Reproducing an historic carpet from an original point paper
i'm currently working with a house museum whose original owner figured prominently in pivotal moments of the Civil War. The period of interpretation is the early 1850s, and the only floorcovering documentation they have is that the carpet was crimson and that it was a pattern of some merit, having won an award. This led me to do research at several manufacturers' archives and various museums. Finally, at one museum library, I was given a treasure trove of late 1840s-early 1850s point papers, and presented the grandest examples to the curator, along with my suggestions.
point papers, for those unfamiliar with the term, are the original artist's rendering of a design, essentially a piece of graph paper, wherein each square represents a tufts of carpet. Often, the point paper is one quarter of the design (think of those paper snowflakes you made as a kid by folding over a piece of paper, cutting a pattern, and then unfolding it).
the pattern they selected is shown in the first picture to the right. I directed the client to a mill that would reproduce this pattern in a high quality Wilton carpet, and their skilled art department created a printout, shown in the second picture to the right, which depicts the pattern in repeat; note that the following represents two strips of 27" wide carpet. Also note that there is a subtle vertical stripe that alternates between crimson and a dark raspberry. (This will be more pronounced when the carpet is finally woven). Right now, we're matching yarn colors to the original point paper, and then the carpet will be woven. As soon as it is installed, I'll add the photographs to this page.