Rug Origins: English Rugs

Harewood House in West Yorkshire, England

English rugs began production around the late 16th century and early 17th Century. Central areas for their creation were located in Axminster, Wilton, and Kidderminster. Characteristic patterns on these antique rugs include deep golden colors, asymmetrical schemes, coat of arms designs and adaptations of blossoms and vines. The English love of flower gardens is reflected in the rug designs of Britain. These English carpets were composed of commonly diverse variations of Indian carpets, Persian rugs, and Turkish carpets.

Rug weaving began to grow around this time and England was starting to gain acknowledgment for their skills in this trade. Although, the popularity remained in painted ceilings throughout English homes many began to create carpets that complimented these ceiling paintings.

Kidderminster rugs are a reversible flat weave carpets that gained popularity in the 18th century, designed to turn over the rug is one side is too worn or soiled. This method of carpeting has no pile and the pattern shows opposing colors on both sides.

Axminster rugs are the main carpet of Kidderminster today, however it did not make its arrival until the late 19th century. Chenille Axminsters, were developed in 1839 by James Templeton of Glasgow. These were originally hand knotted pieces that are no longer found anywhere. A later creation, Spool and gripper Axminsters were made of a resilient machine woven carpet with a thick pile. These can still be found in mass quantities usually in hotels, restaurants and some residences. William Morris and C.F.A. Voysey were among the famous designers who drew patterns for Axminster carpets.

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