Table

Object Details

Title:

Table

Artist/Maker(s):

Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (French, 1642 - 1732, master before 1666)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1680

Medium:

Oak veneered with marquetry tortoise shell, pewter, brass, ebony, horn, ivory, boxwood, cherry, natural and stained sycamore, pear, thuya, satinwood, cedar, beech and amaranth; gilt-bronze mounts

Dimensions:

72.1 x 110.5 x 73.7 cm (28 3/8 x 43 1/2 x 29 in.)

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Marquetry of extraordinary quality in wood and in tortoiseshell, brass, horn, and pewter decorates the top of this table. A band of brass surrounds a large central oval of tortoiseshell, and naturalistic flowers in wood marquetry frame the table's outer surface. Peonies, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and ranunculus can all be identified. The flowers are composed of small pieces of wood veneer that were assembled and then scorched with hot sand to create subtle gradations of shadow. Originally, the table would have been more vividly colored; light exposure has bleached the wood marquetry and faded the blue paint underneath the framing areas of horn to gray.

Very few pieces of furniture are veneered with two types of marquetry. A single person seems to have made all of them, including this table, as they include many comparable motifs. For example, four small birds on the top of the table are very similar to four birds found on the drawer fronts of the large Cabinet on a Stand in the Museum's collection. André-Charles Boulle, a royal cabinetmaker working at the Louvre, may have designed and executed these pieces.

Bibliography

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 146.

Schwartz, Marvin D. "Boulle Furniture." Art and Antiques 6 (April 1983), p. 68.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 146.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 26, no. 56.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 160.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 46-47, no. 58.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 188.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 58-59, no. 43.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 188, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 32, no. 55.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence, Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008) pp. 112-27, no. 10.