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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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Buczacz  

Zdisław Żygulski jr

Town in Podolia, Ukraine, formerly in Polish territory, known as a centre for weaving in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 18th century the town belonged to the magnate family Potocki, and the art of weaving kilims with floral designs flourished. About 1870 Oskar Potocki founded a large factory to produce wall hangings made of silk interwoven with gold and silver thread. These hangings carried on the Polish tradition of brocade weaving but were made on mechanical looms. They are distinguished by subtle shades of pink, orange and red, with tiny motifs, or are predominantly gold with a beautiful sheen. They were expensive and much prized by connoisseurs. The workshop labels, which give the size of each piece (usually about 1.5×2.5 m), show the Pilawa coat of arms of the Potocki family (a cross with two-and-a-half arms), the name Buczacz and sometimes the initials AP for Artur Potocki, the manager. These were woven in or stitched on a separate piece of fabric. ...

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Jennifer Wearden

English town in West Yorkshire. The cloth trade thrived in Halifax from the 13th century. The fine Piece Hall, built as a cloth market in 1775 by Thomas Bradley, housed over 315 merchants’ rooms; the central open rectangular space is surrounded by two- and three-storey colonnades. The town is now chiefly important as a centre of carpet manufacture.

The firm of J. Crossley & Sons is synonymous with the production of carpets in Halifax and has been responsible for introducing some of the most far-reaching innovations in machine-produced floor coverings. The firm was founded by John Crossley (d 1837), a hand-loom weaver who set up his own weaving shed at nearby Dean Clough in 1803. By 1833 the venture was profitable enough to enable the company to purchase from Richard Whytock of Edinburgh, for £10,000, the patents for weaving warp-printed carpets (see Carpet §II 2., (iv)), a technique that became especially associated with Crossley’s and which made Halifax the centre for such production in England. The task of printing the design on to the warp threads before weaving was laborious and dirty but made it possible for designers to incorporate up to 150 colours, although in practice a total of 30 to 40 colours was more common. As the entire pile warp was raised to form each row of loops, carpets could be woven at considerable speed. Two qualities of carpet were produced: ‘Tapestry Brussels’, with uncut loops, and ‘Tapestry Velvets’, with cut pile . Some of the first power looms to be used in the carpet industry were installed at Dean Clough in ...

Article

Jennifer Wearden

English town in Hereford & Worcs, known as a centre of carpet production. By the end of the 16th century, if not earlier, weavers in Kidderminster were producing a strong, woollen cloth that served as an inexpensive floor covering and was commonly known as Kidderminster or Scotch carpeting (see Carpet §I 5.). In 1735 a Mr Pearsall drew together individual weavers, establishing the first factory devoted to the production of double-cloth floor covering in Kidderminster; within a few years several other factories had also been established. In 1749 a weaver was brought from Belgium to build Brussels looms, thus breaking Wilton’s monopoly of the Brussels carpet (see Wilton §2). These Brussels carpets, together with Wilton carpets, soon became the main products of Kidderminster, outselling the traditional flat-weave coverings. In 1812 Thomas Lea patented a technique for weaving a triple-cloth floor covering which, though popular, was still inferior to pile carpets in durability. In ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

French centre of lace production. In the 19th century Mirecourt became the principal centre for lacemaking in Lorraine. By 1860 there were 600 lacemakers in the town and thousands more in the surrounding villages. The characteristic lace of the area consisted of hand-made patterns of flowers and sprigs attached to machine-made net....