New rug collection inspired by a Roman mosaic

Uncovering a remarkable mosaic dating back to the 3rd century inspired rug designer Luke Irwin to create a new collection

Eagle-eyed readers may remember H&A’s feature on the Georgian home of rug designer Luke Irwin in the August 2015 issue. At the time, little did we know that within the grounds of his house he would unearth a 1,800-year-old Roman mosaic in remarkable condition.

Luke came upon this hidden gem by chance while laying electricity cables in one of the farmhouse barns. Unearthing this extraordinary piece of history was like a bolt of electricity, as Luke explains, ‘There was this frisson of excitement, which I had previously experienced when I was six or seven and been taken to Pompeii for the first time. It was that tangibility of seeing the Pompeii graffiti… history is not dry any more; this is alive.’

Realising the significance of his discovery, Luke brought in Wiltshire Archaeology Service, Salisbury Museum and Historic England to assess the site. During the dig, archaeologists confirmed the mosaic formed part of an overtly grand villa, now known as The Deverill Villa, dating from around 175AD–220AD.

Keen to weave his incredible discovery into his work as a rug designer, in partnership with long-time collaborator Vikram Kapoor, Luke has created the Mosaic Collection. Using a ground-breaking technique of oxidation, the rugs are created using hand-woven silk outlined with wool to produce the mosaic cubes, then carefully distressed for a time-worn appearance.

Luke believes that, ‘When you own these rugs, not only will you have something that is beautiful to look at, it should also be – if you have any form of inquisitiveness within you – something that you look at that will always make you think, hopefully on a bigger level, about our place in time and history.’

Prices for the Mosaic Collection are on application. For more information and to order visit lukeirwin.com

 

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