conservation and cleaning of an Heriz carpet, circa 1900, from St John’s College, Cambridge. 

The Green Room which houses the carpet is used on a daily basis, and is also an important room for functions held within the College.  We therefore made arrangements to carry out the work during the quieter summer period.

The carpet measuring 25’4” x 16’5” was lifted and moved to our workshops. We initially stabilised any fragile sections before beginning the cleaning process which involved dust removal, followed by surface wet cleaning.

The old securing stitch along the ends of the carpet had broken, resulting in threads unravelling, and sections of the pile pulling free.  The broken threads were removed, and the end stabilised, before securing both ends to prevent further deterioration.

The sides of the carpet were curling from an uneven tensioning of the weft threads when the carpet was originally woven.  The curling sides had created a raised level of carpet, resulting in accelerated wear to both the pile and the internal warp and weft foundation threads.  To restore the sides we replaced the damaged foundation threads, followed by matching wool to recreate the missing pile.  As the surrounding areas of carpet had quite low pile we decided to use an embroidery stitch rather than re-piling to reinstate the design.  This method of restoration sympathetically blended in with the overall appearance of the carpet, rather than standing out as a new repair.  The side cord binding was also replaced in areas, and the sides flattened to help prevent any further curling in the future.

Worn sections of pile across the main field of the carpet were repaired by reinstating the pattern using the embroidery stitch to cover and protect the internal foundation threads. 

Following the completion of work the Heriz carpet was re-laid in St Johns College, with an underlay to help minimise the direct impact on to the carpet.

 

The Green Room, St John's College