The Five Qualities of Beautiful Savonnerie Rugs

In recent posts we have been exploring the fascinating story of Savonnerie rugs and carpets. Some consider Savonnerie carpets to be overly grandiose and a challenge to decorate with. But there are many beautiful Savonnerie carpets and it is hard to tell how beautiful they are until we see them in their proper setting in a room created by an interior designer who understands how to make the best use of them. The 10 dazzling rooms will help you in seeing which Savonnerie rugs would be the most beautiful choice for your interiors.

Last September the New York Times reported that Mayor Bloomberg and his decorator Jamie Drake had chosen Savonnerie carpets for the mayor’s townhouses in New York and London. Hre are two images of these rooms.

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1. Interior Designer Jamie Drake used great imagination and courage in mixing an Empire Savonnerie carpet with vibrantly colored modern prints and fuchsia upholstery on gilded French period armchairs creating a modern living room for New York’s visionary Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

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2. A tan, gold and brown Savonnerie rug in a more traditional living room for Mayor Bloomberg by interior designer Jamie Drake. The color palette is in subdued tans, golds and beiges with a blue silk sofa creating pop.

A Savonnerie rug may be historically very important and rare, and priced in the millions of dollars, but if does not make the room look exceptionally beautiful, it is not interesting from a decorating point of view.

So what makes a Savonnerie rug beautiful and desirable? Here are the five things I look for in a Savonnerie rug:

The Five Qualities of Beautiful Savonnerie Rugs:

1. The most beautiful Savonnerie rugs do not have overly grandiose designs

2. The patterns of the most beautiful Savonnerie rugs have a natural flow and are not perfectionistic in every detail.

3. The most beautiful Savonnerie rugs have pleasing colors that create a vibrant energy in the room.

4. Great Savonnerie rugs surprise us with the originality of their design and colors. Often they contain a color we do not expect to find. A perfectionistic viewpoint could lead to one missing out on a great decorating oppurtunity with an exceptional Savonnerie rug.

5. The final test of beauty in a Savonnerie rug is if it makes a room look gorgeous.

Here are 10 exceptionally beautiful interiors with savonnerie rugs.

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3. The vibrant blue, gold and red colors of this Savonnerie carpet could pose a great decorating challenge. But the early 20th century Parisian decorator understood how to place this exceptional Savonnerie rug it in a fabulous setting in the Salon des Huets in the Musee Nissim de Camondo, Paris.

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4. This red and gold Empire Aubusson rug is the key to the drama and majesty of the “Room of Mirrors” in the The Grand Trianon in the Palace of Versailles, France. Aubusson rugs have the same patterns as Savonnerie rugs, but have a greater clarity of design because of their finer thread count and flat surface. Note how there is no blue in the Aubusson rug, yet the blue silk fabric on the chiars looks fabulous. Image © EPV, Jean-Marc Manaï.

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5. An Adams style handmade English Axminster Rug* in shades of brown, gold and tan with red, blue and white accents. This Axminster rug was chosen for the Green Room of the White House during the Kennedy refurbishing.. This picture was taken in 1963. Even though there is no green in the Axminster rug it is an inspired choice with the fresh green wallcovering.

*English Axminster rug weaving was stimulated by the arrival of in England in the early 1700’s of two apprentice weavers who had fled from the Savonnerie Carpet workshop in France. Axminster rugs were woven in the same Turkish knot used to make French Savonnerie rugs.

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6. This priceless Savonnerie Carpet was woven in France in 1680 and is now in the Wrightsman Collection, Metropolitan Museum, New York. If the Met had not created this beautiful setting, this Savonnerie rug would have looked grandiose and unworkable from a decorating point of view.

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7. It is hard to tell how beautiful a Savonnerie rug is until we see it placed in a well designed interior as in the detail picture below from the Musee Nissim de Camondo. The above Savonnerie carpet was made in France in the mid-17th century and is in the Metropolitan Museum New York, Wrightsman Collection.

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7B. A similar Savonnerie rug  to the one in the Wrightsman Collection in the Metropolitan  Museum New York shows it full beauty in this room in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris.

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7C. A fuller view of the above room shows three Savonnerie rugs of similar patterns placed artfully to create three seating areas in the Musee Nissim de Camondo, Paris.

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8. This Study in the Musée Nissim de Camondo shows the interior decorater’s mastery at placing a Savonnerie rug in it’s proper context. Image courtesy Musee Nissim de Camondo.

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9. An Empire Aubusson rug anchors “The Particular Room” in The Grand Trianon, Versailles Palace. Note that there is no chartreuse green in the Aubusson rug, yet lots of this color has been used on the walls and chair seats. Image © EPV, Jean-Marc Manaï

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10. A navy Savonnerie Carpet made in 1729-38 in a bedroom setting in the Wrightsman Collection, Metropolitan Museum, New York.






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