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Elegance Unveiled: Exploring the Rich Heritage of French Savonnerie Rugs

SAVONNERIE FRANCE EARLY 19TH CENTURY

Dive into the rich history and exquisite craftsmanship of French Aubusson and Savonnerie rugs, dating back to the 1600s. These luxurious handwoven masterpieces originated under the patronage of French royalty, featuring intricate designs, vibrant colors, and motifs inspired by Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical art. From the opulent floral patterns and mythological scenes to the high-quality wool and silk materials, these rugs epitomize the artistic heritage and meticulous craftsmanship of 17th and 18th-century France. Today, they are prized possessions for collectors and elegant additions to any home, reflecting centuries of tradition and timeless beauty.

Tracing the History of French Elegance Through Exquisite Carpets

The rich story of this extraordinary carpet is as colorful and magical as one could expect, starting in the 1600s, the manufacturing started from concerns of Henri IV to revive the French luxury arts, which had collapsed due to the disorders of civil violence in the civil wars between French Catholics and French Protestants. The production started in an artistic workshop in the Louvre, but the Savonnerie carpet production soon moved to workshops outside of Paris, in an abandoned soap factory, therefore the name, which means “soap fabric” in French. 

The earliest production of the rugs is referred to as “Louis XIII carpets” and had traits like carpets from the Orient. At this time, the Savonnerie carpets were exclusively woven for palaces, and the production was made by the greatest artist from the royal court. As a new King came to the throne, the carpets would be designed to mirror their artistic expressions. 

The golden era of Savonnerie carpets was from 1650 to 1789, up until the French Revolution. When the revolution had started, the production of these royal carpets moved to the prestigious Goblins factory in Paris which was a royal weaving center for tapestries. Goblins was known worldwide as one of the best in quality and craftmanship. In the 18th century, the Savonnerie phenomenon started spreading across the European aristocracy which wanted to follow the traditional fashions of the previous French Court. 

Today, the carpets are made with the same technique as back then, under the supervision of French artisans. The quality holds up, they are recreated down to the last little detail. Savonnerie rugs are celebrated for their artistry and craftsmanship, making them prized possessions for private collectors and a symbol of historical French luxury. Many of these original period works are shown in museums. 

Designed with the style of a royal aristocrat 

The designs are recognized by their intricate designs, often featuring elaborate floral motifs, architectural elements, and sometimes even mythological scenes. Often inspired by Baroque and Rococo Art, since this reflected the style and taste of the French court. As mentioned earlier, some of the early carpets were actually inspired by Persian rugs, but soon they settled to their style - French Savonnerie style with armorial framed medallions, flowers in large bouquets, and framed by multiple layers of borders.  

The colors were often vibrant, and carefully selected to enhance the opulent appearance which made them so unique. 

Like many other antique carpets, the Savonnerie is woven on a vertical loom with a cotton warp and weft. They are hand-knotted, which takes high skills and is very time-consuming, also being one of the reasons for their high value. 

Aubusson rugs – another acclaimed French Carpet 

In the small town of Aubusson in France was one of the finest tapestries and rug producers in Europe. They gained prominence under the patronage of French royalty and aristocracy, during the 17th and 18th centuries. Aubusson rugs were flat-woven using a technique similar to tapestry weaving, which allowed for fine details suitable for the royal. and intricate designs. Some of the details were made with silk threads, for added luster, while the main part of the rug was made with, high-quality wool. 

The Neoclassical movement

A Neoclassical rug is a type of rug that embodies the aesthetic principles of the Neoclassical movement, which emerged in the late 18th century as a reaction against the ornate Rococo style. The designs took a lot from the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, and the designs were often symmetrical, reflecting the Neoclassical belief in order and harmony. The colors were more subdued compared to earlier styles, often using soft pastels and neutral and muted tones. Today this type of rug is also highly collectible because of its historical significance and timeless grace. 

This traditional hand-woven French Savonnerie in a beautiful brown color would make your bedroom a beautiful, Zen space when paired with furniture in antique style. Think a canopy bed with draping velvet curtains in sage green and a large antique mirror with thick frames. This rug is early 19th Century, and the cusped flowerhead lozenge gives the rug a touch of femininity despite its otherwise more masculine touch.

AUBUSSON FRENCH MID 19TH CENTURY

This traditional hand-woven French Aubusson rug has delicate floral sprays, flowerheads, and leaf motifs decorated on a more muted color of shaded gold. Even though it’s a detailed pattern, this is an antique French carpet that would look good with most styles of home. It’s not too big, so placing it in the center of a living room with a nice coffee table and designed couch would make it an exquisite space. Mid-century designed á la Swedish style would make a nice pair with this Mid-19th century Frenchie. 

SAVONNERIE FRANCE LATE 19TH CENTURY

Live out your Marie Antoinette dreams with this divine Savonneire carpet with a pattern and details in extraordinary motifs. The taste is very unique, and having this in your home is a statement. A rug like this would be beautiful in a bedroom of more simplified furniture, making the rug the main piece and letting it shine. Picture a bedroom with a light cedar wood bed frame, clean-cut bedside tables with matching dresser, and well-curated black and white art photography on the wall. The contrast of antique and subtle modern will make the room feel designed.