Charles Grant Ellis was one of the top experts of Oriental Rugs of the Twentieth Century. He is remembered for his knowledge and his books but there was more to Charlie Ellis or "Uncle Charlie" as he was known in his later years. I hope a few pictures will gave a greater look into the man.
by the way Ellis was a connoisseur, a collector, and the expert but he was not a dealer which made him very unusual.
Charlie Ellis lived in Kingston New York. Kingston is a prosperous town on the Hudson river about 90 miles north of New York City and 60 miles south of Albany.
|Hajji Meeting 1965. from www.hajjibaba.org Ellis center left with the bow tie.|
Ellis grew up with Oriental Rugs. I remember lunch with Carol Bier at the Ritz Carlton on Massachusetts Ave near the old Textile Museum in Washington DC. She was reminiscing on how Charlie Ellis got started in rugs. Charlie's mother asked him to pick up some rugs that were in a shop for cleaning. It was the first time he ever really looked at them and he decided that he wanted to know what they were.
Ellis created a substantial collection over his lifetime. see last image for one of his best.
Ellis was best known for his writing on Classical Carpets but his own taste was eclectic cutting across the broad gamut of hand woven Oriental Rugs.
Besides the Ellis home in Kingston the old Textile Museum in Washington DC was almost like a second home. Charlie was a research associate of the TM and some of his greatest work was in association with the Museum.
That work includes Early Caucasian Rugs (Ellis, Charles Grant. Early Caucasian Rugs. Washington DC: The Textile Museum, 1975.) It is a book that is my favorite look at Caucasian Dragon Rugs. It stands tall even 40 years later. Most people who read rug literature skim the pictures and read the captions. Some hardy souls actually read the text but with Ellis the gems are hidden in the foot notes. If you do not digest the footnotes you will never really get Ellis.
Besides the TM another favorite was the Cosmos Club one of Washington DC elite dining clubs.
The Tapedi Damascheni. Why they would append the appellation Tapedi Damascheni to this rug leaves me wondering.