Imperial silks for Versailles

Exhibition catalogue


The Palace of Versailles presents, for the first time, the fabrics ordered by Napoleon for the palaces of Versailles and Trianon.


As the large order of 1811 – no less than 80 km of fabrics woven in Lyon – could not be installed before the fall of the Empire, these textiles, of which there are over 18,000 pieces, remained in storage at the Garde-Meuble. Some pieces were used during the Restoration, the July Monarchy and the Second Empire, but many of the new strips were never used. Imperial fabrics for Versailles illustrate a moment of grace in the art of silk.


This exhibition and its catalog highlight the sumptuousness and variety of the fabrics ordered for Versailles at the beginning of the 19th century, illustrating in an unprecedented way the major projects desired by the Emperor for his installation in the palaces of Versailles and Trianon, and placing them in their historical, economic and technical context. Little known to the public, these silks are veritable masterpieces of decorative art, composing a Versailles of silk dreams.

Coedition: Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais & Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

With the scientific supervision of Muriel Barbier et Noémie Wansart

Publication date: March 18th, 2024

Number of pages: 216 pages, 200 illustrations


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