The Gobelins Manufactory (1667)

Manufacture des Gobelins is a French tapestry factory founded in the 15th century, also called the Royal Factory, supplying the court of the French Crown since the time of Louis XIV. Today is known as Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins (National Tapestry Manufactory).

La Manufacture des Gobelins. Gobelins Manufactory, Paris.

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About it’s history

The history of Gobelins Manufactory emerged along with a textile factory named after a family of French dyers. The enterprise began with a dyeing factory on the outskirts of Paris, founded in the middle of the 15th century by Jean Gobelin and Philibert Gobelin. The family business flourished, and at the beginning of the 17th century, King of France Henry IV  turned the enterprise into a tapestry factory run by Flemish weavers.
Portrait of Louis XVI, Tapestry produced by Gobelin Manufactory, 1745–93

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Luxury products of the Gobelins factory became so famous that in 1662 this establishment was taken over by the Minister of Finance of King Louis XIV, Jean Baptiste Colbert, and became a part of the Royal Furniture Manufacture. Colbert commissioned a French artist Charles Le Brun to lead, and he commissioned works from the finest artists of the time, setting high standards of performance and encouraging the training of new artisans. This is how magnificent draperies, upholstery, and furniture were created in an ornate Baroque style.

File:Death of Constantine (tapestry) - 1623-1625.jpg
Death of Constantine tapestry (one in a series) after a design by Rubens woven by Filippe Maëcht and Hans Taye in the Comans-La Planche workshop, 1623–1625.

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File:Gobelins - Chancellerie (Musée Nissim de Camondo).JPG
Gobelins tapestry, circa 1680, in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris.

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The Gobelins Factory closed in 1694 due to the financial difficulties of the Crown. In 1699 it reopened, but exclusively for the manufacture of tapestries. The factory continues to work to this day, interrupting its work only once – during the French Revolution. Over the years, the styles have changed to Rococo, Neoclassicism, and Art Nouveau. In 1825, the factory took over the Savonnerie carpet factory, founded in 1627. It is now officially called the National Tapestry Manufactory.

Battle of Zama, Gobelin tapestry after Jules Romain, manufactured for Louis XIV in 1688-1690. Louvre Museum.

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Today, tapestry production is located in four buildings from the 17th century, as well as in a new building on Gobelins Avenue. These include workshops that served as foundries for bronze sculpture on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, as well as looms, which still weave tapestries using original 17th-century techniques – mainly for use in government offices in France.

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