Relevant categories: Cabinets and Chests,Tables
Everything You Need To Know About Dutch Marquetry
(Above photo - Distinctive floral motifs of Dutch marquetry )
Marquetry refers to the decoration of pieces of furniture using veneer pieces. The product of marquetry can be unique designs, patterns, or pictures. Incidentally, the Dutch were the first people to come up with this form of art. They preferred using veneer in place of elaborate carvings. That is why this form of art is popularly referred to as Dutch marquetry.
History of Dutch Marquetry
(Above photo - Pair Dutch marquetry chests )
It was during the 17th century, when the popularity of marquetry increased. In 1660, Charles II visited The Hague and returned with foreign artists, craftsmen, designers, and silversmiths. The same year, craftsmen from Holland went to teach their counterparts in Southern Germany and Northern Italy. That way, the skills practiced in Dutch marquetry were spread out throughout Europe.
Due to their elaborate connection with the East, especially Japan, the Dutch begun to use special materials including lacquer and cane. They also imported complete chests known as “lacredtronks” and customized them in line with Dutch marquetry. After applying silver onto the chests, then equipped them with gilt stands. At that time, people in Europe were already buying porcelain from China and Japan and they needed well decorated chests to display them.
Preferred Materials for Dutch Marquetry Furniture
(Above photo - Dutch marquetry commode )
Take note of the fact that Dutch marquetry was applied in different forms of furniture including tables, cabinets, chests, and so on. Regardless of where the furniture was made, designers preferred ebony, rosewood, and walnut. Originally it was just ebony and walnut before rosewood came to the fore at the advent of the 19th century. On many of the furniture pieces, it was not uncommon to find bombe and serpentine fronts. Mostly they featured natural veneers.
How Does Marquetry Work?
(Above photo - Antique Dutch Marquetry Chest of Drawers 1840 Commode Chests )
In its simplest form, marquetry featured only a couple of veneer sheets. They were partially glued together and sawn to produce two identical designs in complete contrast. Today, marquetry is made using veneers cut by knives. Given the length of time it takes to make the veneers, many artists prefer using a saw. Once the pattern is cut, the piece of wood is smoothened using an abrasive paper.
The designers and makers of marquetry in England were called in-layers from the work “in-laid” an English form of marquetry. Over time, they developed the technique further. Some even started using wood scrapings, shavings, and sawdust to create diverse effects. That may not represent marquetry as originally envisioned. Rather, it is a form of collage or textured painting. What is clear is that people would not have done that without the original ingenuity of Dutch furniture designers.
Can You Find Antique Marquetry Furniture Today?
(Above photo - Dutch Marquetry Centre Table )
Yes. The high demand for the furniture in the 19th century meant that it was widely spread out in Europe. It is not uncommon to walk into a home in England to find a well preserved Dutch marquetry piece of furniture. If you check with antique sellers throughout the world, you should be able to find a piece of furniture you would like to buy. A good example is our antique shop. Why don’t you pay us a visit today?
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