The Royal kneeling carpet for the Investiture of Lochac’s first King and Queen in 2002, as part of the regalia for this important occasion. It was designed by Mistress Rowan Perigrynne and worked by the Worshipful Company of Broderers and friends.
The carpet was designed to be large enough to cover the usual ‘kneeling area’ in front of the two thrones. Unlike cushions, people cannot avoid a carpet, and there is historical evidence for their use in this context. The carpet would also provide a project for many people at a low level of embroidery skill, allowing them to take participate in creating regalia for our new Kingdom.
Embroidered carpets were known in period. Because Turkish carpets were rare and expensive, it was not long before ‘knock-offs’ were being made in Europe to satisfy the local market for a fraction of the price, often using cross-stitch to imitate the raised pile.
The design was based on carpets portrayed in several works by Holbein and Lotto, with the design motifs and colours relating to Lochac’s device. The starbursts, with their internal crosses, are evocative of Lochac and are adapted from Holbein’s painting ‘The Virgin and Child with the family of Burgomaster Meyer’ c1528, whilst the crosshatch background is from his famous ‘Ambassadors’, c1533. The border design of interlaced crosses can be seen in at least several of Holbein’s works and on an extant 16th century rug from Turkey.
The carpet was embroidered in woolen yarn on canvas, in cross-stitch using 7 count canvas (7 stitches to the inch) – a good compromise between appropriate scale and speed of execution. The finished carpet is about 1m by 2m, worked in heavy wool cross stitch on canvas. The carpet was made in 32 pieces and took approx 350 hours to complete.
A team of people worked to sew the sections together, overlapping the pieces and sewing the two ‘missing’ pattern rows (left out on each pattern) through both layers of canvas to create a seamless result. We used a special carpet bindstitch for edging and attached the fringe. The carpet was backed with a heavy felted material for extra padding, and added a label in case it got lost, together with a list of all those who worked on the project.
The finished carpet was presented to Their Majesties Alfar and Elspeth at their investiture in July 2002, to universal acclaim. All the people involved in the project had thoroughly enjoyed it and we were thrilled with the results.
The success of this project inspired several other carpet projects in Baronies around the Kingdom, using the same techniques but new to suit each group’s own imagery.