The history of the Lidchi family’s interest in Oriental carpets goes back to the 1860s.
The family originally came from Spain. However, at the time of the infamous Spanish Inquisition in the sixteenth century, being Jews, they were forced to flee Spain, and by way of the Greek Isles, found their way, eventually, to Constantinople, Turkey.
In the 1860s the family had set up business as dealers in, and exporters of, Persian and Turkish rugs in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which was then the world’s central market and gateway to the West for Oriental rugs. Up to that time, the Lidchi family had reputedly dealt in textiles and works of art. But, with the growing demand for eastern rugs in the prospering West for the mansions of the newly wealthy, the family saw potential for growth in this business.
By the late nineteenth century, “Lidchi” was becoming a well-established and respected name in the trade in Constantinople and amongst dealers from the West.
Henri, the son of the founder, was a rebel. He wanted to see the world, and could not be persuaded to stay at home. His father and uncles finally sent him on his way with a purse of gold coins and a half a dozen good rugs. Rather new to the ways of the world, he apparently had his purse stolen soon after arriving in Marseilles, France!