House & Garden | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

A new event puts eye-catching rugs and textiles back in the spotlight

Time-limited luxuries

March 31 2011
Nicole Swengley

Decorative textiles, rugs and carpets have been woefully under-represented in the antiques fair calendar since the annual Hali show was phased out five years ago. Anyone who enjoys decorating with ravishing, woven images should, however, check out a new, very select show launching on March 31.

The London Antique Rug and Textile Art Fair – LARTA, for short – will celebrate this historic and vibrant art form by showing rare collectors’ items from all periods up to the early 20th century alongside more affordable pieces. What’s particularly fascinating is the wealth of antiques that display a relevance to contemporary design, making them perfect for use as home furnishings in modern interiors (cushion covers, chair upholstery and even curtain edging created from embroidery fragments). Larger pieces, meanwhile, can be wall-hung as artworks or, if durable, used as floor coverings.

Just 12 specialist UK dealers are taking part, providing an opportunity to seek advice about display and use. They include Marilyn Garrow, Joss Graham, Christopher and Angela Legge, Owen Parry, Pars Rug Gallery and restoration specialist Persian Carpet Studio.

Highlights include rare, 19th-century Uzbekistan suzanis (wedding embroideries) from exhibitor Anthony Hazeldine (swirling flower design, £4,000) and a colourful, late-19th-century Moghan rug from the Caucasus (£3,800) from Joshua Lumley, while the fair’s organiser, Aaron Nejad, is showing “Nymph”, a German Bauhaus tapestry (£7,500) and a rare, linen-backed Ottoman silk embroidery (pictured, £8,500).

Andy Lloyd has a magnificent Kashkuli carpet from southern Iran, c1860 (£4,950) and is also offering handmade Kuba cloths from the Congo priced from £100 – a snip for anyone looking for boldly patterned textiles to enliven a chic, but sober interior.