the ranks of the designers and craftsmen of his time, and played a leading part in making the mode what it eventually became. I refer to André-Charles Boulle. Most people who know anything at all of seventeenth-century French furniture, and many who do not, speak glibly of "Buhl"; and though they could not, for the life of them, tell what it is, they know that it is something rare and costly. Even Oliver Wendell Holmes himself, that man of culture rare, in his delicious little conceit " Contentment," protests :—
" Shall not a few carved tables serve my turn ?
But they must be of 4 Buhl1 "
—a flagrant error, of course. We shall do well, then, to see that there is no misunderstanding in our minds as regards the nature of the furniture whose beauties caused the name of their designer and maker to be handed down with such honour to posterity. As this furniture constituted a leading feature in the household gods of the " Louis-Quatorze," we shall not have to go out of our way for the purpose.
André-Charles Boulle was born in 1642, and lived to a ripe old age, for we find him still working eighty years later. His record throughout was a remarkably exceptional one. In addition to conceiving and executing his own numerous masterpieces, many of which, I need hardly say, still stand unrivalled, Boulle trained such men as Levasseur, Montigny, Oeben, and Jacob—to mention but one or two—as well as his four sons, Jean-Phillipe, Charles-Joseph, Pierre-Benoit, and André-Charles the younger, who, in their turn, made their way to positions of eminence, and not only gave practical demonstration of the possession of exceptional genius, but still further enhanced the reputation of their great progenitor and master.
It was not until 1672 that Boulle (the father) attained to what was the height of ambition to so many of his fellows, the greatly coveted appartement au Louvre. He was only thirty
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