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24 Feb 2022

Softly does it

Written by Emma Inglis, Curator (Glasgow & West)
A view of an extremely ornately decorated drawing room, with the far wall made up of floor-to-ceiling windows. A red and blue patterned carpet almost fills the floor on top of parquet wooden floorboards. The ceiling has decorative, gilded plasterwork. There is a piano to the far left of the room, and a fireplace on the right-hand wall. Large mirrors run either side of the room.
The new drawing room carpet brings together the colours, motifs and architecture of the room.
With the start of a new season at Holmwood, we are celebrating the creation of specially designed carpets, inspired by Alexander Thomson and Holmwood’s fabulous interiors.

It has been an exciting start to the year at Holmwood as we have reached the conclusion of our three-year interior redecoration project. The icing on the cake has been the installation of a set of new and specially designed carpets.

The previous carpets installed by the National Trust for Scotland at Holmwood were plain and purely functional – the aim had been to create a blank backdrop. We felt it was time to change that; we wanted to install carpets that had a more luxurious feel and that complemented the fabulous re-worked interior decoration schemes.

No evidence survives of Holmwood’s original carpets from circa 1860, but historical records relating to Alexander Thomson, Holmwood’s architect, indicated that he had designed the original carpets himself. Armed with that knowledge, along with an understanding of the key motifs and colours used in the house, we embarked upon an extensive search through historical carpet archives at Stoddard Templeton, the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster, the National Archives, Brintons and the V&A. We knew the style we were looking for and we came up with a shortlist of designs, both from the right period and from Thomson’s contemporaries, that we thought might suit. With some minor adjustments to colours and motifs, Brintons’ carpet designers helped us to bring the archive designs to life.

The new carpets have now been installed at Holmwood, bringing a further sense of opulence to the house. The drawing room looks particularly magnificent, with a carpet based on a design by Owen Jones (one of Alexander Thomson’s design contemporaries) that reflects the delicate blue of the ceiling and draws on details in the plasterwork.

A view of an extremely ornately decorated drawing room, with the far wall made up of floor-to-ceiling windows. A red and blue patterned carpet almost fills the floor on top of parquet wooden floorboards. The ceiling has decorative, gilded plasterwork. There is a piano to the far left of the room, and a fireplace on the right-hand wall. Large mirrors run either side of the room.
The drawing room carpet brings together the colours, motifs and architecture of the room.

To experience our bold and beautiful response to Alexander Thomson’s interiors, come and visit Holmwood this year. We can’t wait to welcome you!

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