What is special about Aubusson rugs - quite a lot really! The rugs are steeped in 300 years of history with a reputation for the highest standard of craftsmanship and quality. I'll explain to you about the history, and the method of production and also the reason why they can make your home feel like a palace.
Maybe like myself you have walked around stately homes and gasped at the beautiful architecture of the plaster ceilings, it was a few years ago when I did this myself and then I looked down and realized that the extremely large rug on the floor mirrored the ceiling and that it had all been handsewn over 100years ago - it took my breath away, when I looked at the colours, designs and the fine needlecraft. This was when I realized that I wanted to know more about these rugs. I now consider myself very privileged to liaise with expert weavers, interior designers and customers in a process that unites together to provide the customer with a bespoke handsewn rug based on beautiful aubusson designs.
Firstly I will explain the name Aubusson. If you have difficulty pronouncing Aubusson - try this method - pronounce the AU as O and add a little magic of a French accent and your almost there.
The French accent is quite important as the name is from a small French medieval town on the banks of the river Creuse. In the 16th century this town became the capital of French tapestry and rug making. The rugs became large fine crafted tapestries that were hand stitched in a flat weave, in fact they became so renowned and desirable that in 1665, Louis XIV awarded the title of "Manufacture Royale des tapisseries d'Aubusson" to all the Aubusson towns weavers. Even a royal court painter was appointed to assist in the designs, in this era of history the subjects would usually be based on biblical stories or historic events.
A change happened in the rug patterns when the style of Baroque became popular, it was an extravagant and romantic style with many flowers and scrolls as part of the designs. It began to be used in the architecture of decorative ceilings and wall panels in grand houses. This was followed by the Rococo period of design. Rococo was also a decorative style favoured in interior design, painting, and building design. Rococo was formed from a new period of thought within society were the formality of previous years changed and became based on the pursuing of personal amusement and happiness. The movement with its idyllic and charming approach to design was also represented by the artist Francois Boucher, who created paintings and designed tapestries for the French royalty and nobility.
The movement portrayed the life of the aristocracy, using themes of romance, mythology, fantasy and everyday life rather than the old designs of historical events and religion. The style was light, ornamental, elaborate, and very curvy in designs. Other elements of the style included graceful movement and delicate use of colouring. making it right for interior decoration. The Rococo style was also used in art, furniture and tapestry design. It is sometimes considered to be the end of the Baroque period.
The Aubusson weavers designed rugs with Rococo features of flowers and intricate scrolls woven in delicate pretty colours and so was born the legacy of 'Aubusson' which has remained till this day.
Today credit for these beautiful rugs are the combination of a very skilled and dedicated workforces. Starting with the artist and stylist who produces the sketch, which form the complicated rug designs these are called 'cartoon's' they are used by the diligent weavers. Then there is the wool dyer who arranges the wools and colour palette required for the design, and of course the expert weaver who will complete the tapestry. each process carried out by experts. The Aubusson colour palettes are usually all muted colors that blend easily with the surrounding decors there can be up to 60 different colors and shades of wool in the larger rugs. This demonstrates the complexity of the designs.
As you might imagine in todays market the labour involved to make these exceptional rugs is still extensive. This is why they are not mass produced. Whether these rugs are made in France or from further afield the craftsmanship is commendable and exceptional.
The palatial traditional designs always scream quality and can be used in a modern setting as the focal point of a room or in a traditional timeless setting. The flatweave means that they keep there look well, and will last many years.Maybe even turning into an heirloom that can be passed through generations like the French antique rugs.
By cutting down on my overheads I am able to offer all our customers the very best price for the rugs they order.