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date: 17 October 2019


  • Jennifer Wearden


English town in Devon, situated on the River Axe, known as a centre of carpet production from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th. In 1755 Thomas Whitty (d 1792), a weaver from Axminster, visited Pierre Parisot’s carpet workshop in Fulham, London. An apprentice showed him the workshop, and on his return to Axminster Whitty built a large vertical loom, taught his daughters to tie the symmetrical or Ghiordes knot (see Carpet, §I, 1) and began to produce carpets. In 1757 he submitted a carpet measuring 4.9×3.8 m to the Royal Society of Arts and was awarded a joint prize with Thomas Moore (c. 1700–1788; see Carpet, §II, 2, (iii)) of Chiswell Street, London. Whitty valued his carpet at £15 and the Society ruled it the best carpet in proportion to its price. In 1758 he was asked to submit three carpets and shared the prize with ...

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