Andrew Middleton
Oriental Rugs and Carpets, Techniques,
Traditions and Design

London: Miller's Publications, 1996


The Ardabil Carpet. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The best place to see historical rugs is the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Islamic Gallery houses the Ardabil Carpet, probably the most famous in the world, together with a number of other important carpets dating from the 15th century onwards. See

The V&A also houses approximately 150 other rugs which are not generally on public view. The majority of these date from the 19th century and were acquired at a time when synthetic dyes were not in use. Those interested should write to the V&A to make an appointment to view the rugs. It is advised to go in a small group -perhaps no more than five. Information about the department can be found at,-textiles-and-fashion/

You can search the V&A collections on their website at Enter the word 'carpet' into the Search box and you will get the screen above.

Christies hold sales of fine rugs and carpets at King Street St James in March/April and October - viewing is free and for those interested it represents a good way to learn about carpet. The director of the department, William Robinson, has outstanding knowledge on the subject. Closer to home, Tenannts in Leyburn include some selected 60 rugs and carpets in their catalogue sale in March, July and November. Again, viewing is free of charge and friendly advice is available.

Andrew Middleton spent his early years in the north of England. His first job was as a salesman for an antique furniture firm in Aberford. Following this, Andrew embarked on what was to become a lifelong passion – travels to the Islamic regions of the world. While travelling he developed a love for both Islamic architecture and oriental rugs. In 1991 he joined Bonhams in London as head of the oriental carpet department. He was made a director in 1996, heading up their furniture and carpet departments. In 2009 he established his own independent company specialising in valuations for insurance, probate and auction. He has recently become a consultant for Tennants auctioneerswhere he heads the oriental carpet department.