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Marquetry and Parquetry in furniture

Imagine the most curious collections of curiosities known to us. Artists' equipment, exotic birds, rare editions with a hint of musical instruments... And all this is just out of reach, behind a delicate and inexplicably fine curtain of veneer. 

French marquetry furniture Renaissance Italy interiors

Italian renaissance marquetry interiors dark academia library classical

 

From generations of Boulles "bejewelling" Louis XIV's cabinets to the neoclassical masterpieces of Reisener- marquetry is an inseparable part of XVIII century French royal  furniture.

XVIII century marquetry developed from Renaissance intarsia, originating in Italy where the above example can be found. Marquetry inlays can be done in any medium, including marble and brass. In wood, a mosaic of veneers is created by cutting the exact pattern on two woods and placing the positive of one into the negative of another. So, one packet of marquetry can produce two sets of mosaics with reversed colouring. The superior of these, the premier-partie, would usually be found on the front face of furniture. The inferior contre-partie can be used on the sides or on another piece. 

The exact technique depends on the pattern that is required, but most significant to marquetry is the fret saw. 

Originally, these patterns would have been vividly coloured, including bright green, red and yellow woods. What we usually find now are completely faded woods, which have lost their colour to the light.

 French Italian interiors belle époque classic marquetry furniture mirror frames gilded  
Grandfather clock marquetry English British museum furniture 18th century
Wallace Collection London French Italian art 18th century cabinet de roi Louis XIV Marie Antoinette interiors fashion  Mirror frame French Louis XIV Boulle marquetry Marie Antoinette furniture decor interior designer

 

Marquetry with a P

Parquetry is simply marquetry in geometric patterns. Because it consists of only straight lines, parquet can be done not in veneer but by shaping solid pieces of wood itself. This is far more long lasting because the wood is more stable. 

In royal palaces, parquet patterns are traditionally found on floors. But occasionally, it was done on table tops of country pieces as well. While we offer this option with all of our tables, it is not for the weak of heart. 

Versailles interiors hall of mirrors gilded decor interior design French Marie Antoinette
Basic marquetry is generally a very stable table top option, but it is best used in decorative patterns. The best examples are found in floral patterns on Louis XV pieces, which are paired with stunning brass mounts. 
 
French Jardiniere marquetry side table teak wood furniture India interior designer
We would recommend marquetry patterns on commodes, cabinet doors and desk tops. They are a wonderful element of artistry that can add personal meaning in the form of a monogram or a meaningful symbol. Interest can be added to the simplest of pieces with a play of colour and grain. 
French marquetry compass desk top custom furniture teak wood India table sofa interior designer
 

 


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