The Salon Doré: President Macron’s office at the Elysée Palace with one of Louis XIV’s Savonnerie carpets.


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 on which key events of French history have unfolded, these spectacular weavings initially formed part of an unprecedented commission from the Sun King for no less than 93 carpets to cover the entire Long Gallery of the Louvre, spanning more than 442 meters. However, as Louis gradually lost interest in the Louvre Palace, instead choosing Versailles as the headquarters of the Bourbon monarchy, these magnificent carpets, originally intended to be laid out side to side, were largely separated and used singly as focal points in the lavishly decorated salons of Louis XIV and his successors.

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. His talk will also examine the dispersal of many of these weavings after the French Revolution in 1789, both through sale and as diplomatic gifts, 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, an exhibition held at The Queen’s Gallery, 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 and Vienna as well as the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, from which he holds an MA and PhD. Wolf Burchard regularly writes and lectures about the art and architectural patronage at the British, French, and German courts. He has worked extensively on the Savonnerie manufactory and in 2012 published an update of Pierre Verlet’s catalogue of Louis XIV’s carpets for the Louvre’s Long Gallery, adding 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 member of the Committee of the Society for Court Studies from 2011 to 2017.


This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.