Coronation Carpet sold in Scotland
On 25 June 2014, Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull sold a fragmented Safavid period Persian carpet with a unique story.
The Holms Hepburn Coronation carpet is a typical red-ground ‘in and out palmette’ design weaving of the 17th century, perhaps Isfahan carpet but with an untypical cartouche border, somewhat reconfigured into a squarish fragment. Nothing too unusual in that, but before reaching its present owner, St Mungo’s Cathedral in Glasgow, in 1971, via the well known London firm of Duveen Brothers and two Scottish private collectors, John Augustus Holms (1866-1938) and Charles A. Hepburn (1891-1971), it was loaned for use at the coronations in Westminster Abbey of King Edward VII in 1902, and his son, King George V in 1911, as well as the marriage of Princess Mary in 1922, as evidenced by leather labels sewn to the back. In fact there were three Safavid carpets loaned to the Abbey for the event, including this one which sat underneath the throne upon which Edward VII was crowned. Of the other two, one, much larger, which covered the steps to the dais, is now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a gift of John Paul Getty in 1949. The other, which covered the dais, was most recently sold by Christie’s in London in 1997.
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