Antique Savonnerie Carpets

Antique Savonnerie Carpets top hr

Savonnerie Carpets - During the early seventeenth century, a weaver named Pierre DuPont traveled to the Levant.  Upon his return, he claimed to have discovered the technique of creating Turkish rugs.  Oriental rugs were extremely expensive during Bourbon times, and a French manufactory that could create the same type of rug would lower the price significantly.  Henri VI of France--the reigning monarch at the time--took advantage of DuPont’s skills and established a workshop for him at the Louvre.  In 1627, King Louis XIII founded a manufactory for DuPont and his apprentice, Simon Lourdet, on the site of a defunct soap factory in the sixteenth arrondissement (also known as Quai de Chaillot).  The name “Savonnerie” was born from the French word “savon” meaning “soap.”  DuPont and Lourdet worked together, weaving rugs under a royal patent for the king and other nobles, until they had a falling out and split up.  Lourdet remained at the Chaillot location while DuPont went to his workshops in the Louvre, though both continued to make Savonnerie rugs.  

DuPont’s discovery was an ancient weaving technique called the Ghiordes knot.  The Ghiordes is the oldest known knot used in carpet production.  It consists of a symmetrical structure achieved by passing a single weft yarn over two warp yarns, pulling through between before severing the yarn to create the pile.  The Giordes knot is characteristic of Turkish rugs.  This weaving technique created a more durable structure than the tapestries created by European weavers.  Tapestries were hung on walls, while the Turkish style French rugs were sturdy enough for foot traffic.  

When Louis XVI came to the French throne in 1643, he was a mere five years old, but in 1659 he began a phase of renovations for the Palais de Louvre, at which he commissioned 274  carpets--all of a length of twenty-nine feet with varying widths--from the Savonnerie manufactory.  The process was grueling and did not end until 1697 when the final carpet for the Louvre was woven.  His favorite artist, Charles Le Brun, drew up cartoons of rug designs for the Louvre’s Grande Galerie.  The designs consisted of a dark-colored background, filled with motifs of scrolls, cornucopias, flowers, arms of France, and the monogram of Louis.  Inventories of Louis’ possessions show that in the early years of his reign, he had a number of Turkish and Persian rugs, though they were gradually superseded by Savonnerie carpets.  At the same time, King Louis was hard at work supervising the construction of his grand new palace at Versailles, and he moved his residence at the Louvre for Versailles in 1678.  

Savonnerie carpets also served as grand diplomatic gifts from Louis to foreign ambassadors and other notables.  He gifted a collection of music-themed Savonnerie creations to the ambassador of Siam, where they stayed intact and in use for hundreds of years.  

The legacy of the Savonerie manufactory was a great one.  The carpets remained the exclusive property of the French rulers until 1768. In the same century, the classic Savonnerie designs were updated with lighter, brighter colors and Rococo elements.  The production of Savonnerie rugs declined in the latter half of the eighteenth century, until 1805 when the designs were revived by Napoleon. Twenty years later, the Savonnerie workshop merged with the Gobelins tapestry manufactory.  This marked the end of its independence, though the production was ever steady.  A number of the first Savonnerie designs still exist today, having survived the Fronde, the French Revolution, and two World Wars.  They have avoided going out of fashion by reinventing themselves from Louis XIV style to Rococo to French Empire to Art Deco and beyond.   

Antique Savonnerie carpets exemplify the formal grace and elegance of classical European design. Like Aubusson tapestry rugs, Savonneries originated in France when European taste turned away for a time from Oriental carpets in the later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries. Named for nearby factories that produced soap or "savon," Savonnerie rugs shared with Aubussons a Neo-Classical taste for naturalistic flowers and swags or garlands in soft colors on a dominant ivory field, except that they were made in knotted pile rather than tapestry technique. Later, carpets of this kind were made in other European centers, most notably in Spain.

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20 Rugs Found in Savonnerie Carpets

Antique Savonnerie French Rug 43937

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 6 ft 4 in x 9 ft
          (1.93 m x 2.74 m)
In style and color, this exquisitely crafted carpet provides an excellent example of the architectural and botanical elements favored by Baroque carpet weavers as well as the unique realism captured by their three-dimensional shading.

Modern Savonnerie Rug 46086

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 8 ft 4 in x 9 ft 10 in
          (2.54 m x 3 m)

Sale:

  • $2,500.00
Inspired by elegant European florals, this modern Savonnerie-style rug depicts a grandiose series of elaborate repeating motifs set over a chic golden-yellow field.

Modern Savonnerie Rug 44695

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 8 ft 1 in x 9 ft 11 in
          (2.46 m x 3.02 m)

Sale:

  • $2,500.00
Inspired by elegant European damasks, this modern Savonile rug displays a timeless style that incorporates a new take on authentic old-world European designs.

Modern Savonnerie Rug 44700

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 8 ft x 10 ft
          (2.44 m x 3.05 m)

Sale:

  • $3,000.00
With its angular motifs and warm golden-yellow visage, this modern Marbella carpet features an alluring combination of Safavid designs and European influences.

Modern Savonnerie Rug 44699

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 8 ft 1 in x 10 ft
          (2.46 m x 3.05 m)

Sale:

  • $2,600.00
Rustic evergreen garlands, botanical swags and delicately shaded pine cones enclose the quaint latticework pattern that decorates this modern Savonile rug.

Modern Savonnerie Rug 44696

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 8 ft 2 in x 10 ft 5 in
          (2.49 m x 3.17 m)

Sale:

  • $2,600.00
Inspired by elaborate Bessarabian carpets, this modern Savonile rug embodies an old-world style that incorporates dainty flowers rendered in chic pastel colors.

Antique Spanish Savonnerie Rug 46823

Style: Spanish Rug
Origin: Spanish Rugs
Size: 11 ft x 11 ft
          (3.35 m x 3.35 m)
This grand antique Spanish Savonnerie carpet showcases an exquisite architectural medallion and interwoven arabesque encased by lavish neoclassical borders.

Modern Savonneri Rug 44697

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 9 ft x 12 ft
          (2.74 m x 3.66 m)

Sale:

  • $2,750.00
Patterned after 17th century silk brocades, this modern Istana rug features a directional floral pattern with elegant medallions flanked by graceful panicles.

Antique Savonnerie European Rug 3234

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: European Rugs
Size: 9 ft 5 in x 13 ft 2 in
          (2.87 m x 4.01 m)

Sale:

  • $9,650.00
This late 19th century Savonnerie carpet features an architectural medallion, a charming coral pink latticework pattern and formal borders with acanthus leaf spandrels that epitomize the French neoclassical style.

Antique Savonnerie French Rug 44949

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 12 ft 6 in x 13 ft 9 in
          (3.81 m x 4.19 m)
This elegant Savonnerie carpet features lush tulips strewn across a rich chocolaty brown field.

Vintage Savonnerie Oriental Rugs 44055

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Chinese Rugs
Size: 11 ft 5 in x 14 ft 7 in
          (3.48 m x 4.44 m)

Sale:

  • $9,000.00
Known for their exact replicas, this Chinese carpet imitates the colors and composition of traditional European designs.

Antique Savonnerie French Rug 43724

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 14 ft x 14 ft 9 in
          (4.27 m x 4.5 m)
Half-circles and spheres in a larger cruciform arrangement comprise the octagonal field of this striking antique French Savonnerie.

Antique Savonnerie Spanish Carpet 3253

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Spanish Rugs
Size: 13 ft 6 in x 16 ft 5 in
          (4.11 m x 5 m)

Sale:

  • $9,000.00
An elegant open medallion design graces the field of this elegantly restrained antique French Savonnerie carpet.

Antique Savonnerie European Rug 43682

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: European Rugs
Size: 10 ft 5 in x 16 ft 11 in
          (3.17 m x 5.16 m)
Antique French Savonnerie carpets like this are prized for the stately restraint of their design, and the quality of their color.

Antique Savonnerie French Rug 3204

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 14 ft x 17 ft
          (4.27 m x 5.18 m)
The delicate medallion surrounded by interlocking swags or flower garlands is quintessentially in the antique French Savonnerie tradition.

Antique Savonnerie European Rug 43688

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: European Rugs
Size: 16 ft 7 in x 19 ft 10 in
          (5.05 m x 6.05 m)
This supremely elegant antique Aubusson carpet has a grand architectural frame with lush, neo-classical embellishment.

Antique Savonnerie French Rug 43691

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 6 ft x 21 ft 2 in
          (1.83 m x 6.45 m)
This luxurious antique rug woven in the Savonnerie style features a warm camel-colored field flanked by subtle architectural borders accented with tonal shading to highlight the formal details.

Antique Spanish Rug 43430

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 13 ft 8 in x 21 ft 6 in
          (4.17 m x 6.55 m)
An oval cameo medallion surrounded by a wreath of leafy branches floats airily within the open field on this extraordinary antique.

Antique Savonnerie Rug 45464

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: French Carpets
Size: 22 ft 3 in x 22 ft 3 in
          (6.78 m x 6.78 m)
Imbued with French and European symbolism, this striking antique Savonnerie carpet is decorated with a circular medallion flanked by flourishing leaf scrolls.

Antique Savonnerie Spanish Carpet 43872

Style: Savonnerie Carpets
Origin: Spanish Rugs
Size: 2 ft 10 in x 24 ft
          (0.86 m x 7.32 m)
Woven in the widely admired Spanish Savonnerie style, this absolutely charming antique runner rug features a lovely, dense floral arabesque pattern with cabbage roses and flourishing acanthus leaves, all rendered in a traditional European style.

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