Saturday 13 December 2014

Hoist up the Jolly Roger

Unsold at Netherhampton`s Auction House on 10 December 2014,the following is one of five known copies of a Spanish Renaissance carpet

1-Netherhamptons 232

The same carpet had previously appeared at Rippon Boswell in 2010,where it sold for $6210.Blithely following the Hali APG report in Hali 166(129),the Netherhampton`s cataloguer described the carpet as based on an original in the V&A.However this is incorrect.The original model for this carpet with Phoenix design is in the Textile Museum (R 84.7).The copies substitute an eagle blazon for the skull and crossbones,which was probably too difficult to weave without a Spanish knot


The carpet bears two Latin inscriptions:EX MEMET RENASCOR(from myself I shall regenerate),and VICTORIA DOCTIS(Victory to the Learned)It is dated 1520,but as a large repair runs through the middle,this cannot be verified.

The Netherhamptons carpet(said to have issued from the Rumanian workshop of Tuduc)is not,as stated in the catalogue,the same carpet which was owned by the Bernheimers and also published by Ulrich Schurmann

3-Schurmann 1960

Nor was it the item sold at Christies in 1993,and at the Mikaelov"Eclectic Eye" Sale

4-Christies 17 December 1993(118)

And it certainly was not the piece published by both Viale and Sursock

5-Viale 1971(53)

A last exercise in carpet flatulence was offered at the Berberyan Sale of 1981

6-Parke Bernet February 1981

The V&A `s carpet shares a similar layout to the Textile Museum example with skull and crossbones and similar field design,but its drawing is more refined

7-V&A 250-1906

It bears the monogram IHS(Iesus Hominum Salvator) The assured border drawing and field design reflect old Alcaraz.In fact the TM`s rug looks rather clumsy by comparison.The London rug has been copied less frequently.Only one pastiche of this is known to the author,which may well be a later Spanish copy with its elegant borders unsurpassed in the Balkans

8-Sothebys 6 May 1977(43)

Blazons were a favourite subject of the Rumanian forgers,indeed anything Armorial seems to have been commercially en vogue at the time.A knotted version of the Residenz Safavid kilim with the Arms of  Sigismund III of Poland is known in two examples

9-Safavid Kilim,Munich

10-Rippon Boswell 25 September 2010(189)

11-Sothebys 7 March 1990(85)

A last group of three carpets combine European Blazons and Anatolian borders.They are all Turkish knotted and may be from the flagship of the carpet pirate Teodor Tuduc

12-Hispanic Society of America

13-Madrid,Archaeological Museum

14-Burrell Collection,Hali 173(120)


1 comment:

  1. Excellent research John. Just one note: IHS is a Christogram for Jesus. It is the first three letters.


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