Manufactory: Didier, Petit et Cie
Culture: French, Lyons
Dimensions: H. 23 3/4 x W. 20 inches (60.3 x 50.8 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of William G. Jenkins, 1931
Accession Number: 31.124
Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752–1834) invented the Jacquard mechanism, a patterning device than, when attached to a loom, made it practical to weave more detailed designs than were previously possible. This woven silk portrait of the inventor is based on a painting by Claude Bonnefond (1796–1860) that was commissioned by the city of Lyon in 1831. The Lyon manufacturer Didier, Petit et Cie ordered the silk version from weaver Michel-Marie Carquillat, who became a specialist in this kind of work. The Museum owns another woven picture after a painting by Bonnefond, showing the duc d'Aumale (son of the French king Louis-Philippe) visiting Carquillat's atelier.
The silk picture convincingly portrays elements such as a translucent curtain over glass window panes. Only after the Jacquard loom came into use could a work of this extreme level of detail be produced–a contemporary journal reported that one Lyonnais printer actually mistook a woven portrait.