A rare carpet at Felbrigg Hall is playing a key role in a pioneering project to keep an important English traditional industry and its skills alive.

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The National Trust, which owns the stately home near Cromer, has teamed up with specialists from the Living Looms Project who are using time-honoured methods and machinery to create a replica of the fast-fading Georgian carpet from Felbrigg’s gothic library.

The original carpet dates from the 1830s and is now extremely faded and worn. When finished, the replica will be fitted as a replacement for the original, giving visitors a taste of the room’s original grandeur.

Samples of the material have already been taken to the Living Looms Project, based in a workshop at Stourport-on-Severn, in the West Midlands, for detailed analysis and to discover the carpet’s original colours.

Eleanor Akinlade, house manager at Felbrigg Hall, said they had discovered that the original had vibrant plum purples, deep shades of green and impressive blues.

Results showed the carpet contained 29 colours in an intricate floral design, making it a rare surviving example of a printed tapestry carpet.

“The National Trust is founded on the principle of preserving our country’s heritage and open spaces forever, for everyone. If we want to maintain the intrinsic character of ageing properties like Felbrigg Hall, then we also need to preserve the traditional skills and machines that will make that possible,” said Ms Akinlade.

Most of the original carpet is covered by a protective layer. After conservation it will be placed in the trust’s archives. The replacement carpet should be ready next year.

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