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Brintons repeats history at Sir John Soane’s Museum

18th December 2015

Brintons has helped Sir John Soane’s Museum re-create 19th century history by supplying a design from our expansive archive.

The Museum, which was the home and library of renowned neo-liberal, 19th century architect Sir John Soane, recently under took a major project to restore the private rooms of Soane and his wife. Historic Carpet Research helped in this restoration by working closely with Brintons’ Archivist Yvonne Smith to find a carpet design to reflect the original.

Brintons’ extensive archives were the source of a design for Sir John’s bedroom, and other rooms on the second floor, that reflected the carpets seen during that era. Two contemporary watercolours of the bedroom and bathroom were the only guide to work with when deciding upon a new design, as none of the original carpet remained in the Museum.

Lady Susan Stern, Historic Carpet Research, said: “The chosen carpet is perfectly in keeping with the feel of the period, and reflects the style of both Sir John Soane and the Museum. We chose a leafy, Regency style pattern that featured swirling movements, adding to the effect of the design.

“As we only had the watercolours to work with, which did not show any details of the pattern, we focused heavily upon the hues and shapes within the painting to select a design that was reflective of the carpet Sir John Soane would have had.”

The chosen pattern features four hues of red, ranging from deep burgundy to lighter pinks, producing a real depth to the design that is contrasted against a lighter, stone background. The selected painted pattern paper was taken from the archive and transformed into a full repeat carpet design.

In the renovation the new design was installed in the master bedchamber in the same manner as depicted in the watercolour, as a bedcarpet of strips laid around the bed. The carpet was also installed in the bathroom to the master bedchamber, the book corridor, the Oratory and Mrs Soane’s morning room, where it was laid as a rug.

Sir John Soane’s Museum was built by the architect in three stages beginning in 1809, and consists of three properties, No.12, No.13 and No.14, which were originally knocked down by the architect and completely rebuilt up to 1824.

Today, the Museum is the National Centre for the Study of Architecture, housing an expansive research library, gallery and intact living quarters where Soane and his wife resided.

Lady Stern continued: “It was very rewarding to find a pattern of 1824 in Brintons’ archive which enabled the production of a 21st century carpet in the spirit and aesthetic of the time of Sir John Soane.”

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