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Gavin Hamilton dies aged 90

Gavin-HamiltonThe death of renowned carpet designer Gavin Hamilton has been announced. He was 90.

Hamilton was born in Rutherglen, Glasgow in 1923 as the youngest of eight children. He excelled at art, technical drawing and woodwork at school but left with no formal qualifications but had a talent and was determined to put it to good use.

From a young age he had dreamed of working at Templeton's Carpets in Glasgow. Despite discouragement throughout his school years his flair shone through and he started at the iconic factory in April 1940. However Templeton's soon closed for the rest of the war and Hamilton served in the army from 1942-1946.

After the war he returned to Templeton's, where he won a sponsored bursary to study at the Glasgow School of Art and through this he travelled to Paris then London to continue his studies, visiting numerous museums. Two of his Chinese illustrations still adorn the dining room of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The Federation of Carpet Manufacturers offered a prize of £50 for a suitable symbol to be put on all British carpets and Hamilton won the competition. He moved from Templeton's in Glasgow to their London office in the early 1950s as contract designer. There, he designed carpets for the first-class cabins of P&O, Cunard and Canadian Pacific Shipping.

He also produced special designs for famous buildings including 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, the House of Lords and Marlborough House.

After Hamilton put the first carpet in the House of Lords, he told his family that he 'sat on the wool sack and smoked a cigar – that's more than Churchill ever managed to do!'

He was called back to Templeton's in Glasgow as chief designer in 1972 where he continued until 1980, when the company was taken over by Guthrie Group. He then began working freelance, including private carpet designs for Elton John, Paul McCartney, Adam Ant and Michael Flateley.

In recent years, his health declined, and he passed away four months short of his 91st birthday on 21 July. He is survived by his daughters Gail and Leigh.