All About Antique Axminster Rugs

April 21, 2015
All About Antique Axminster Rugs
Doris Leslie Blau


One of the most prominent Western textile traditions, Axminster rugs trace their history back to the middle of the 18th Century. Thomas Whitty opened a carpet company in the town of Axminster in 1755. Whitty was a weaver by trade, he admired Persian rugs and produced works that were inspired by them. 

Soon, Whitty’s Axminister carpet factory was supplying the homes of English aristocrats. His business was aided by domestic laws at the time established to bolster local textile production. The government was worried about the dominance of foreign competitors, French Savonnerie rugs for one.


Today, the town of Axminster continues to produce rugs. Traditionally, Axminster rugs are characterized by bold and bright coloring. They are pile carpets most often made with wool. Frequently the designs take their motifs from classic and Renaissance architecture, or more occasionally they borrow from oriental designs.

Our antique collection features a handsome array of Axminster rugs that typify the distinctive elegance and robust decorative spirit of this category.


A lush, overlapping paisley design in camel, moss, and ivory, this rug’s border is intricate and multi-stepped, from circa. 1900.


Love this detail shot, which really highlights the energy and brilliance these rugs hold. This antique Axminster is from circa 1870, and is rich in floral elements, with a palmette border.


It’s no exaggeration to say this is one of the finest rugs in our collection. It’s 30’8”x17’7” with scrolling vinery and dramatic swooping florals. From circa 1850.

See more DLB Axminster rugs here.

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