Mounting and display of “The Exile Carpet” Two fragments depicting the Flight of Mary Magdalene.
These are two carpet fragments that are called “The Exile Carpet”
They were to be mounted for easy access of viewing as they had been stored in a box with tissue that had to be removed each time the fragments were viewed and this was causing damage and loss of fibres.
The fragments could not come to the studio, because of their historical status and importance and they could not leave the country they were situated in, so we would have to mount them on site.
The Exile Carpet fragments have been Carbon-14 dated twice, both in different laboratories, both gave a reasonable certitude that they were produced in the second half of the 2nd century, or the beginning of the 3rd.
The carpet would have been oval in shape with a woven pile, would have originally measured approximately 48 inches from top to bottom and was possibly made as an altar.
The design is divided into seven sections, within these sections it is thought that some of the figures depicted are of Jesus in the centre, with Mary Magdalene and her daughter Sarah, and is believed to be telling the story of the exile of Mary Magdalene.
We relied on high res imaging being sent to us to enable correct colour matching of the threads to be used. The measurements for the finished size of the display board were also sent and we were able to make up this board at the studio. All tools and materials that were needed were transported and a small studio was set up in a space provided by the client.
The fragments required a light controlled suction clean and a humidity treatment, as they had been previously cleaned, a improvised humidity chamber was set up which produced very good results.
The work consisted of ensuring that the two fragments were placed in the correct position, that the design read well and that the spacing was correct.
We worked with the client and from the research document of the fragments, together through measurements of repeats in the design and the border placement we drew up a plan with what we all felt was the correct positioning.
Once the two fragments were in place, they were secured into position using a couching stitch method, making sure that every warp and weft was secured. The threads that had been colour matched to a high res image worked very well.
The fragments are now in a stable condition to be able to continue further research without the risk of damage.