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View Full Version : Rugs at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


Paul McGhee
October 9th, 2012, 09:28 AM
The Fitwilliam Museum is one of the few places where you can both see and walk on a series of interesting Persian rugs. Most of the upstairs art galleries have rugs on the floor, but there is no information about them in the museum's catalogues or leaflets because they are not "accessioned objects" but rather "interior decoration."

Apparently the Director of the Museum from 1908-1937 got fed up with waiting for a University Committee to meet (bi-annually over an agreeable college dinner) and allow him to spend money, so he set up the Friends of the Fitzwilliam who raised money which he could spend immediately.

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.a c.uk/support/friends/briefhistory.html

Some of the regular purchases were Persian rugs, bought just to make the place more homely rather than as art, but some of them have been around for quite a while. Lables on the back suggest the more recent ones were bought from a reputable local dealer - in the 1000-3000 price range. They are all from West Persia and are labelled as Kolyai (4) Bijar (3) Qashqai (2) Gravan (1) Toysekeran (1) Senneh (1) and Abaro (Abadeh?) (2)

A colleague of mine remembers much older and threadbare rugs on the floors of the Fitzwilliam in her youth in the 1970s, so these are the latest in a long series of purchases and pictures may exist of the galleries in earlier times with other examples.

The Fitz also has some rugs which are "accessioned objects" but these tend to be on tables or hanging on the walls rather than on the floor.

Photography is not normally allowed in the Museum, so there are no pictures of the non-accessioned rugs on the Internet, but I got permission from the Curators last weekend to photograph them and I will be posting a selection to whet your appetite for a visit. Its the ideal place to spend an afternoon for a rug enthusiast partnered with a non-ruggie who like paintings or ceramics.

http://www.turkotek.com/show_and_tell/Fitz_Gravan.jpg

http://www.turkotek.com/show_and_tell/Fitz_sumac.jpg

Horst Nitz
October 17th, 2012, 07:29 PM
Hi Paul,

thank you, I'll remember your tip on a next visit to the UK.

Regards, Horst