Jean-Baptiste Huet Christophe Philippe Oberkampf
Louis XVI Restorer of Liberty
Jean-Baptiste Huet, French, Louis XVI Restorer of Liberty, 1791, Copperplate-printed cotton plain weave; 104.1 cm (41 inches) (length), Gift of Mr. Francis C. Whitehead 69.136.05
In 1759, Christophe Philippe Oberkampf (1738 - 1815) founded a factory at Jouy near Paris and within a decade became the most successful printer on fabric in France. Oberkampf hired court painter Jean-Baptiste Huet in 1783 to design copperplate-printed textiles with large, impressive images. They were popular among the wealthy for furniture covers and bed hangings. In 1788, Oberkampf ordered from Huet a design entitled Triumph of Royalty. In the cartoon, Louis XVI grants religious freedom to supplicants, while beside the king stands the figure of Religion. When the textile went on sale in 1791, after the start of the French Revolution, the neoclassical figure of Liberty had replaced Religion, and the design was renamed Louis XVI Restorer of Liberty.