We recently restored a large antique Chinese carpet for a client in the Pimlico (SW1V) postcode area. The client came to us after inheriting the carpet from her parents in mainland Europe. The carpet is a stunning example of a rare Chinese/Peking carpet, pure wool pile, cotton warp and weft foundations and natural dyes in ivory, blues, yellows and pinks rose motifs.
The carpet was in need of significant restoration. As it dates back well over 100 years it required very delicate restoration. Before we could analyse the rug properly, we took to along to our workshop in central London and hung the piece up to allow the natural light to shine through – this gave us an indication of the weakest areas of the carpet which would need extensive strengthening and re-piling.
Once our analysis was complete, we called the client and proposed a number of different options, from securing and prevention repair – to full restoration and repair, returning the piece to as near to its original glory as humanly possible. The client opted to have the full restoration of the carpet – a good choice in our opinion to restore their precious heirloom.
We firstly removed all the old rug repairs which had been done throughout the years – some better than others. We then matched wools with our stock wools, being careful to match the blues and ivories with antique wools that we keep in stock.
We then carefully built hand looms around each section of the rug which needed extensive repair. We re-built the cotton foundations first – ensuring the tensions were maintained and the base ready for re-weaving. Sections were then re-knotted by hand, using exactly the same method and knot as used originally to weave this beautiful carpet. Each section was re-built carefully, adding new wools and shaving the knots down to match the existing pile depth. We created some new fringes for the rug and removed some colour rug which had bled into the field of the rug.
The work took us approximately 4 months to complete. We estimated 3.5 months in total, however the extensive re-piling required further work, as did the strengthening of the foundations throughout. Once completed we delivered the piece back the client and supplied a good non-slip rug underlay to hold the piece in place and protect it from the footfall. Delivering the rug back in central London, our clients had purchased beautiful antique furniture to match the carpet. It looked simply delightful!
Many thanks again to our client – this was a project that we thoroughly enjoyed. Once the room is finished, we will post pictures of the piece on the gallery section of our website and re-post this article.