These flat tapestry-woven carpets emerged in 1770-80, when royal support transformed the moribund mural tapestry industry of Aubusson, a town in central France, into one designed for floor coverings. Woven from cartoons executed by famous painters and destined for royalty and aristocracy, Aubusson followed styles endorsed by French monarchs.
During the reign of Louis XV (1715-74), Aubusson featured brightly colored floral motifs in bouquets, baskets inset in oval-shaped garlands, and rosettes with octagons and floral garlands. Under Louis XVI (1774-92), they often exhibited crowns of flowers and leaves and ribbons on a chocolate ground. Many pieces are neoclassical in style while others feature oriental arabesques and Chinese and Turkish-inspired elements, architectural motifs, fruit and musical instruments. The Empire (1804-15) and Restoration (1815-30) marked a return to forms by antiquity including swans and griffins, often arranged in a central medallion. "Compartment" rugs featuring geometric repeats were also in vogue.
Under the Restoration, two qualities, fine and low-end, emerged to serve a more democratic market. During the Second Empire (1852-70), "Aubusson" became the designation for these increasingly popular tapestry-woven rugs, whether originating from Aubusson or elsewhere. This period's rugs featured styles from every previous period including Louis XIV (1643-1715) with its egg-shaped motifs, spiraling acanthus and trompe l'oeil elements.
Due to their delicate nature, most surviving antique Aubussons date only from 1850-1900 and generally mimic earlier styles. Many were woven in other countries. Over the last two decades, high-quality reproductions have originated from China.
Today, contemporary and transitional designs are also being executed in the Aubusson tapestry weave.
At Tapis, we carry a wide collection of Aubusson. As seen below.
Aubusson Savonnerie European Rug in 8 X 10