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TALBOT ORIENTAL RUGS

About Us

A place where good carpets can be found!

Since we opened our doors on February 1, 2004, Talbot Oriental Rugs has served our customers as an importer and retailer of fine quality new, antique, rare, and made-to-order oriental rugs and as a provider of services related to oriental rugs including handwashing, repairs, and full restorations of carpets of worth. Over the last several years, we have expanded our activities to include designing, manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling a range of fine quality handwoven carpets from our weavers in Azerbaijan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. These lines can be found on this site.

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In Lahore, Pakistan, November 2022, flanked by two of my colleagues. Third generation weavers, their grandfather played a central part in building the modern wool dyeing industry in Pakistan. Their love and knowledge of good colour shows in their work and our carpets!

Old or new, good carpets, to see and handle, and to live with, are a delight! I have worked in the carpet trade for nearly twenty-eight years since August 1996 when I accepted a part-time position to help pay for college. I still remember paging through the stacks on the first day. All the patterns, a kaleidoscope unfolding. The pleasurable tactile experience of fine wool. And the colours! As Van Gogh told to his brother Theo, “Colour expresses something in itself.” That something is, I think, passion. And good carpets are all about colour. Anyone who knows anything about carpets will tell you, if your love carpets, you love colour! A good carpet, one woven of fine quality wool and possessing a lovely design and, most important, having good colours, not only enhances its space but transforms it.

 

Good carpets not only please the senses, they stimulate the intellect. This is evidenced by the volumes written about Oriental rugs. In his travelogue The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer asserts what can only be the consensus: “Ever since explorers first recorded their travels to Persia, carpets have been making an impression.” (Toronto: HarperFlamingoCanada, 2002), p. 352. In its October 1930 issue, Fortune magazine said, 

 

Persian rugs … are the greatest of all collectors’ objects. They provide the amateur with every possible thrill. Their value is very high: somewhere between the square foot price of New York real estate and the square foot price of the Blue Boy. They are extremely beautiful and the archaistic, formal quality of designs of the oldest pieces is peculiarly appealing…. They are, as a class, the rarest of all seriously collectible works of great art…. But there is no other case where the major artistic production of a great nation is at once so well-known and so hard to find. And as for the lore of the Persian rug—there is a body of erudition into which the specialist can disappear from the vulgar eye like a porpoise plumping into a bed of kelp. There never was so deep a sea of learning.

Speaking of the revival of Western interests in Oriental carpets that was enlivened by the 1873 Vienna World Exhibition, Reinhard Hubel & Katherine Watson said in The Book of Carpets,

 

Each one of these carpets, individually created through long hours of work, seemed to speak a language all its own, yet one that was common to all of them … Some spirit, the spirit of its creator, had entered through the deft and skilful hand that knotted it, and this spirit seemed to give an answer to the questions that sprang up in the Western mind … (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1971), p. 9.

 

Mark Miller, the protagonist of James Michener’s 1963 novel Caravans, described carpets simply as “poetry in thread”. I rather agree, and while much of this gushing may seem like hyperbole to the outsider, my experience suggests not enough has yet been said about the carpet. Every day, therefore, I strive to add a few more words to the page, and maybe even a new page to the story of good carpets.

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Seen from above, Lahore's Old City, like the carpets woven here, evokes a sense of mystery and magic. At street level, I've found that impression takes on a delightfully intense, tangible quality; one is enmeshed in a web of colour and pattern, much as if one found oneself a single knot tied fast, cheek by jowl with other knots, in the great carpet of humanity.

Sarouk, west Iran, 1943. Good carpets capture the spirit of the cultures and people who made them and many are, in some ways, time machines, even portals to lost worlds.

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Sarouk, west Iran, 1943. Good carpets capture the spirit of the cultures and people who made them and many are, in some ways, time machines, even portals to lost worlds.

Just a little more …

 

Anyone who knows me knows I lead a double life! While one will typically find me working with carpets by day, at other times one is likely to find me hunched over my laptop working on my latest writing project, or out somewhere in the world doing research of one kind or another. My first major piece of written work, The Sky Men: A Parachute Rifle Company’s Story of the Battle of the Bulge and the Jump Across the Rhine, a narrative history of F Company, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II, was published in 2000 and well received. After that, I worked as an embedded journalist in Kosovo, Kuwait/Iraq, Afghanistan, and Northern Nigeria. In 2013, I hung up that hat and, at King’s College London, set about work pursuant of earning a doctorate. By 2019, I completed draft annotated translations of Bakr bin Abd’Allah Abu Zayd al-Ghihab’s 2000 Foreign and Colonial International Schools: Their History and Risks, and Abi Yusuf Mohammad bin Yusuf’s 2009 This is Our Faith and Our Approach to the Call to Islam, and my thesis, United Under One Banner? An Examination of Boko Haram’s Relationship with al-Qaeda Amidst the Claims and the Evidence, for which I was awarded the “King’s Outstanding Thesis” prize. Now, I’m back to writing about World War II. The pursuit of my current work, Market-Garden: The Definitive Account of the Battle of Arnhem, 17-26 September 1944, which I expect to wrap up sometime in 2026 or so, has proven to be a delight in every way. Perhaps the next project will document a journey into Iran's Woven Heart? We shall see. So far, the Government of Iran has not responded to my proposals. In any event, if I’m not to be found working with a carpet or working on the current book, you’ll likely find me just hanging out with my wife, Liliya (a clinical psychologist, fortunately for me), our twin sister cats, Buba and Luba, A.K.A. the "Little Ladies", or Little Frank "Mustang" Menguzzi, our rescue English Sparrow.

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My other great passion, the research and writing of the history of the Second World War and giving voice to those who fought it.

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A newly minted King’s College London PhD, seated on the green onyx central staircase of Seaford House, home of the Royal College of Defence Studies, Belgrave Square, London.

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