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ORTS has been organising visits to collections and travel abroad for our members since it was founded in 1977.  These have included textile tours to around 15 countries in Europe and Asia, and behind-the-scenes guided visits to more than fifty private collections, museums, galleries and auction houses in the UK.

Announcements about all forthcoming members' visits are made in the monthly ORTS newsletters.

Our next overseas visit - Bulgaria 20th to 30th October 2024

A special tailor-made 10 night, 11 day tour of Bulgaria has been organised for members in conjunction with the British-Bulgarian Society, who have been running tours since 1952. Flights will be from Heathrow. The tour will begin and end in Sofia, with a route which takes in the famous kilim-weaving centres of Chiprovtsi and Kotel; the carpet factory at Konstandovo; Plovdiv, Etura and the Textile Museum in Sliven. There will be visits to weavers’ homes and curatorial talks on their historic collections at ethnographic museums, and some sampling of the local food and wine, no doubt.

The visit will include an evening viewing of his private collection with Jaap van Beelen, whose kilims feature in an exhibition of Bulgarian kilims, Stories in Colour currently showing at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Paris. The exhibition closes on June 14th. Jaap will be giving a paper at ICOC in Istanbul.

Please contact Fiona Kerlogue on for details of the itinerary and costs. There are a maximum of 14 places.

Some recent trips

3rd April 2024. Visit to Royal Pavilion, Brighton and Brighton Museum.

A morning talk and tour of the splendid Royal Pavilion, designed in the early 19th century to astound the guests of the extravagant and stylish Prince Regent followed by a whole afternoon behind the scenes at the Museum examining some of their fine collection of textiles from across Burma.

8th February 2024 Visit to Leighton House, Kensington.

Senior curator Daniel Robbins introduced us to the house, its history and contents, which includes textiles and rugs. Lunch afterwards at the Samad al Iraqi restaurant rounded off an excellent visit.

8th November 2023 Visit to Burma to Myanmar exhibition, The British Museum.

Museum curator Dr Alexandra Green welcomed us in the Asia Study Room at the British Museum for an introductory talk before we visited the exhibition itself, where there were a range of textiles reflecting Burma’s diversity and rich heritage.

8th October 2023 Visit to Knole House in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Emma Slocombe, the National Trust's Senior National Curator for Dress and Textiles, introduced us to the magnificent house, full of interest, the highlight being the 17th century Persian carpet in a design known as  'Portuguese'. 

ORTS trip to Poland 4-10 September 2023

Sheelagh Killeen, Dr Beata Biedrońska-Słota, Susan Deliss, and Dr Fiona Kerlogue. Dr Gilli

ORTS members with curator Beata Biedrońska-Słota, who led us on a gallery tour of textiles and carpets in the National Museum, Krakow.

In conjunction with ORTS member Joanna Wasilewska, director of the Asia & Pacific Museum in Warsaw, a trip to Poland took place recently including three days in Warsaw, where we enjoyed curator-led and behind-the-scenes tours, including the Tin Palace, where we had a private visit to see the off-view Sahakian collection, and the National Museum of Ethnography. This was followed by a three-night stay in in Krakow, where we again had curator-led tours, including to the spectacular Turkish tents in Wawel Castle, the National Museum (above) and the Czartoryski Museum. 


8th August 2023 Visit to Kettle's Yard and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

At Kettle's Yard we saw the exhibition 'Material Power - Palestinian Embroidery'; at the Fitzwilliam we enjoyed a private view of the collection of saddle rugs from Persia from the late 19th and early 20th centuries made by R.G. Gayer-Anderson in Cairo.

18th July 2023 Visit to Boughton House in Northamptonshire

Members enjoyed a private visit to Boughton House to see some very special early carpets as well as enjoying the splendid Mortlake tapestries on display.

12th - 24th November 2022 Tour to Cambodia 

This long-awaited tour was organised by ORTS members Geoffrey Saba & Sheelagh Killeen in conjunction with Indus Experiences in London. Reports from the trip will feature in future editions of the ORTS journal.

6th September 2022 Visit to the Burrell Collection in Glasgow for a private guided tour of the Islamic carpets and textiles, including the magnificent Wagner Carpet, and to Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, for a private viewing of Burrell's famous suzani collections. And, of course, two of Glasgow's Middle Eastern restaurants!

IMG_20220906_145413061 S G smallest.jpg
ORTS members at the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre in September 2022 with curator Noorah Al-Gailani.

14th July 2022 Visit to Haslemere Educational Museum for a private view of East European textiles, and The Oriental Rug Gallery, Haslemere, to see a private view of a special exhibition of Syrian and Lebanese textiles.


ORTS members at the Oriental Rug Gallery in Haslemere, image copyright and courtesy of Anas Al Akhoann and Sandre Blake, July 2022.

10th May 2022 Visit to Janie Lightfoot Conservation in Harlesden to learn about the techniques and see some wonderful examples.

26th August 2021 Visit to the Epic Iran exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with introduction from the curator.


27th July 2021 Visit to the home of Professor Paul Benjamin to see his collection of rugs from South West Persia.


5th – 18th June 2019 Kyrgyzstan. Felt-making and embroidery as well as an overnight in a yurt camp, a demonstration of hunting with golden eagles, and riding on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul.

5th April 2019 Visit and Talk: Carpets and Textiles at the Freud Museum at the Freud Museum, London.

24th April 2018 Private reception and gallery tour of Art of the Islamic and Indian worlds at Christie’s London, with Louise Broadbent, International Head of Department, Oriental Rugs and Carpets, Christie’s.

27th – 29th September 2017 Switzerland, with a special visit to the Abegg-Stiftung Foundation in the foothills of the Bernese Alps, for a private tour of the collections.

30th April – 12th May 2017 Northern Iran, including visits to museums, bazaars and carpet making workshops.

22nd – 26th March 2017 Netherlands, with a special visit to the Textile Research Centre in Leiden.

17th - 30th September 2016 Gujarat, India. Block-printing, embroidery, double ikat weaving, mashru weaving, single ikat weaving, silk, cotton, mirrorwork.

17th February 2016 Visit with Curator for South Asian Textiles Rosemary Crill to the Victoria and Albert Museum Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles and Fashion Study and Conservation, London.

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