• What is an Aubusson Rug?

    An Aubusson rug is a type of flat-woven carpet renowned for its intricate designs and historical significance. Originating from the town of Aubusson in France, these rugs have a legacy that dates back to the 17th century, during the reign of Louis XIV. The town of Aubusson became a centre for tapestry and weaving, known for producing high-quality, artistically rich pieces. The craftsmanship involved in making an Aubusson rug is extraordinary, with artisans dedicating considerable time and skill to each creation.

    These rugs are distinct due to their flat-woven construction, which means they do not have a pile, unlike many other types of rugs. This technique allows for detailed and precise patterns, often featuring floral motifs, pastoral scenes, and classical elements inspired by French decor and art. The designs typically include medallions, arabesques, and borders with intricate scrollwork, reflecting the elegance of the French neoclassical and rococo styles. 

    Aubusson rugs were originally commissioned by royalty and the aristocracy, symbolising luxury and refinement. They were often used to adorn the floors and walls of palaces and grand estates, showcasing the wealth and taste of their owners. Over time, these rugs became accessible to a broader audience, though they have always retained their status as high-end decorative items.

    The aesthetic appeal of Aubusson rugs lies in their harmonious colour palettes, meticulous details, and artistic expressions. The use of natural dyes and high-quality wool ensures that the colours remain vibrant and the texture is soft yet durable. The blend of artistry and functionality makes these rugs a sought-after addition to both traditional and contemporary interiors.

  • How are Aubusson Rugs Made?

    Aubusson rugs are created through a meticulous and labour-intensive process that reflects centuries-old techniques passed down through generations. The making of an Aubusson rug involves several steps, each requiring a high level of skill and precision.

    The process begins with the design phase. The patterns typically feature elaborate floral designs, pastoral scenes, and classical elements inspired by French art and decor.

    Once the design is finalised, the weaving process begins. Aubusson rugs are woven on a vertical loom using a tapestry technique, which differs significantly from the pile weaving method used in other types of rugs. The loom holds the warp threads, which are the vertical threads forming the foundation of the rug. The weaver then interlaces the weft threads horizontally through the warp threads to create the pattern. This flat-woven technique allows for precise and detailed designs.

    The choice of materials is crucial for an Aubusson rug. High-quality wool is traditionally used for its durability, softness, and ability to hold dyes well. Natural dyes derived from plants, minerals, and insects are often employed to achieve the rich and harmonious colours typical of Aubusson rugs. These dyes not only provide a beautiful range of hues but also ensure that the colours remain vibrant over time.

    During the weaving process, the weaver meticulously follows the design, interlacing the coloured threads to form the intricate patterns. This requires a great deal of concentration and expertise, as even a small mistake can disrupt the overall design. The weaver often uses a shuttle to pass the weft threads through the warp, ensuring each thread is placed accurately.

    Once the weaving is complete, there are a series of finishing touches. This includes trimming any excess threads and washing to remove any impurities and to set the dyes. The edges are then reinforced to prevent fraying and to ensure longevity.

    The entire process can take several months to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the design. Each Aubusson rug is a unique piece of art, reflecting the skill and dedication of the artisans who create it.

  • What Styles and Designs are Common in Aubusson Rugs?

    Aubusson rugs are celebrated for their intricate and elegant designs, which often reflect the opulence and artistic trends of the French aristocracy from the 17th century onwards.

    Floral Patterns: One of the most common and recognisable styles in Aubusson rugs is the floral pattern. These designs often incorporate elaborate bouquets of roses, lilies, and other flowers, set against a backdrop of scrolls, vines, and foliage. The floral arrangements can vary from delicate and sparse to rich and densely packed, each style offering a different aesthetic. The use of soft, harmonious colours like pastel pinks, blues, and greens enhances the romantic and elegant feel of these rugs.

    Medallion Designs: Medallion patterns are another popular style in Aubusson rugs. These typically feature a central medallion, which can be oval, round, or diamond-shaped, surrounded by intricate borders and corner pieces. The medallion often contains detailed floral arrangements or classical motifs, such as urns or vases. The symmetry and balance of the medallion design make these rugs a focal point in any room, drawing the eye to the centre and showcasing the intricate craftsmanship.

    Pastoral and Scenic Motifs: Aubusson rugs sometimes depict pastoral scenes and landscapes, reflecting the romanticised view of nature prevalent in 18th-century French art. These designs might include idyllic countryside scenes with cottages, rivers, and grazing animals, all rendered with great attention to detail. Such motifs evoke a sense of tranquillity and nostalgia, making them a charming addition to a home.

    Classical and Neoclassical Elements: Influences from classical and neoclassical art are evident in many Aubusson rugs. These designs often incorporate architectural elements like columns, garlands, and swags, as well as mythological figures and scenes from classical literature. The use of these elements underscores the sophistication and cultural heritage associated with Aubusson rugs.

    Borders and Framing: The borders of Aubusson rugs are typically elaborate and ornate, often featuring scrollwork, acanthus leaves, and other decorative elements. The borders frame the central design, adding depth and complexity to the overall pattern. In some rugs, the borders might also include floral garlands or ribbons, further enhancing the sense of luxury and refinement.

    Colour Palettes: The colour schemes of Aubusson rugs are carefully chosen to create a harmonious and balanced look. Traditional Aubusson rugs often use a palette of soft, muted colours, including shades of pink, blue, green, and beige. These colours are derived from natural dyes, which not only provide a beautiful range of hues but also ensure longevity and resistance to fading.

    The styles and designs of Aubusson rugs reflect a rich tapestry of artistic influences and historical traditions. Whether featuring intricate floral patterns, central medallions, pastoral scenes, or classical elements, each Aubusson rug is a testament to the exquisite craftsmanship and timeless beauty that define this revered art form.

  • How Do I Care for an Aubusson Rug?

    Caring for an Aubusson rug requires attention to detail and a commitment to maintaining its beauty and integrity. These rugs are investments in both art and history, and with proper care, they can remain stunning centrepieces in your home for many years:

    Regular Cleaning: 

    Vacuuming: Regularly vacuum your Aubusson rug to remove dust and dirt. Use a vacuum cleaner with a gentle suction setting and avoid a powered head, as it can damage the delicate fibres and intricate weave of the rug. Instead, use the upholstery attachment or a vacuum designed for delicate rugs.

    Dusting: Occasionally, you might want to take the rug outside and gently shake it to remove loose dirt and dust. Be careful not to shake it too vigorously, as this could damage the fibres.

    Spot Cleaning:

    Immediate Attention: If you spill something on the rug, address it immediately to prevent staining. Blot the spill with a clean, white cloth or paper towel to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fibres.

    Mild Detergent: For more stubborn stains, use a mild detergent mixed with water. Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration. Apply the solution with a soft cloth, blotting gently until the stain lifts. Rinse with clean water and blot dry.

     Professional Cleaning:

    It’s advisable to have your Aubusson rug professionally cleaned periodically, depending on the amount of traffic it receives. Professional cleaners like our team at London House Rugs, have the expertise and equipment to clean delicate rugs without causing damage. We specialise in cleaning antique and fine rugs and use methods that are safe for the dyes and fibres of your Aubusson rug. 

    Avoiding Direct Sunlight:

    UV Damage: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the colours in your Aubusson rug to fade. To protect it, avoid placing it in areas where it will receive constant, direct sunlight. Use window coverings like curtains or blinds to reduce UV exposure.

    Rotation: Periodically rotate your rug to ensure even exposure to light and to prevent uneven fading or wear in high-traffic areas.

    Preventing Wear and Tear:

    Placement: Place your Aubusson rug in low to moderate traffic areas to reduce wear. These rugs are better suited for living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms rather than hallways or entryways.

    Padding: Use a high-quality pad underneath your Aubusson rug. A pad provides cushioning, prevents slipping, and reduces friction between the rug and the floor, extending its life.

    Furniture Protection: If furniture is placed on the rug, use furniture coasters or pads to prevent indentations and wear. Avoid dragging furniture across the rug.

    Handling and Storage:

    Rolling for Storage: If you need to store your Aubusson rug, roll it rather than folding it to prevent creases. Use acid-free paper to wrap and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.

    Pest Prevention: Store the rug in an environment free from pests like moths. Consider using moth repellents or cedar blocks, but ensure they do not come into direct contact with the rug.

    Maintenance Checks:

    Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect for signs of wear, damage, or insect activity. Look for frayed edges, loose threads, or any signs of fading.

    Timely Repairs: Address any damage promptly. Small repairs, such as re-securing a loose thread, can prevent more extensive damage. For significant issues, consult a professional restorer such as London House Rugs.

    By following these detailed care instructions, you can preserve the beauty and value of your Aubusson rug, ensuring it remains a cherished part of your home for generations to come.

  • Are Aubusson Rugs Durable?

    Aubusson rugs are known for their beauty and intricate designs, but their durability is also a significant consideration for potential buyers. These rugs are crafted with great care and high-quality materials, which contribute to their longevity. However, their durability can vary based on several factors, including the materials used, the weaving technique, and how well they are maintained.


    Wool: Traditionally, Aubusson rugs are made from wool, which is a durable and resilient fibre. Wool is naturally stain-resistant and has excellent insulating properties. It can withstand moderate foot traffic without showing significant signs of wear, making it suitable for many living spaces.

    Silk and Cotton: Some Aubusson rugs might incorporate silk or cotton. Silk adds a luxurious sheen and enhances the rug’s intricate patterns but is less durable than wool. Cotton is often used in the foundation of the rug, providing a strong base.

    Weaving Technique:

    Flat-Woven Construction: Aubusson rugs are flat-woven, which means they do not have a pile like other types of rugs. This construction allows for detailed patterns but can be more susceptible to wear in high-traffic areas. The flat weave is less cushioned than a pile rug, so it may show signs of wear faster if placed in a frequently used area.

    Tight Weave: The tightness of the weave can impact durability. A tightly woven Aubusson rug is more robust and less likely to show wear and tear. High-quality craftsmanship ensures that the rug can endure regular use while maintaining its appearance.

    Placement and Use:

    Low to Moderate Traffic Areas: Aubusson rugs are best suited for low to moderate traffic areas such as living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. In these spaces, they can be appreciated for their artistic value without being subjected to excessive wear.

    Avoiding High-Traffic Areas: Placing an Aubusson rug in a high-traffic area, such as a hallway or entryway, can lead to quicker wear and damage. These rugs are not designed to handle constant foot traffic and the dirt and debris that come with it.

    Care and Maintenance:

    Regular Cleaning: Proper care significantly enhances the durability of an Aubusson rug. Regular vacuuming and prompt spot cleaning help prevent dirt and stains from setting in. Using a vacuum with a gentle suction setting and avoiding the beater bar can prevent damage to the delicate weave.

    Professional Cleaning: Periodic professional cleaning is recommended to remove deep-seated dirt and to refresh the fibres. Professionals who specialise in antique and fine rugs can clean the rug without causing damage.

    Preventive Measures: Using a pad underneath the Aubusson rug can prevent slipping and reduce friction, which helps protect it from wear. Additionally, rotating the rug periodically ensures even wear and prevents fading in areas exposed to sunlight.

    Environmental Factors:

    Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can fade the colours of an Aubusson rug. Placing the rug away from windows or using window coverings can help protect it from UV damage.

    Humidity and Moisture: Maintaining a stable environment with controlled humidity levels is essential. Excessive moisture can damage the fibres and cause mould or mildew growth, while extremely dry conditions can make the fibres brittle. 

    Long-Term Durability:

    Heritage and Craftsmanship: The durability of an Aubusson rug is also a testament to the quality of craftsmanship and the heritage behind its creation. When cared for properly, these rugs can last for many decades, often becoming family heirlooms passed down through generations.

    Repair and Restoration: If an Aubusson rug does show signs of wear or damage, timely repair and restoration can extend its life. Skilled artisans can reweave sections, repair edges, and restore colours to their original vibrancy.

    While Aubusson rugs are generally durable, their longevity depends on careful placement, regular maintenance, and mindful use. With proper care, an Aubusson rug can retain its beauty and functionality for many years, making it a valuable addition to any home.

  • Can Aubusson Rugs Be Used in High-Traffic Areas?

    Aubusson rugs are renowned for their intricate designs and artistic appeal, but their suitability for high-traffic areas is a topic worth considering carefully. While they are crafted with high-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship, their delicate nature makes them less ideal for environments with heavy foot traffic.

    Low to Moderate Traffic: Aubusson rugs are best suited for low to moderate traffic areas where they can be appreciated and preserved. Living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms are ideal spaces for these rugs, allowing them to enhance the decor without being subjected to constant footfall.

    High-Traffic Areas: Placing an Aubusson rug in a high-traffic area, such as an entryway, hallway, or kitchen, is not recommended. These areas tend to experience more wear and tear, which can quickly degrade the rug’s intricate patterns and delicate fibres. The flat-woven construction may not provide sufficient resilience against the constant movement and potential spills common in such spaces.

    Decorative Value: The primary appeal of an Aubusson rug lies in its artistic and decorative value. It can serve as a stunning focal point in a room, adding elegance and a sense of history. Placing it in a high-traffic area where it is at risk of damage undermines this value.

    Alternative Uses: For those who wish to showcase their Aubusson rug without risking damage, using it as a wall hanging can be an excellent alternative. This allows the intricate patterns and craftsmanship to be admired while protecting the rug from foot traffic.

    In summary, while Aubusson rugs are durable to an extent and can add immense beauty to a home, they are not ideally suited for high-traffic areas. Their delicate construction and intricate designs require careful placement and maintenance to preserve their integrity. By placing them in appropriate locations and taking protective measures, you can enjoy the elegance and artistry of an Aubusson rug for many years.

  • Are Aubusson Rugs Valuable?

    Aubusson rugs are highly valued for their artistic craftsmanship, historical significance, and aesthetic beauty. The value of an individual Aubusson rug can vary widely based on several factors, including age, condition, size, design complexity, and provenance. Here are some detailed insights into what makes Aubusson rugs valuable and how their worth is determined:

    Artistic Craftsmanship:

    Hand-Woven Excellence: Aubusson rugs are renowned for their intricate, hand-woven construction. The meticulous craftsmanship involved in creating these rugs, often requiring months of labour by skilled artisans, significantly contributes to their value. Each rug is a unique piece of art, showcasing the weaver’s expertise and attention to detail.

    Design and Patterns: The complexity and beauty of the designs also enhance the value of Aubusson rugs. Traditional patterns often feature elaborate floral motifs, medallions, pastoral scenes, and classical elements inspired by French art. The more intricate and finely executed the design, the higher the rug’s value.

    Historical Significance:

    Antique Status: Aubusson rugs with a documented history dating back to the 17th or 18th centuries are particularly valuable. These antique rugs are not only decorative pieces but also historical artefacts that provide insight into the artistic and cultural trends of their time.

    Rarity and Provenance: The rarity of an Aubusson rug can significantly affect its value. Rugs from specific historical periods or those made by renowned workshops or weavers are often more sought after. Provenance, or the documented history of ownership, can also add to the rug’s value, especially if it was owned by notable figures or featured in significant collections.

    Condition and Preservation:

    Well-Maintained Rugs: The condition of an Aubusson rug is a crucial factor in its valuation. Rugs that have been well-preserved, with minimal wear, fading, or damage, are more valuable than those showing significant signs of age or neglect. Regular professional cleaning and proper care can help maintain the rug’s condition and thus its value. 

    Restoration and Repairs: Professionally restored rugs can retain much of their value, provided the repairs are done meticulously and do not detract from the rug’s original appearance. However, extensive or poorly executed repairs can reduce the rug’s value.

    Size and Dimensions:

    Larger Rugs: Generally, larger Aubusson rugs are more valuable due to the greater amount of labour and materials required to create them. However, the size should also be practical and suitable for modern living spaces to maximise its market appeal.

    Custom Sizes: Custom-sized rugs that fit specific spaces or requirements might also carry a premium, particularly if they were commissioned by notable individuals or for prestigious locations.

    Market Demand:

    Collector Interest: The demand for Aubusson rugs among collectors, interior designers, and art enthusiasts plays a significant role in determining their market value. Rugs that align with current design trends or have a unique story tend to fetch higher prices.

    Auction Results: Auction results provide valuable insights into the current market value of Aubusson rugs. High-profile sales and the increasing interest in antique and fine rugs can drive up prices.

    Appraisal and Certification:

    Professional Appraisal: Obtaining a professional appraisal from a recognised expert can help determine the accurate value of an Aubusson rug. Appraisers consider factors such as age, condition, design complexity, and provenance in their evaluations.

    Certification and Documentation: Documentation of authenticity and provenance can enhance the value of an Aubusson rug. Certificates of authenticity and detailed provenance records add credibility and assurance for potential buyers.

    Cultural and Decorative Value:

    Aesthetic Appeal: Beyond monetary value, Aubusson rugs possess significant aesthetic and cultural value. Their intricate designs and historical roots make them prized possessions for those who appreciate fine art and decor.

    Versatility: The timeless beauty and elegance of Aubusson rugs make them versatile pieces that can complement both traditional and contemporary interiors. This versatility adds to their desirability and value.

    The value of an Aubusson rug is influenced by a combination of artistic craftsmanship, historical significance, condition, size, market demand, and provenance. These rugs are cherished not only for their financial worth but also for their beauty and cultural heritage, making them valuable additions to any collection or home.

  • How Should I Display an Aubusson Rug?

    Displaying an Aubusson rug requires careful consideration to showcase its intricate beauty while protecting it from potential damage. Whether you choose to use it as a floor covering or a wall hanging, the placement and presentation of the rug are key to maintaining its condition and aesthetic appeal:

    As a Floor Covering:

    Choose an Appropriate Location: 

    Low to Moderate Traffic Areas: Place your Aubusson rug in areas with low to moderate foot traffic, such as living rooms, bedrooms, or dining rooms. These spaces allow the rug to be appreciated without being subjected to excessive wear and tear.

    Avoid High-Traffic Areas: Avoid placing the rug in hallways, entryways, or other high-traffic areas where it might experience constant footfall and dirt. These areas can cause the delicate fibres to wear out more quickly.

    Use a Rug Pad:

    Protection and Stability: A high-quality rug pad provides cushioning, prevents slipping, and reduces friction between the rug and the floor. This helps to protect the rug’s delicate fibres and prolong its life.

    Non-Slip: Ensure the rug pad is non-slip to keep the rug securely in place and prevent accidents.

    Furniture Placement:

    Furniture Coasters: If placing furniture on the rug, use coasters or pads under the legs to prevent indentations and distribute weight evenly. Avoid dragging furniture across the rug to prevent damage.

    Balanced Layout: Arrange furniture to frame the rug, allowing the intricate designs to be visible and appreciated. Avoid covering large portions of the rug with heavy furniture.

    Lighting and Sun Protection:

    Indirect Lighting: Use indirect lighting to highlight the rug’s design without exposing it to direct sunlight, which can cause fading. Consider using curtains or blinds to filter natural light.

    Rotating the Rug: Periodically rotate the rug to ensure even exposure to light and wear, preventing one area from becoming more worn or faded than others.

    Regular Maintenance:

    Vacuuming: Regularly vacuum the rug using a gentle suction setting and without the beater bar to remove dust and dirt. This helps maintain the rug’s appearance and condition.

    Spot Cleaning: Address spills and stains promptly with appropriate cleaning methods. Avoid using harsh chemicals that could damage the fibres or colours.

    As a Wall Hanging:

    Choosing the Right Wall:

    Prominent Display: Select a prominent wall where the rug can be a focal point, such as above a sofa, in a dining room, or in a hallway. Ensure the wall is large enough to accommodate the rug without overwhelming the space.

    Sunlight Exposure: Choose a wall that is not exposed to direct sunlight to prevent fading. Indirect or controlled lighting is ideal for showcasing the rug’s colours and patterns. 

    Mounting Methods:

    Velcro or Hook and Loop Tape: Sew one side of Velcro tape to a fabric strip that is hand-stitched along the top edge of the rug. Attach the corresponding strip to a wooden batten mounted on the wall. This method distributes the weight evenly and avoids damage to the rug.

    Rods and Clips: Use a rod with clips or rings designed for hanging textiles. Ensure the clips are padded and spaced evenly to support the rug without causing strain or damage. 

    Frame or Shadow Box: For smaller Aubusson rugs, consider framing or using a shadow box to protect the rug while displaying it. Ensure the framing materials are acid-free to prevent damage to the rug’s fibres.

    Temperature and Humidity Control:

    Stable Environment: Maintain a stable environment with controlled temperature and humidity levels. Excessive humidity can lead to mould growth, while extremely dry conditions can make the fibres brittle.

    Avoid Heat Sources: Keep the rug away from direct heat sources, such as radiators or fireplaces, which can damage the fibres and cause fading. 

    Regular Inspection and Maintenance:

    Dusting: Regularly dust the rug to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. Use a soft brush or a vacuum with a brush attachment to gently clean the surface.

    Periodic Checks: Periodically inspect the rug for signs of wear or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration. 

    Whether displayed on the floor or as a wall hanging, an Aubusson rug requires careful handling and maintenance to preserve its beauty and value. By choosing appropriate locations, using proper mounting techniques, and maintaining a stable environment, you can ensure that your Aubusson rug remains a stunning and cherished piece in your home.