The Niven family of Knightsbridge (SW7 area), contacted our London office in Battersea to see if they could have a very large Antique Persian Kashan rug repaired. Having sat in their living room for over 30 years at the family home, the rug was suffering badly from wear. Much of the wool piled field had become threadbare, and the pile had been reduced to the cotton warp and weft foundation. The fringes were coming away at both ends and needed fringe repair, with the knots untying and receding into the patterns of the pile. Cording down both sides was also beginning to come away. This urgently needed repaired by our specialist rug repair team in London.
Despite regular hoovering, it is impossible to clean a rug properly without dust extracting. Dust finds it’s way deep into the rugs cotton foundation and begins to act like sandpaper to the knots and very structure of the materials throughout the piece. Once this sand like substance begins to wear away at the wool and cotton, the knots are far easier undone which greatly decreases the rugs rigidity and structure. Combine this with frequent footfall, rugs such as the Niven’s Kashan can age fast and reach a stage where extensive repairs are needed.
Once we had the rug back to our North London workshop, we got to work straight away in dust extracting and hand washing using only cold water along with vegetable shampoos. This allows our Iranian and Afghani repairers to see the full extent of the damage to the rug and begin to colour match new wools for restoration work. Going ahead with any rebuilding or reweaving prior to a thorough hand wash, could mean that dyes are incorrectly matched to a dirty pile, resulting in patchy and inconsistent repair work.
Seeking a full restoration, the Niven family were happy to go ahead with rebuilding of the rug from foundation to pile. This process is extremely time consuming and can only be carried out through traditional methods to maintain the authenticity of an antique piece. The wool must be colour matched and dyed using the same vegetable dyes that will have been used when the rug was originally woven. In addition to keep the rug appearing consistent throughout, the exact same knots must be utilized to assure that any new areas are properly bound to the old. This guarantees that the reconstructed areas will not fall away in the future and allows the piece to be used as it was before.
The full rebuild took over 5 months to complete. Anything less than these time scales would require cutting corners and not giving such a valuable piece the time and attention to detail that it deserves. The Oriental Rug Repair Company never employ commercial cleaning or use machines in the restoration techniques on handmade, vegetable dyed pieces. Colour run, damage to knotting and de-valuing is commonplace in the industry and we strive to provide confidence to our clients that traditional methods are always used.
We delivered Mr and Mrs Niven’s rug back to them in excellent condition. The new wool pile colours blended seamlessly into the older areas. The wool now stood tall and lifted from the dust extraction/hand wash, leaving the pattern looking alive and deep in colour and contrast.
Thanks again to the Niven family for their custom, it’s hugely appreciated from all at the Oriental Rug Repair Company.