Antique Carpets From The Set Of Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey is back with gripping plots and dazzling sets as the fourth season premieres in the United States. It’s not just the plots that draw viewers in. The lavish Downton Abbey set design, surroundings, and furnishings, especially the antique rugs and tapestries, entertain viewers as well as Julian Fellows expertly crafted story-lines.
This historic costume drama presents a lush, alluring picture of life at the fictional Grantham estate in the early 20th century.
Viewers aren’t the only dedicated fans. Princess Kate and William watch it, and the Rolling Stones are such serious fans that the band receives episodes before they air.
In the fourth season, with the war well over, Downton Abbey has taken on a lighter, brighter style that extends to everyone, except Lady Mary. While Highclere Castle’s own antique carpets have been replaced with items that better fit the style of the show, it’s difficult to discern where real life ends and set dressing takes over.
The home’s famous Saloon with its Gothic decorations, massive fireplace and endless ceiling is the heart of the estate. This monumental room is anchored by a spectacular oversized carpet featuring a mouthwatering strawberry red field juxtaposed against verdant green borders. The large-scale designs perfectly mirror the monumental proportions of Highclere Castle and the majesty of its beautifully maintained grounds and signature Lebanon cedars.
Historical Jacobean and Elizabethan trends are immortalized throughout the show’s sets, which display a preference for colorful antique carpets from India with heavily stylized designs and large antique Persian rugs with grand arabesques that give each room a unique style.
These regal pieces are typically associated with Sultanabad rugs and the antique Ziegler carpets of Mahal; however, darker and more studious creations in the styles of Bidjar and Tabriz are displayed as well. The ancestry of the aristocratic family and their home is clearly evident in the furnishings, which share a stately heirloom appearance as if they were passed down over the centuries. There are leather wall coverings from 17th century Spain, elegant Aubusson carpets and classical European tapestries that show a deliberate, progressive recession into the past.
These wonderful rugs and textiles illustrate an English connection that linked the country with Spain, France and the exotic East. The rich history and style of the early 20th century is omnipresent in this winning drama that has claimed oodles of well-deserved awards for its lavish story and setting.