Axminster Carpets’ founder returns home

PUBLISHED: 14:59 31 March 2015

Thomas Whitty’s descendants with some of the Axminster Heritage group

Thomas Whitty’s descendants with some of the Axminster Heritage group


The only known portrait of Thomas Whitty, found in Canada, is presented to the town’s heritage centre

The portrait of Thomas WhittyThe portrait of Thomas Whitty

The only known portrait of Axminster Carpets’ founder Thomas Whitty has returned home.

Until recently, exactly what the great man looked like was something of a mystery.

Despite his fame, mixing with nobility and royalty during the mid-1700s, even The National Portrait Gallery could not find a picture of him.

Now some 300 years later, great (times six) grandson Peter Bradshaw, living in Vancouver, Canada, has brought Whitty to life - uncovering a portrait of the famous entrepreneur.

Generously he has donated the picture to Axminster Heritage so the portrait can at last return to his home town. Peter and his wife Maggie visited Axminster and personally presented the portrait to trustees last week.

Chairman John Church said: “The timing is perfect.

“We have already successfully purchased Whitty’s original carpet factory in Silver Street, this portrait of its founder can take pride of place in his historic building.”

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