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Langhorne reproduces Flawless Carpets for Virginia State Capitol
16
Dec '10
The carpet in the Virginia capitol's Governor's Office and the Old House Chamber is as spectacular as the original thanks to a historic collaboration between Virginia officials and Pennsylvania's legendary Langhorne Carpet Company.

Meticulously recreating the highest quality Wilton carpet for the Old House Chamber and the Governor's Office – dating back respectively to 1830 and 1910 – was no small task given the absence of a single surviving carpet fiber let alone a swatch in the Palladian-style structure (one of the few state capitols without a dome).

Bruce Jamerson, Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates and a leader of the Capitol restoration project, said, "With the help of 19th-century artwork, including a George Catlin painting, and other archival material, Langhorne reproduced all wool, hand-seamed carpet so authentic that Jefferson, Madison, or Monroe could not tell replica from original." The mill, located in historic Bucks County just outside Philadelphia, loomed roughly 500 total square yards of carpet between the two interiors and completed installation in 2007.

Jamerson said the working relationship was so successful that Virginia and Langhorne have now entered a licensing arrangement by which the 80-year-old mill can make the distinctive Virginia Capitol designs for homes, offices or other public buildings. The Old House Chamber carpet is an elegant Empire design featuring 18-24 inch gold medallions set against a terra-cotta background. The Governor's Office carpet emotes an Edwardian-period design highlighted by gold and beige rosettes framed by a blue background.

"In our 80-year history, this is the first time we have entered a co-venture with one of our historic-restoration clients," explained Bill Morrow, Langhorne Carpet's CEO. "It is only fitting that one of America's most historically-significant public buildings debuts our new Capitol Collection."

The refreshed carpeting was part of an ongoing, remarkable building makeover. LCA Associates of Philadelphia was tapped to direct this aspect of the project that included the Jefferson-designed Old House Chamber, where the Virginia House of Delegates met prior to the building's expansion in 1906.

Gail Caskey Winkler, co-principal at LCA, selected Langhorne Carpet Co. for its superior skill and extensive experience with highly challenging historic restorations – including the U.S. House of Representatives in Congress Hall, Philadelphia; Illinois State House, Springfield; Massachusetts State House, Boston, among others. Winkler, whose firm has consulted on numerous historically–significant public buildings, commented, "We partnered with Langhorne, because they make wonderful carpets and have great respect for authenticity."

Langhorne Carpet Company Inc

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