A Scarce Early 20thC English Antique Rag Rug 163cm x 100cm

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Origin: English
Style: Rag Rug
Provenance: N/A
Dated: c.1905-20
Length: 163 cms / 5.4 feet
Width: 100 cms / 3.3 feet


The rectangular shaped central hooked rag rug on a ruby red outer ground, having a multi-coloured patchwork design with thick ebony cloud border survives from the first quarter of the twentieth century.

In good overall order considering the age of this piece, there is however some slight fraying to one side.

Rag rugs were not common before the nineteenth century and only a tiny number of early rugs have survived, each proving hard to date. The earliest dated English example harks back to 1863 though in 1815 one was lovingly crafted from army uniforms worn at the Battle of Waterloo (Tennant 1992 52). Rag rugs haven’t survived due to new rugs being made each year and the oldest ones then being discarded whilst people associated them with poverty and got rid of them as soon as they could afford to. In addition, unlike quilting and patchwork, the craft was never taken up by the leisured Victorian middle classes and so remained hidden and unrecorded.

In vogue during the early twentieth century amidst the Arts and Crafts Movement, rag rugs’ popularity exploded during the Depression, when most people chose either to forgo floor covering or create it from scratch. Rags were the perfect Depression-era resource, fulfilling the motto of the time: “Use it up; wear it out. Make it do or do without”.

Adaptable to country, modern, vintage, or eclectic interiors this is a rare and splendidly colourful piece, its multi-coloured patches not only hide dirt and pet hair, its all-natural wool wears like iron and we’re pretty sure you won’t see another like it.

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