Manufactory Savonnerie Manufactory

Not on view

Contemporary with Louis XIV's rise to power in 1661, this carpet elegantly illustrates aspects of earlier French design while being a harbinger of the later Savonnerie production made specifically for the Sun King. The work is closely related to the so-called Louis XIII carpets, examples of which postdate that monarch's death in 1643. Characteristic of this group is a profusion of flowers enclosed by a central medallion, gathered in elaborate arrangements, and strewn throughout a field that is usually black, as in the present work. These carpets also exhibit a clearly defined border and a simple guard pattern. Indicative of the forthcoming transition to the grandeur of the more severe and classical style of later carpets, such as those made for the Grande Galerie of the Louvre, of which two examples are currently on display in the Wrightsman Galleries, are the large, scrolling acanthus leaves that simultaneously divide, organize, and enliven the field, as well as motifs such as grotesque heads, which here support golden bowls piled with fruit.

Although the initials IA appear at either end of this carpet within the field, neither the designer nor the weaver has been identified. Another rug with the same field pattern, unfortunately cut at each end and joined with later borders, is in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu.

Carpet, Savonnerie Manufactory (Manufactory, established 1626; Manufacture Royale, established 1663), Wool (Ghiordes knot), French, Paris

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