The rug world's biggest star performer, or should we say star poser, is jon thompson the ex-doctor who was, as many rumors have it, asked to leave the medical profession because of his spending more time with carpets than patients.
Honestly, RK doesnt care enough about this self-propelled greedy ex-Turkmen rug-collecting imp to delve into whether or not he was kicked out of the medical system or just decided to "retire" from it.
One thing is sure ole jonny-boy's racking up the miles - being the May Beattie scholar, ho ho on that one, at the Ashmolean; writing the catalog for the latest Sheik Saud exhibition in Qatar "Silk and Ivory" (now tell me folks what the f-ck does thompson know about silk or ivory?), giving the keynote "speech" at acor (which was nothing more than a photo op to hype himself rather than even bother to discuss "rugs") plus who knows how many other rug club lectures and honorariums the ex-doc has chalked up in the last year or so.
Granted thompson has a fluid writing style, however, the vast majority of the content in his works is far less enviable or impressive.
In fact, to say thomspon's writing is flashy but not fleshy might be something of an understatement.
The best work he has done is undoubtedly the 1973 republication, with his annotations, of Bogolubyov. It is excellent even though there are stories swirling around that thompson pinched the S group identification from another researcher.
After that, as far as thompson's scholarship and not his literary savior faire its all down hill from there according to us and others in the know.
Let's remember the Imreli fiasco thompson tried to float in his textile museum catalog for the Turkmen show in DC in 1980. After being highly criticized by many for the abysmal lack of support, real or even imagined, for his Imreli thesis thompson tried to make light of his boner by saying it was a joke, a provocation.
Nonsense excuse if RK ever heard one, and only in rugDUMB where idiots with checkbooks parade their ignorance and lesser mortals cheer them on could someone live down such a disaster and come up roses.
The silly Imreli stunt was bad but thompson's next mis-step was an even larger one- the all and everything cloud-collar that was, according to thompson, the catch-all source for almost any rug design. Good golly-gosh, wasnt da mutter goddesse thesis good enough jonny-boy?
RK always has wondered whether the cloud-collar was just another dopey thompson bit of dull English humor, or did he really try to do the imreli one better?
Then, of course do you remember this photo, folks:
One thing is sure, thompson does but RK.com is sure he wishes you didn't.
This bogus repro of an early Turkish animal rug was purchased by one of our generations most active collectors for a reported $150,000.
It was purchased on the advice of thomspon and that other three time disgraced loser in rugDUMB, alan marcuson. The collector, like LACMA's Collector's Committee, really can't be blamed for buying a fake, as he relied totally on marcuson and thompson's reputations to protect him.
But thompson and marcuson deserved to have been run out of rugdom on a rail for their errors and their refusal to take responsibility.
One wonders if both of them didnt have some other agenda other than just being so apparently - stupid?
What was truly the kicker to this episode - the fact that both these supposed "ex-purts" needed to rely on a carbon 14 tesr to convince them the piece wasn't "right" - made them look even dumber than dumb.
Anyone with any real experience in early Turkish rugs could have made it for a repro from 6 feet away, let alone after handling it.
Amazingly, both thompson and marcuson rolled on as if nothing had happened - and the rug world apparently didnt' even bother to register the fact these two alleged experts couldn't tell repro from reality.
Ok marcuson has blasted himself out of the rug world through his second well-known financial bankruptcy that cleaned out his investors - family and friends - but thompson is still the rug world's darling.
Strike one= Imreli.
Strike two= the cloud collar.
Strike three=the repro animal rug fiasco. In baseball youre out, jonnyboy.
But in rugdom?
Nope, obviously not.
Will strike four finally make the dunces and dopes - the majority of rug world's population - wake up to the fact thompson is just another creepy shyster out to make a buck and get a free lunch besides?
Clowns like thompson should be laughed outta town, not fted. But hey am I the only one laughing??
Now in 2009 that fourth strike, RK mentioned back then, is a well-known one-- thompson's totally stupid blunder of vetting as genuine mid-16th century the bogus, late genre period, reproduction LACMA/doods "bellini" rug. Again the answer is nope, as thompson's teflon is still there, but will it be there much longer???