Peyron rugs 1. Angelo Peyron and the Val Bisenzio Wool Mill Angelo Peyron (1864 - 1919) was an industrialist of Piedmontese and French origins, whose father Giuseppe (1836 - 1886) had moved to Tuscany in 1865, following the Savoia court when the Italian capital was transferred from Turin to Florence, to trade "upholstery and different fabrics ". In Florence, Peyron opened a shop in via Panzani (photo) and later in 1870 a branch also in Rome and later, in the early 1900s a third one in Livorno. After the death of his father, Angelo took over the family business which he successfully run and expanded, until he decided in 1896 to engage himself also in the production by purchasing a small factory in Mercatale di Vernio, near Prato. Initially the factory, which took the name of “Lanificio val Bisenzio”, was meant only for restoring used oriental rugs, employing the skilled local workers (fabbrichine). Shortly thereafter, a new production of hand-knotted rugs began, marketed under the “Mercatal” brand. 2. The Mercatal rug "Mercatal" rugs, were made using wool carded, spun and dyed by the Lanificio Val Bisenzio. They were hand-knotted by skilled local workers, called ‘trecciaiole’ trained in straw braiding, a typical working area of Prato industry, which entered into great crisis when the new wool mill was founded. The rug manufacturing was very successful, obtaining the Grand Prize at the Milan Exposition of 1906 and at the Turin International Exposition of 1911. In 1911 it received the certificate of "Supplier of His Holiness the Pope" from the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Apostolic Palaces and the licence to insert in the Company stationery the "Coat of Arms of the Royal House" by Queen Margherita of Savoia. In addition, in 1908 it was appointed as "Supplier of His Imperial Majesty, the Ottoman Sultan", with an ‘iradé’ issued by the Imperial Palace of Yildiz, which the Peyron firm had contributed to furnishing. (photo) In 1912, the company already had a catalogue of about 150 rug patterns mostly drawn from Oriental, Turkish, Caucasian, Chinese and Central Asian specimens, but also French, Savonnerie and Aubusson. The rugs were knotted on vertical looms with symmetrical wool knots tied on a foundation of jute or mixed wool and jute wefts, with cotton warps. rugs of various sizes could be obtained from each design, and the looms could have up to six weavers working simultaneously on the same rug (photo). For weaving a square meter of rug, it took five to ten days of work by an expert worker. For this reason, the Mercatal rug was a rather expensive product that costed 23 lire per square meter. 3. The Florentine style rug "San Miniato" Alongside normal production, the Company also created 'unique pieces' made experimentally or by commission. Among these, a very peculiar type that called of “Florentine style” deserve particular interest because it was inspired by motifs of the city's artistic tradition. The marble inlay panels of the thirteenth-century floors of the Baptistery of San Giovanni and of the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte were chosen as a model. From documents of the wool mill, recently acquired by the Prato Textile Museum, it appears that some prototypes of these rugs were woven on commission around the 1930s. Two of these are kept in the Villa Peyron del Bosco di Fontelucente near Fiesole, today a Foundation, while a third and larger example has been recently and surprisingly rediscovered in Turkey (photos). The design is taken from one of the black and white inlaid floor panels of San Miniato al Monte, executed in 1207 and depicts a heraldic eagle with open wings in the centre, enclosed within a square and surrounded by a series of circular discs containing pairs of birds facing each other around a tree. (photos).