The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair to hold Winter edition at Evolution London
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The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair to hold Winter edition at Evolution London
Red Ziegler & Co circa 1890. 12’8” x 17’5” / 385 x 535cm in low pile. Price: £65,000. Photo: James Cohen.

LONDON.- From Tuesday 23 to Sunday 28 January 2024, The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair returns to the mezzanine level, above the Winter edition of The Decorative Fair at Evolution London in Battersea Park. LARTA is London’s premier event solely devoted to the wonders of handmade carpets, rugs and textiles from around the world and through the eras; a visual feast presented by a group of highly knowledgeable experts.

In this its 12th year, LARTA has enticed back a few former exhibitors, including Markus Voigt, Villa Rosemaine from France and Gideon Hatch. Joining for the first time is Textile Antiques, the new business set up by Joseph Sullivan.

Amongst the eclectic mix of rugs, carpets, textiles, antique costumes and tapestries to discover, there are some real treasures. James Cohen has two impressive Ziegler & Co. carpets, one large ivory carpet measuring 343 x 552cm, dating around 1890. James Cohen explains, “This is the rug that launched a million copies, all of them inferior, made in Afghanistan and Pakistan; none of which capture the majesty of this spectacular carpet. The ivory field/ivory border combination is the ideal for introducing calm, gentle colours into your living room, drawing room or bedroom. The large all over design of palmettes depicted in pale gold, pale coral and soft orange are exquisite. One of the rarest and most beautiful Ziegler carpets I have experienced.” The second Ziegler & Co. carpet is also sizeable at 336 x 423cm and is priced at £25,000. It has a soft palette and an all over design and comes from the collection at the Georgian house, Elveden Hall, bought by Duleep Singh (1838-1892), the last Maharajah of the Sikh empire removed from his kingdom by the British East India Company and exiled to England in 1854. The Maharajah re-invigorated the exterior with the aid of John Norton in an Italianate style, as well as altering the interiors to reflect Mughal palace designs.

Markus Voigt returns to exhibit, after a few years, bringing a silk and wool tapestry fragment from the Life of Scipio series, which has been selected as the main image for this year’s LARTA logo. Designed by Giulio Romano (1499-1546) and woven by the Manufacture des Gobelins Paris in the 17th century, it is priced at £4,800. Markus Voigt is also showing a Sumatran Tampan, £1,500; an exceptional 19th century Phulkai, £1,200; a 19th century chasuble, £4,300 and a Turkmen tent band fragment depicting a wedding scene, circa 1850, with a price tag of £2,400.

Also returning after a couple of years is Villa Rosemaine from France with textiles, antique costumes and accessories. Accomplished rug designer, Gideon Hatch is set to unveil a fresh design at the upcoming fair, featuring various sizes and colour options. All the designs can be made to order and adapted in size and colour and are available in a range of knotting qualities starting at £630 per square metre.

Joining for the first time is brand new exhibitor, Textile Antiques. The company is owned and run by Joseph Sullivan, who worked for Peta Smyth Antique Textiles, exhibiting at LARTA on many occasions; Peta closed her gallery last year. Amongst the items planned for Textile Antiques’ stand is an 18th century silk and wool picture made up of cross stitch and petit point, with three musicians - playing a timbrel, a cello or viola da gamba, and a pipe - below the figure of the muse Terpsichore suspended in an elaborate boat held with ropes and pulleys.

Phil Bell Antique Oriental Rugs is showing a rare example of a 19th century Melas rug with strong colours and bold design from Western Anatolia. 179 x 115cm, £3,750. Returning to exhibit having joined for the first time at LARTA 2023 is Nomadic Rugs Gallery is bringing an early 20th century highly decorative Anatolian Oushak carpet, 590 x 405cm, priced at £19,000. Emily’s House London shop is not far from the fair in Battersea Park Road. Owner Katrien Vermeeren was inspired by rugs and carpets when travelling to the Middle East and Africa, now sells handmade rugs made by indigenous craftspeople – Berber women and Turkish nomads, including vintage Turkish kilims and Beni Ouarain, all individually handpicked for their unique beauty. Katrien counts amongst her clients The Conran Shop and Designers’ Guild, as well as several important interior designers. Coming from a bit further afield is the Oriental Rug Shop, a family business established over 130 years ago, now based in Sheffield, Yorkshire with satisfied customers all over the United Kingdom, sells handmade rugs, carpets, runners and flat weaves from Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, China and Nepal.

LARTA regular Ebi Shafagh of the Carpet Restoration Studio shows an interesting selection, amongst which is a 20th century pure wool Gabbeh Qashqai rug from south-west Persia measuring 2.32m x 1.45m and priced at £2,500, as well as a 19th century pure silk Heriz carpet. Hakiemie Rug Gallery exhibits once again also bringing Persian Heriz Serapi, a Chinese Peking rug and an Indonesian textile, 205 x 128cm, circa 1900, £850.

LARTA’s organiser, Aaron Nejad, whose gallery is in London’s Marylebone, is devoting one stand exclusively to 20th century modern rugs amongst which is a Swedish mid-20th century abstract wool kilim, 1.99m x 1.26m, £1,950. On the Aaron Nejad Gallery stand, plans are for an eclectic mix including a 19th century Italian silk velvet and metal thread panel, priced at £4,500, and a fine Verdure tapestry panel from Brussels, circa 1650-1680, measuring 2.32m x 0.87m, selling for £2,750.

At LARTA 2024, on Thursday 25 January, Chris Alsan is giving a fascinating talk ‘How to Get Down from a Yak – adventures in central Asian nomadic textiles. Houses made from wool that warm in the depths of winter, carpets that tell stories, woven bands that appease ancestors, embroideries that ward off evil, and kilims that store kitchenware, with everything ready to be packed and carried on yak or camel at a moment’s notice. The little-known nomadic textile cultures of the Kyrgyz, Turkoman and Karakalpak are explored in this lecture, along with the rise and fall of nomadism and where nomadism fits within the modern world. Chris also shares from his own experience of working with nomadic yak herders in the High Pamirs for three years.

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