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The Denbigh Farm Carpet
in Americana at Stair on January 28 & 29 at 11am ONLINE

Joseph and Permelia Reed searched without success for the perfect carpet to put in Joseph’s round study. Everything that was available to them was either the wrong size, color or shape. As the Reeds were known for their love of needlework, Permelia began toying with the idea of making a carpet themselves to fit the circular room.

In 1945, along with designer Alice Carson, Permelia and Joseph created a round carpet incorporating the fruits and flowers grown at Denbigh Farm, as well as scenes of the estate including a views from the front walk, the stable and the swimming pool. The carpet would include 23 panels and be 12’6” in diameter.

The first sketches arrived in July. There were many options to decide from. Changes were made and new ideas added and in August a final plan was agreed upon.

In October of 1945, Joseph Reed barely home from the war and settled in again at Denbigh, the carpet began to arrive in a succession of packages. Each neat parcel contained two or three pieces of the sketched-in canvas plus wads of wool. When it had all arrived and was unpacked and sorted, the inventory was as follows: 23 larges pieces of unworked canvas; 8 cartons filled with skeins and skeins of multi-colored wools; and a blueprint showing how eventually the pieces were to be fitted to make a round carpet 12’6” in diameter.

Work began on the Denbigh Farm carpet in the winter of 1946. Permelia started with the embroidery of the fine-stitched medallions and fruits and flowers while her husband Joseph filled in the double blue stitches of the background.  

That summer, the carpet began traveling with the Reed family. First to the Adirondacks, then Denver that fall, then Florida each winter. It motored around Europe the summer of 1947. The carpet even went on short trips to Deerfield, Boston, and New York. It saw Jackson Hole in 1948, and it visited England and Scandinavia in 1949.

Finally, after more than four years of continuous work, the carpet’s embroidery was finished in the spring of 1950 and was delivered to Rosetta Larsen for mounting. It took three months of stretching, fitting, sewing, banding, and lining to finish the job. In July of 1950, the carpet was delivered to Denbigh Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut and it was laid in Joseph’s round study.

The Reeds were known for their love of needlework and would often work on joint projects together before their busy social engagements. Mr. Reed was the attaché to Amory Houghton and Douglas Dillon at the US Embassy in Paris, and the Reeds were founders of the famed Hobe Sound, Florida. 

Time & Location

January 29 at 11am ONLINE

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