Pair of Pedestals
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Attributed to André-Charles Boulle
French, Paris, about 1700
Pine and oak veneered with ebony, brass, and tortoiseshell; gilt bronze mounts


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These two octagonal pedestals have cupboard doors that open on one side to reveal hollow interiors. They were designed to display sculptures; from an auction catalogue of 1788, scholars know they have supported the same bronze figure groups that they support today. They would have stood in a formal reception room or salon.

André-Charles Boulle, the man who perfected the distinctive technique of marquetry in tortoiseshell and brass, probably produced these elaborate stands. Boulle work was made of thin sheets of tortoiseshell and brass glued together and then cut into elaborate patterns. Areas of the stands not decorated with this marquetry were then veneered in ebony, while elaborate gilt bronze added to the lavish effect.