Furniture Styles

Furniture > Terms > Decoration > Marquetry


Definition of the decorative art of antique marquetry patterns in woodwork.

Defintion of Marquetry.

Inlaid work, consisting of thin plates of ivory or of hard and precious woods, of different colours, fixed upon a framed and paneled ground, to represent ornaments, figures, flower designs, etc., usually employed for tops of tables, panels, boxes, and such like articles in contradistinction to the parquetry used for floors. The outline of the decoration is sometimes marked by silver, tin, copper, or ivory, lines let into grooves. There is a variety, consisting entirely of plates of copper cut to the required outline, chased, and fixed upon a ground of tin or wood. The earliest examples are probably the ivory boxes ornamented with various coloured woods, chiefly made at Venice during the fourteenth century; towards the close of which, or at the beginning of the fifteenth century, marquetry is found applied as an ornamental art by itself, and developed in patterns on large surfaces in Italian Renaissance furniture. The earliest artist in this work mentioned by Vasari is G. da Majano (1432-90).

Marquetry Table Top
Marquetry Table Top, 1875, England.

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