We carry the world’s finest selection of Savonnerie Carpets. Search our online collection of Savonnerie Carpets for your perfect Savonnerie Carpet. We are New York's premier dealer of Savonnerie Carpets. Can't find the Savonnerie Carpet you’re looking for? Contact us, we have hundreds of Savonnerie design styles in stock.
We carry the world’s finest selection of Savonnerie rugs. Search our online collection of Savonnerie rugs for your perfect Savonnerie rug. We are New York's premier dealer of Savonnerie rugs. Can't find the Savonnerie rug you’re looking for? Contact us, we have hundreds of Savonnerie design styles in stock.
A History of Savonnerie Carpets
European carpet production, far from developing independently, drew inspiration from a complex pattern of influences, journeys and diplomatic relations. This was particularly true in France of the High Renaissance, where the prestige and value of oriental carpets prompted the setting up of court weaving workshops. By the mid 17th century the most famous of these manufactories, La Savonnerie in Paris, was producing carpets for the court of Louis XIV that were technically, but no longer aesthetically, indebted to Eastern traditions.
The market continues to demonstrate that great French connoisseurs are among the foremost collectors of outstanding carpets, like for example the most expensive carpet of any provenance, a Louis XV Savonnerie. This taste dates back to the 17th century, when diplomatic visits from Ottoman and Persian emissaries to the court of Louis XIV were marked by a dazzling display of fabrics, textiles and carpets. Naturally, such visits served as opportunities for negotiations, ostentatious displays and exchange of gifts. Sometimes a carpet was presented as a gift and subsequently reproduced. Many such gifts were made during the 17th and 18th centuries from the Levant and the Ottoman Porte (Persia, Near East and Turkey).
Concerned at the outflow of gold for the purchase of luxury objects from abroad, including tapestries and carpets, Henri IV (1533-1610) had earlier established artisans' workshops in the Louvre. These enabled specially chosen crafstmen, including famous Parisian cabinet makers and bronze casters, to exercise their skills. The project was subsequently continued by Louis XIII, and for economic and protectionist reasons Colbert urged Louis IV to develop this production, which it was hoped would come rival that of the Near East.
In 1644 it was decided to reinstall the weaving workshops in an abandoned soap factory in the village of Chaillot, just outside Paris. The management of the manufactory was entrusted to two entrepreneurs, Pierre Dupont and Simon Lourdet, who received confirmation of this decision on 13 October 1644 in Royal Letters Patent, specifying their privileges and the use of the premises of La Savonnerie. The furnishings made in the new workshops thus acquired the name "Savonnerie".
Made in about 1660. the first so-called Louis XIII carpets were extraordinarily fine in texture, with a blue or brown ground and a floral decoration of so-called "persian" inspiration, often with campanes (ornamental carvings with fringes and tassels), baskets and ribbons. Carpets of this type, about which little is known. may be found in collections such as the Wrightsman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Later, Colbert co-ordinated the production of a vast and unified series of carpets celebrating the magnificence, glory and harmonious governance of the Sun King (Louis XIV). Overall unity was given by the border of oves, the brown ground (nowadays referred to as black) and acanthus leaves.
La Savonnerie used to work mainly for the royal garde-meuble, which was in charge of Palace furnishings. After Louis XIV lost interest in the Louvre, these carpets were kept rolled up in the garde-meuble and brought out only on special occasions. They survived the 18th century without mishap. At the time of the Revolution their high aesthetic quality caused them to be put up for auction or used as currency to pay tradesmen; their size, however, was not in their favor, and bas-reliefs and medallions were sometimes simply cut out. Nonetheless, these carpets were one of the most important projects in the field of the decorative arts of the 17th century.