Oriental rugs at the Tin-Roofed Palace

For Annette who has a liking for rugs, and whose knowledge I could’ve used as I walked around the exhibition.

J leaves for six weeks R&R in Australia on Tuesday. To still my anxieties, mainly to do with single-handed twin-wrangling, I visit the Tin-Roofed Palace, just below the Royal Castle, last seen in dawn light on an early morning walk. It has a long history, beginning as the house of the Royal Armourer around 1651. From 1777 it held apartments for the court of King Stanisław August, and was connected with the Castle by a library building. In 1820 it was sold by the King’s niece to the Russian Emperor, Alexander 1, and it belonged to his successors till 1915. It was partly burnt down during the German rampage in WW2, and rebuilt in 1948, using in part the paintings of Canaletto the Younger. Now it’s home to an exhibition of carpets (today’s goal) and prince’s apartments, reconstructed as they were in the early 19th century (for another day.)  The name of the palace refers to the copper sheets covering the roof, a rarity in the first half of the 18th century.

I wasn’t expecting the level of calmness offered by dim light and the rich colours of carpets lining the walls in twelve rooms. 

Most of the rugs are from the nineteenth century: Caucasian, Persian, Turkish, Anatolian, Middle Eastern and Uzbek. They were collected by Teresa Sahakian (1915-2007), a Pole living in Belgium, and her husband, George, an Armenian and a diplomat, who had a remarkable knowledge of oriental art. It’s one of the largest collections of oriental rugs in the world. As well as carpets there is also a collection of Montelupo pottery plates from the 17th century, a few Aubusson tapestries, and a pair of chairs.

But it’s predominantly carpets.

Prayer rugs fill a couple of rooms. Nearly all of them feature the customary mihrab shape in the centre. 

I leave the calm and colour for the chilly outside, the view across the underpass and back up to Castle Square, and the reality of J’s departure.

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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19 Responses to Oriental rugs at the Tin-Roofed Palace

  1. Heyjude says:

    I love the detail and colour in oriental carpets, but they are a bit busy for my decor. I remember well the two Aussies returning to Sydney carrying a Persian carpet overland. When stuck overnight in a warehouse due to border closure, (Iran/Afghanistan) they calmly rolled it out on the dusty floor to sleep on. I have often wondered over the years if they ever got it home.


  2. restlessjo says:

    Oh, sweetheart! I hope you’re ok. 😦 I’m still hanging on waiting for news of Gilly after her last text too. Anything new for you? You’ll have your hands full for a while so I won’t pester you. So much beauty in the world alongside the ugliness, Meg. I love those little caricatures in the circles, though like Jude I wouldn’t give them house room. 🙂 🙂


  3. Rosemary Barnard says:

    The warmth and colour appeal to me also. Did I spy a couple of stylised ducks on one of the rugs? Keep warm and busy, but not TOO busy, and watch your step on icy pavements. Hugs.


  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Gorgeous rugs, I wouldn’t want to own one but wonderful to see rooms full of them. I remember going to a carpet museum in the depths of Turkey, it was exquisite. What an interesting person Teresa Sahakian must have been!


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