Dealer James Cohen.

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1 How did you get your start?

I worked for David Black Oriental Carpets in Notting Hill as a teenager having met him through his son Ivan with whom I was at school.

David was one of the leading dealers in the country at the time and had a magnificent eye for great rugs and textiles. He became something of a mentor.

2 Something you secretly hope you’ll never sell?

As a dealer everything is for sale, although I do take things home for a while quite often. It’s a perk of the job but I usually move things on when I want to take something else home.

At the moment I have a really wonderful tiny 18th century Greek Island embroidery that has been at home for about two or three years, but I will bring it to LARTA for its first outing.


An 18th century Skyros silk embroidery on muslin ground. Frame measures 14 x 11in (35.5 x28cm).

3 What is something you’d love to get your hands on – a ‘holy grail’ in your area?

Well, it’s more of a joke among dealers but of course I hope for a Salor Ensi! There’s only a dozen or so examples known worldwide of a particularly spectacular type of tribal tent door rug. It is a deeply moving experience looking at one, which I’ve only had the chance to do once, many years ago.

4 One item you couldn’t do without?

Maybe not an ‘item’ per se but I’ve often thought how terrible it would be if I lost my eyesight as I would never be able again to look at the most beautiful textile art in the world: antique rugs

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Oh, I love real ale and can’t drink coffee because it makes me too jittery.

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