b. 1642 Paris, d. 1732 Paris; master before 1666
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.
Pair of Wall Lights
French, about 1715