Antique Axminster carpets – Antique Axminster rugs and carpets represent a unique style of rug. While most antique rug styles were developed in the Oriental world, the Axminster style is an excellent example of a style that was developed in the Western World – specifically, in England. Axminster rugs are a luxurious nineteenth-century English counterpart to the great Neo-classical designs of French Aubussons and Savonneries. They share the same taste for monumental frames and cartouches filled with naturalistic floral detail in the European tradition, along with a tendency toward softer, pastel coloration. Some Axminsters, however, also began to respond to the qualities of Oriental rug design once the latter had reclaimed their position in the European market during the later nineteenth century. But even Axminster rugs of this kind preserve a distinctly European taste for soft coloration and realistic floral motives.
Axminster rugs and carpets are noteworthy for the wide range of aesthetics and styles that they express. While some examples are certainly aesthetically consistent with the elaborate Neoclassical carpets of France, it is the exceptional pieces that express more of an Oriental style that give such range to the style. Indeed, some antique Axminster rugs and carpets beautifully incorporate Persian and Turkish elements of design, seamlessly fusing these aesthetics with more conventionally Western designs and formats. This coming-together of Eastern and Western design preferences makes for unique and exciting antique carpets, with a great versatility and a fascinating overall impression.