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.
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.
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.