Dealer Alan Marcuson.

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1 How did you get your start?

In 1972 I went to the exhibition Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V McMullan Collection at the Hayward Gallery and that was it: I was hooked. I plunged into learning about rugs, started buying a few, and the next thing I knew people were buying some of them from me, and here I am 50 years later still collecting and dealing in them.

2 What challenges are the trade facing?

The looming recession, the cost of energy and water, and the problems of buying and selling in Europe as a result of Brexit. Economic backlash, post- Brexit and Covid have all made doing international business more difficult and more costly.


A roll of strip-woven cotton on a wooden rod, c.1900, Sierra Leone, 6 x 17in (15 x 43cm). Alan Marcuson says: “It is most unusual to find a roll of woven cotton like this straight off the loom. Weavers in Sierra Leone used a back-harness loom to weave strips of cloth that were used for making garments and would also have served as a form of currency. As the strip was woven it was wound around a wooden rod. It is likely that the weaver would have used it as currency, exchanging it for goods or services.”

3 What is one item you couldn’t do without?

My Japanese root carving of a guardian figure who has been watching over me for 50 years, and some of the porcelain pottery made by my late mother, who was a celebrated and accomplished potter in South Africa.

4 Who do you admire?

My old pal Dr Harry Greenberg, the Joseph D Grant professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology and associate dean of research at Stanford Medical School who is an exceptional and eclectic collector of rugs, textiles and many other things.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Neither, I don’t drink alcohol and I’ll stick to Fever Tree ginger beer.

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