It often happens that people fall in love with the colors or pattern of an Oriental rug and then wonder where did it come from, what sort of people might have made it and how did they live.
"Art Underfoot," the beauty of Oriental rugs and the curiosity that beauty evokes, will be the theme of the 22nd annual Hunt Valley Antiques Show this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn.
The show, sponsored by the Women's Auxiliary of Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland, will be more than just an opportunity to buy from more than 50 of the country's top antique dealers. As usual, the event will include three lectures on antiques and rugs, and a museum-type loan exhibit of extraordinary antique rugs from dealers and collectors.
"People can grow to appreciate rugs even more if they understand how they're made and in what conditions," says Cornelia Montgomery, an internationally known lecturer on Islamic art and Oriental carpets, who will give a lecture on antique Oriental rugs at the show. "How rugs are made has a lot to do with the way they look."
Among the Persian rugs she specializes in, some, such as the Kashan, Tabriz and Kerman rugs, are planned and designed works of art. These very floral and refined urban rugs are made following an elaborate pattern.
Others with more geometric patterns are made by nomads on horizontal looms on the ground.
"These nomads are continually migrating, and the patterns are part of their cultural vocabulary which they just have in their heads. They have names like Qashqai, Afshar, Lori and Bakhtiari," says Ms. Montgomery, who works with internationally known rug dealer Peter Pap of Keene, N.H.
"People are drawn to a refined design because they have associations with Persian art or because that's the way their decor is. Other people like a kind of geometric look, but they don't really realize they're done in very different circumstances in very different conditions."
Ms. Montgomery's lecture, entitled "Understanding the Oriental Rugs You Love," will be given at 11 a.m. Saturday and will include a slide show with pictures of different types of Persian rugs and of the people who make them. Tickets, which include a catalog and admission to the show, are $15.
On Friday at 11 a.m. Douglas Bucher -- a well-known historical architect and restoration coordinator with Mesick, Cohen, Waite Architects in Albany, N.Y. -- will give a lecture, "Floor Covering in the 18th and 19th Centuries." Several years ago Mr. Bucher participated in the restoration of Homewood House at Johns Hopkins University. Tickets for this lecture are also $15 and include admission and a catalog.
On Friday and Saturday mornings at 10, Catherine Nelson Csobaji, a decorative arts consultant trained at Christie's in London, will give preshow tours entitled "Good, Better, Best." Tickets are $15; they include admission to the show, plus coffee and pastries.
The antiques show itself, run by Armacost Antiques Shows Ltd., will have 54 dealers with a number from the Mid-Atlantic region including Irvin and Delores Boyd from Fort Washington, Pa.; Brendan & Becker of White Stone, Va.; Brill's Antiques of Newport News, Va.; Campbell House Antiques of Kennett Square, Pa.; Kendall Chew and John Formicola of Philadelphia; Peter W. Chillingworth of Scenery Hill, Pa.; Country Classiques of Lebanon, Pa.; Robert David of Gladwyne, Pa.; James Galley of Lederach, Pa.; and Iron Gate Antiques of Occoquan, Va.
Also at the show will be Country Lane Antiques of Quarryville, Pa.; June Lambert Antiques of Alexandria, Va.; Matthews and Shank Antiques of Shepherdstown, W.Va.; Amalia F. Milione of Ardmore, Pa.; Herbert Schiffer of West Chester, Pa.; Peggy and Jerry Smith of West Chester, Pa.; John and Patricia Snead/Time & Strike of McLean, Va.; James Wilhoit Antiques of Alexandria, Va.; and R. M. Worth Inc. of Chadds Ford, Pa.
Among the Marylanders at the show will be two from Bethesda. Bettie Mintz of All of Us Americans Folk Art will have ship paintings plus American Indian jewelry, blankets and rugs from before 1940. The Print Portfolio will have antique prints including botanicals, natural history, historical, English sporting subjects plus American, European and Oriental views.
Marsha Moylan and Jackie Smelkinson, who call their business the Spare Room, are the only Baltimoreans. The two friends, who do 18 shows a year throughout the country and have been part of the Hunt Valley show for the last 12 years, specialize in British biscuit tins, Georgian and Victorian jewelry, English ceramics and American silver flatware, primarily Baltimore and Art Nouveau patterns.
Aileen Minor of Princess Anne is bringing 18th and 19th century furniture, paintings and accessories, plus antique garden furniture.