18TH CENTURY LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BRASS BOULLE INLAID TORTOISESHELL STRIKING BRACKET CLOCK NICHOLAS LE NOIR, ARENNES. 1745
Régence gilt bronze mounted cut brass pewter and tortoiseshell bureau plat 19th century
A large Régence boulle bracket clock and bracket French, 19th century Paris.1827
A GILT-BRONZE MOUNTED, EBONIZED, TORTOISESHELL BOULLE MARQUETRY BUREAU PLAT
18TH CENTURY REGENCE PERIOD ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BRASS BOULLE INLAID TORTOISESHELL STRIKING BRACKET CLOCK. L. GODDE LAISNE PARIS 1720
Since the 17th century, the luxurious effect of Boulle marquetry has had an enduring appeal. First exploited as a technique by André-Charles Boulle in his work for the French Court during the reign of Louis XIV, the technique has always been associated with the most opulent and expensive designs. Boulle, himself a bronzier, pioneered the use of the exceptionally fine and bold gilt bronze mounts that give so many pieces such sculptural presence and classical association. But in the first decades of the 18th century, although still exploiting the rich contrast of the black of the ebony, the gold of gilded bronze and brass, silver-toned pewter and often red-coloured tortoiseshell in the marquetry, Boulle introduced the light, playful designs of the dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi, Jean Bérain. Now the decorative surfaces were enlivened with the small-scale, lacy designs of playful singeries, garlands of flowers and airy architectural fantasies, all held together within delicate landwork.
During his own lifetime, Boulle was commissioned to make replicas of some of the great pieces made for both the King and the Court, sometimes only slightly altering the designs. After his death in 1732, Boulle's sons, who had been running the workshops since 1715, continued to produce pieces using their father's techniques and models, and demand for Boulle-marquetried furniture continued throughout the 18th century. Boulle marquetry was at the height of fashion in the time of Louis XVI when the style of the Sun King, Louis XIV, underwent a revival. From this time, great makers such as Levasseur and Baumhauer created their own versions of Boulle's originals and adapted the decorative techniques to furniture forms popular during their own time.
The taste among the great collectors for the styles of 'all the Louis' of course continued throughout the 19th century, and Boulle-style furniture held its popularity and prestige. Important makers, such as Sormani, Zwiener and Linke in France, turned their attention to copying or adapting the great pieces of the past. Many of these 19th century pieces took their places comfortably side by side with their predecessors from the 17th and 18th centuries.