Wall panels, ca. 1799
Designer: Jean Démosthène Dugourc (French, 1749–1825); Maker: Camille Pernon (French, 1753–1808)
Woven silk and metal thread with applied silk and chenille embroidery; 8 ft. 9 1/2 in. x 2 ft. 5 in. (2.68 x .74 m), 9 ft. 6 3/4 in. x 2 ft. 2 1/4 in. (2.92 x .67 m)
Acquisitions Fund, 2006 (2006.519a,b)
In design and technique, these wall panels exemplify the highest quality furnishing textiles of the late eighteenth century. Part of a major decorative commission executed by Jean Démosthène Dugourc, they were intended to decorate the Billiard Room of the Casita del Labrador in Aranjuez, the rural pleasure palace built for King Charles IV of Spain between 1791 and 1803. The panels were woven by Camille Pernon, premier producer of luxury silks in Lyon. The central embroidered landscapes, based on paintings of the countryside surrounding Aranjuez, were presumably applied after the panels were delivered in Spain.
Dugourc, who was raised at Versailles, was named dessinateur du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne in 1784. From 1786, he also worked for the Spanish court and was responsible for the decoration of a number of rooms at the Casita del Labrador. These panels are a strong statement of his eclectic use of motifs, in this case taken from Raphael's decorations for the Vatican Loggia, which were in turn inspired by Roman wall paintings. These two unused panels in pristine condition convey the daring color of Dugourc's scheme in a way that the faded panels preserved in situ in Aranjuez cannot.