Wolf Burchard will deliver a Françoise and Georges Selz Lecture on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century French Decorative Arts and Culture on Tuesday, February 6, at 6 pm. His talk is entitled “Savonnerie Carpets: Stages of Power.”

Since the Second World War, every President of France has had one of Louis XIV’s famed Savonnerie carpets in his office at the Elysée Palace. Sumptuous stages for key events of French history, these spectacular weavings formed part of the Sun King’s unprecedented commission for 93 carpets to be laid side to side in the Long Gallery of the Louvre, spanning more than 442 meters. However, as Louis shifted his interest and government from the Louvre to Versailles, these magnificent carpets were largely separated and used singly as focal points in lavishly decorated salons.

Wolf Burchard’s lecture will revisit the history of the Savonnerie manufactory from its beginnings under Louis XIII to the present day, focusing on its major commissions for the Louvre, Versailles, and Notre Dame. He will also examine its products’ dispersal through sale and as diplomatic gifts after 1789, as well as the rising British and American taste for Savonnerie carpets beginning around 1900.

Wolf Burchard is the Furniture Research Curator at Britain’s National Trust and the author of The Sovereign Artist: Charles Le Brun and the Image of Louis XIV (Paul Holberton Publishing, 2016). From 2009 to 2014 he was Curatorial Assistant at the Royal Collection Trust, where he co-curated The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy, 1714-1760 at Buckingham Palace to commemorate the tercentenary of George I’s accession to the British throne. He studied the history of art and architecture at the universities of Tübingen, Vienna, and London, earning the MA and PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art. A specialist in artistic and architectural patronage at the British, French, and German courts, Burchard has worked extensively on the Savonnerie manufactory updating Pierre Verlet’s catalogue of the Louvre commission with newly discovered carpets, carpet fragments, and designs. He serves on the Executive Board of the Georgian Group and the Council of the Furniture History Society and was a longtime member of the Committee of the Society for Court Studies.