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Spotlight on the Manufacture d'Aubusson Robert Four

A new report to read on one of our excellent companies! The Manufacture d'Aubusson Robert Four tapestry factory, an EPV company since 2006, is one of the last remaining heirs of the Manufactures d’Aubusson tapestry factories, which was raised to the ranks of Manufactures Royales (royal tapestry factory) by Colbert in 1664. It represents over 80% of today's production of tapestries and Aubusson carpets in France and in the world.

At Aubusson, magicians of threads, masters of colour and talented craftsmen, draughtsmen, tapestry designers and weavers join forces with artists inspired by this art with endless possibilities, resulting in the creation of carpets and tapestries where the boundaries between art and decoration blend into each other.

But while the art of weaving continues in this know-how that has remained virtually unchanged for five centuries and is ranked a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, it has also succeeded in making the most out of modernity thanks to two major developments. First, dyeing of woollen threads, which thanks to modern techniques enables 900 distinct colours to be produced, and secondly the evolution of the sketch or painted card which led, in the 1940s and under the influence of the painter Jean Lurça, to the card weaving technique, as explained by Pierre-Louis Four.
As for the rest, he thinks the actions have stayed the same. No modern machinery or computer programme has yet managed to replace the dance of the small cones of coloured wool. No sewing machine has replaced the hands of seamstresses, with their surgical-like precision. The carpets and tapestries created here are all made by hand, and those that result from the work of artists will never be created in more than eight copies.

For decades, this exceptional know-how came close to disappearing. But in 2007, in agreement with the Éducation Nationale, the company started a vocational course in the tapestry weaving professions, thus ensuring the future of this know-how for many more decades to come.  

In this crucible of tapestry-making, the factory thus pursues its prolific history of great decorative art, successfully mixing tradition and modernity.


08 January 2013