Carpet Runner

Late 19th century
Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Company
Credit Line:
Gift of the Skinner Family, 2007

Naturalistic depiction of flowers in home décor was perennial despite the best efforts of aesthetic tastemakers to promote more abstracted forms for flat surfaces in the second half of the 19th century. This carpet may pre-date George Stengel’s tenure at the carpet company, and so far its designer is unknown. The secret of Alexander Smith & Sons' success was a patented improvement to the Axminster power loom, which imitated popular types of decorated, hand-made carpets. Smith’s master mechanic for these inventions was Halcyon Skinner (1824-1900) ,whose descendants gave the Museum this runner.