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Table
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Attributed to André-Charles Boulle
French, Paris, about 1680
Oak veneered with tortoiseshell, pewter, brass, ebony, horn, ivory, and various natural and stained woods; gilt-bronze mounts
H: 2 ft. 4 3/8 in. x W: 3 ft. 7 1/2 in. x D: 2 ft. 5 in.
71.DA.100

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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.

Detail Views

Marquetry bird
Marquetry bird

Marquetry bird
Marquetry bird

Marquetry bird
Marquetry bird

Corner of table
Corner of table