We have just been entrusted by a client to clean and restore an antique Donegal rug, designed by William Morris and valued well into 6 figures. Most people associate expensive handmade rugs with Persia and Afghanistan etc. and are little aware, that some of the most expensive rugs, can come from a lot closer to our shores. These rugs were produced in a town in County Donegal, Ireland. The rug measures 15ft x 12ft and we picked it up free of charge as part of our service, from just outside Edinburgh. It has the usual damage caused by years of vacuum cleaning or pets, namely fringes destroyed and the cords up either side are worn thin by rotary cleaners. Added to this, the rug had worn areas throughout its field, with holes in the foundation. Not unusual for rug of this age, circa 1900.
Finally and very sadly the carpet had had a massive chunk cut out of it. We were told that this was due to house staff keen to make the carpet fit into the fireplace. This required a new hand loom to be build around the damage, new foundations to be constructed and brand new knots to be woven on – exactly as originally done. This rug needs to be put through a dust extraction process, which knocks the heavy dust particles from the base of the rug that cause damage to the wool fibres, a moth treatment, a hand wash using organic shampoos, cold water and soft brushes and finally the foundation rebuilt and new wools coloured using traditional dyes and applied to the foundation in knots that match the original weave. The result will be, a rug that will no longer be fragile and coming to bits with a massive gaping wound, fraying badly and can be used again on a daily basis, instead of being rolled up and stored in a loft. When the work is complete by our weavers, we will return it to its owners who will, like all our clients, be delighted with the result and happy to be re acquainted with an old friend.
Replacement value of this piece post-restoration is well over £60,000.00