Axminster Carpets recreates Pavillion floor covering

The Axminster Carpet at Brighton Pavlion. Picture: JIM HOLDEN

The Axminster Carpet at Brighton Pavlion. Picture: JIM HOLDEN - Credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove / Jim Holden

Team works for eight months to reproduce Thomas Whitty’s orginal design

Axminster carpet designer Gary Bridge. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Axminster carpet designer Gary Bridge. Picture CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Axminster Carpets has produced a replica of its original floor covering for the stately saloon at Brighton Pavilion.

Working closely with decorative artist Anne Sowden and members of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Foundation, the company was tasked with recreating the original 1822 carpet made by its founder Thomas Whitty, almost 200 years ago.

The highly elaborate and energetic design features 20 dragons, 100 sun rays and 274 lotus leaves and cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Mrs Sowden crafted an intricate, line-drawn and painted pattern which Axminster translated to support the weaving process.


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The history of the Pavilion is inextricably bound to Axminster Carpets. The original floor covering was manufactured by Thomas Whitty and it was vital to the Pavilion members that the replica was made at the home of its original birthplace.

Gary Bridge, Design Director at Axminster Carpets, said: “The Saloon is unlike any other project Axminster Carpets has had the privilege of working on. In order to master and perfect the authenticity of the design it was essential to adopt the style and idiosyncrasies of Robert Jones – original designer - and embrace a new style of artistry with Anne’s delicate treatment.”

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Mr Bridge told The Herald that it had taken some eight months of art work to perfect the design, working from a painting of the original carpet found in a book.

To make things more difficult the 70 meters by nine meters carpet had to fit a circular room.

From the luxurious silk drapery to the hand-stencilled walls, and platinum leaf beading, every aspect of the interior has been carefully researched and considered to align with a uniform colour scheme and motif. The finished carpet – a gorgeous, kaleidoscopic vision of oriental colour and print - completes the space.

David Beevers, Keeper of the Royal Pavilion said: “The resulting design is a triumph – beautiful, vibrant and historically informed.”

Following an extensive restoration project, the stately Saloon at Brighton Pavilion has now reopened to the public - a room of rich history and aesthetic prowess.

* With a Royal Warrant and heritage of 250 years’ experience, Axminster Carpets can be found in prestigious locations worldwide.

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