Marquetry - creating patterns and pictures on furniture through inlaid wood veneers - has long been recognised as one of the most attractive and sophisticated methods of decorating furniture. Some of the greatest marquetry furniture ever produced was made in eighteenth century Paris, where leading craftsmen such as Andre-Charles Boulle, Jean Francois Oeben and Jean-Henri Riesner vied to produce ever more spectacular pieces for wealthy patrons, not least for the royal family itself. The arrival on the European market of exotic woods from the tropics vastly increased the opportunities for these cabinet-makers to create visually-arresting marquetry compositions, described by one contemporary as no less than 'paintings in wood'.
This book places special emphasis on the techniques of marquetry - how it is made and the materials used, ranging form turtle-shell and brass for 'Boulle' work to a variety of European and exotic woods for marquetry. An historical survey of French marquetry furniture during this golden period, illustrated with masterpieces from the Wallace and from other collections, is followed by a fascinating chapter revealing some of the sources from which French marquetry designs were created. The final chapter examines some of the extraordinary colour contarsts that would have been seen in this furnture when the marquetry was fresh, but which have now faded to the colours we associate with old furniture. The first general book on eighteenth century French marquetry ever to be published in English, Painting in Wood will open readers' eyes both to the technical secreats of this unusual art form as well as the marvellous world of beauty conjured up by these superlative French Craftsmen.
Author(s): Yannick Chastang
Publisher: The Wallace Collection