News. The intricate Axminster Carpet

14th of December, 2017

When you enter the Blue Drawing room make sure to stop and look down at the pattern of exotic blooms, woven into the Axminster carpet blanketing the floor. This vast swathe of delicate handiwork stands as one of the earliest documented carpets created by esteemed cloth weaver Thomas Whitty of Axminster, who founded his namesake carpet-manufacturing venture in 1755.

“The 5th Earl probably favoured a Whitty carpet for several reasons,” mentions Head Guide Alex Macdonald, “[Whitty’s] carpets were of a quality equal to his competitors but at a much more attractive price. The carpets made by Thomas Moore, for example, were often more than twice the price of those made by Whitty.”

This impressive design matched the Earl’s appeal for prestige amongst his contemporaries. Whitty’s work was very much in demand at the time, baring elaborate details that worked in unison with the Drawing Room’s striking décor, fortifying the Earl’s status.

“Several arbiters of taste championed Whitty carpets and the 5th Earl was ever keen to have the approval of people of taste.” Adds Macdonald. “In each corner it features a cornucopia overflowing with flowers - a sign of plenty. In 1735 Carl Linnaeus published The Systema Naturae, listing thousands of blooms, including many rare and exotic species from the New World. These blooms feature in the centre roundel, and they would have been something to show off to friends.”