Boulle work

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Boulle work[1] (also known as buhl work) is a type of rich marquetry[2] process or inlay[3] perfected by the French cabinetmaker André Charles Boulle[4] (11 November 1642 – 28 February 1732).[5] It involves veneering furniture with tortoiseshell inlaid primarily with brass and pewter in elaborate designs often incorporating arabesques.

Although Boulle did not invent the technique, he was its greatest practitioner and gave his name to it. Boulle came from a well-known Protestant family of artists in France living primarily in Paris but also in Marseille.[6][7] The first recorded payment to Boulle by the crown, from 1669, specifies ouvrages de peinture, suggesting that he was originally a painter.[8] Boulle was awarded the title of master cabinetmaker around 1666; in 1672[9] he received the post of Premier ébéniste du Roi[10] and was admitted to a group of skilled artists maintained by Louis XIV, in the Louvre Palace. In 1672 Boulle received a warrant signed by the Queen, giving him the added title of bronzier as well as Ebeniste du Roi. One of Boulle's greatest masterpieces is considered to be his decoration of the dauphin’s private study, created between 1681 and 1683.[11] André-Charles Boulle's masterpieces are now mostly in museums and have come to represent the wealth, luxury and finesse of the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

In 2016 a putative descendant of Andre-Charles Boulle, Jean-Raymond Boulle, invented a Boulle Work process of inlay using gem diamonds which is produced by AkzoNobel and has been used by Rolls Royce.[12]


  1. ^ "Boulle Work". Boulle Vortal.
  2. ^ "Masters of marquetry in the 17th century: Boulle". Khanacademy.
  3. ^ "André-Charles Boulle – Inlay". Pinterest.
  4. ^ "The French cabinetmaker who is generally considered to be the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry, even "the most remarkable of all French cabinetmakers."". Google Arts and Culture.
  5. ^ "Death of André-Charles Boulle". Mercure de France.
  6. ^ "André-Charles Boulle". "André Boulle, Ebeniste de Louis XIV" M. CHARLES ASSELINEAU 1872 P 11.
  7. ^ Jean-Pierre Samoyault, "André-Charles Boulle et sa famille: nouvelles recherches, nouveaux documents" Haute Etudes Medievales et Modernes, Nr 40, 1979, pp. 5, Librairie Droz, Genève.
  8. ^ "Biography of BOULLE, André-Charles in the Web Gallery of Art". Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  9. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainPenderel-Brodhurst, James (1911). "Boulle, André Charles". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 321–323.
  10. ^ Dell 1992:187.
  11. ^ "André-Charles Boulle | French cabinetmaker". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-07-07. His masterpiece, however, was his decoration of the dauphin's private study with flooring in wood mosaic and extraordinarily detailed paneling and marquetry (1681–83; now destroyed).
  12. ^ "Meet The World's First Diamond Car, The Rolls-Royce Ghost Elegance". Forbes. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

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