The silk industry under the July Monarchy

The silk industry under the July Monarchy

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Title: The visit of the Duke of Aumale to Carquillat.

Author : CARQUILLATE (-)

Creation date : 1844

Date shown: August 24, 1841

Dimensions: Height 109 - Width 87

Technique and other indications: Table woven by Carquillat in 1844 for Maison Bouvard and Mathevon, after a drawing by Claude BonnefondLampas launched on a taffeta background

Storage place: Gadagne Museum website

Contact copyright: © Gadagne Museum - Lyon

Picture reference: 1490

The visit of the Duke of Aumale to Carquillat.

© Gadagne Museum - Lyon

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

On August 24, 1841, Louis-Philippe's youngest son visited the workshop of the weaver Carquillat.

Ten years earlier, his brother, the Duke of Orleans, had taken over the city from the silk workers, the canuts, who in November 1831 had revolted, wanting according to their motto "live by working or die fighting". In April 1834, a week of street fighting ended a new insurrection.

But in 1841, order reigned. “Get rich” is Minister Guizot's motto.

Image Analysis

The Duke of Aumale was escorted by notables: Lieutenant-General Aymard, who had crushed the revolt of 1834; the mayor of Croix-Rousse, then an independent municipality; the prefect; the president of the Conseil des prudhommes. Foreman Carquillat and maker Mathevon present him with a woven portrait of Jacquard. Behind Madame Carquillat and her daughter arrives the "roundman", usually assigned by the manufacturer to inspect the work.

Light floods into the studio which also serves as the apartment. We can see the loft where the companion lives. Eliminating prosaic details, the painter Claude Bonnefond (1796-1860) kept, in addition to the loom surmounted by Jacquard mechanics, only the reel and the clock of beautiful shapes, a lantern and the "chelu", a small oil lamp. for night work. Director of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, member of the Académie de Lyon, he is appreciated by the bourgeois public. The City had commissioned him for the portrait of Jacquard (now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts), a weaving model presented here, which had been much admired at the 1839 Exhibition.

Woven paintings were very fashionable in the XIXe century. A designer and a mapper have adapted the painter’s work to “intaglio” weaving. A technical improvement in Jacquard mechanics allows great precision in the passages of the shuttle, so that the black dots of the weft on the white of the warp create the illusion of engraving with a chisel.


This circumstantial work reveals several aspects of Lyon's history: businessmen, like the sponsor Mathevon, have rallied around Louis-Philippe, who responds to their aspirations for order and prosperity. This first princely visit to a knitting workshop symbolizes the encouragement of production and the return of social peace.

An original organization, the Fabrique, ensures the production of silks, one of the main activities of the city since the XVIe century. The foremen, owners of their trades, depend on the manufacturer-traders for orders and prices. They employ apprentices and journeymen whom they pay, whom they lodge, with whom they share the same working life but without having exactly the same social rank. They are responsible, educated. Carquillat, next to his companion in a blouse, is dressed in bourgeois for the occasion. But when the time came, he too was able to launch a shot at the manufacturers who exploit him.

An artisanal luxury production linked to large-scale commerce, Lyon silk has to face the industrial revolution, competition, the trend in fashion towards plain fabrics of simpler manufacture. A tour de force like this woven picture must testify to the incomparable skill of the canuts.

  • canuts
  • Lyon
  • workers
  • industrial Revolution
  • weaving
  • Louis Philippe
  • Orleans (of)


Françoise BAYARD and Pierre CAYEZ (dir.), History of Lyon: From the origins to the present day, t. 2, From the 16th to the present day, Le Coteau, Horvath, 1990.

COLLECTIVE, The woven paintings of the Lyon factory, catalog of the exhibition organized by the Société des dessinateurs lyonnais, 1992.

To cite this article

Hélène DELPECH, "The silk industry under the July Monarchy"

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