Cragside's chenille carpet

The Chenille carpet is one of 12 hand-woven carpets in the National Trust  © National Trust

The Chenille carpet is one of 12 hand-woven carpets in the National Trust

Latest update 30.04.2014 15:00

Cleaning bill that can’t be swept under the carpet

The textile conservation team have rolled up and taken a rare Chenille dining room carpet from Cragside, Northumberland for a nine month long restoration project.

When Lord and Lady Armstrong, the owners of Cragside, decided to carpet their dining and drawing rooms in the 1870s, they did not spare any expense. The two chenille carpets they ordered were hand-woven to fit the room but now the dining room carpet is beginning to show its age.

The carpet has been lifted up and transported to the textile conservation studio in Norfolk where it will undergo months of extensive restoration.

Ksynia Marko, national specialist textile conservation adviser commented:

'It is a very lush and luxurious carpet of a very thick and interesting construction. It is an important carpet and a rare survivor as there are no more than a dozen Chenille carpets left in national Trust properties nationwide. Chenille carpets are not like the usual hand-knotted carpets. The pile of the carpet is looped, so it looks as though it is made up of very long furry caterpillars.'

The carpet has a formalised floral motif, which would tie in with Lord Armstrong’s liking for formal carpet bedding plant displays in his garden.

The part of the carpet which is woven with dark brown dyed material is gradually disappearing, exposing the underlying foundation. If no action was taken, then holes would develop and the carpet would unravel. Ksynia added:
'It is our textile heritage that we are conserving, which we are losing day by day.'