Throughout the 17th century, the production of antique tapestries was prolific in Europe. The Gobelin factory in France produced exquisite examples throughout the period. The Beauvais factory also achieved fame. They founded a type of design called the Grotesque. The designs of these antique tapestries commonly featured architectural elements and were inspired by the ancient ruins of Greece and Ephesus. A small town in France also became a well-known tapestry center. This town, Aubusson, began making tapestries during the Middle Ages and quickly earned success weaving antique tapestries for the middle class. Today, an authentic Aubusson tapestry is worth a lot of money.
A new fashion trend emerged in the 18th century, during which time tapestry weavers began to focus their designs on Rococo elements. Rococo elements dominate tapestries from this era. Arabesque tapestries, featuring both romantic and pastoral scenes, also grew in popularity. These antique tapestries became so popular that they were even used like wallpaper. Antique tapestries could be cut to fit an entire room for the affluent, while off-cuts were utilized in less affluent homes. Today, even these antique tapestry off cuts are highly valued by many collectors. While many of the tapestries produced during this time were intended for wall coverings, smaller domestic pieces were also in vogue. People used smaller antique tapestries to fit pillows, fire screens, upholstery, and portieres. The French revolution in 1798 caused a decline in the Gobelin and Beauvais factories. The revolutionaries deemed many of the antique tapestries to be decadent, and destroyed them. As a result, Aubusson became the dominant producer of tapestries and remained as such well into the 19th century. The quality of the Aubusson tapestry ensured its continued value.
The tapestry has maintained its popularity into the 21st century. Websites like TheFineTapestry.com do good business selling affordable tapestries to consumers. Times change, but there is always a desire for the beautiful interior decoration provided by tapestries. For excellent contemporary tapestries, visit TheFineTapestry.com.