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André-Charles Boulle  

b. 1642 Paris, d. 1732 Paris; master before 1666
furniture worker

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Christened by his contemporaries as "the most skillful artisan in Paris," André-Charles Boulle's name is synonymous with the practice of veneering furniture with marquetry of tortoiseshell, pewter, and brass. Although he did not invent the technique, Boulle was its greatest practitioner and lent his name to its common name: boulle work. Boulle also specialized in floral marquetry in both stained and naturally colored wood. Many of his designs are illustrated in a book of engravings published around 1720.

Before 1666 Boulle was awarded the title of master cabinetmaker; in 1672 the king granted him the royal privilege of lodging in the Palais du Louvre. In the same year, he achieved the title of cabinetmaker and sculptor to Louis XIV, king of France. This new title allowed him to produce furniture as well as works in gilt bronze such as chandeliers, wall lights, and mounts. Although strict guild rules usually prevented craftsmen from practicing two professions simultaneously, Boulle's favored position allowed him protected status and exempted him from these statutes.

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Long Case Clock / Boulle
Long Case Clock

French, about 1680

Coffers on Stands / Boulle
Coffers on Stands

French, about 1684

Pair of Pedestals / Boulle
Pair of Pedestals

French, about 1700

Pair of Candelabra / Boulle
Pair of Candelabra

French, about 1700

Commode / Boulle

French, about 1710