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(French, est. 1627)
Carved wood, Savonnerie knotted-pile (symmetrical rug knot) upholstery; wool, hemp
Overall: 120 x 201.3 x 55.9 cm (47 1/4 x 79 1/4 x 22 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1947.183
The Savonnerie factory can trace its origins to a small carpet studio which set up shop in 1615 south of Paris in a factory that had formerly made soap (savon in French), hence the name Savonnerie.
These chairs belong to a suite that includes a settee (also in the CMA’s collection) and a tapestry made for a count and countess to mark their wedding in 1717. Furniture of this scale was usually placed against the wall in grand reception halls, more as a display of wealth than for use. Upholstered in Savonnerie tapestries, this suite was among the most treasured and expensive example anyone could own and was typically reserved for royalty.
To add decorative and intellectual interest to the textiles, weavers incorporated symbols depicting various stories from the Fables of Jean de La Fontaine, published from 1668 to 1694 and largely adapted from Aesop and other early storytellers.
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