incrustation of this particular class was well known, though not, of course, common, long before the appearance of the Boulles. The Boulles, however, and André-Charles the father, above all, did much to develop this treatment and bring it to the state of technical perfection which it attained at the commencement of the seventeenth century. As I have said, they produced triumphs of their craft which have never been surpassed, though how many times they have been reproduced it is impossible to say.
The type of marquetry referred to is, of course, well known to collectors and connoisseurs the world over; but for the Information of the general reader it may perhaps be as well if I quote Molinier's lucid description of the way in which it is prepared. That writer says : " Sheets of full size and thickness are prepared of materials selected—copper, tin, ebony, and shell ; these sheets are glued together and cut into a given pattern. This done, when the sheets are detached, one has in hand—should copper and inlaying tortoise-shell have been employed—two decorative patterns, and two grounds for inlaying—that is to say, the sheets of shell or copper out of which the patterns have been cut. The next step is to insert copper patterns in the shell ground and the shell patterns in the copper ground. Two panels are thus obtained, totally different in aspect, but absolutely alike in pattern/'
But Boulle was something more than merely a great master marqueteur. Indeed, in his time he was officially described as 44 architecte, peintre, et sculptre en mosaïque, ébéniste, ciseleury et marqueteur ordinaire du royand there can be no possible doubt that he was as true an artist by nature as he was master of the tools essential to the practice of his craft. To such an extent was this the case that the acquisition and retention of money appear to have been regarded by him as quite secondary considerations, so that, extensive and distinguished as was the patronage he commanded, he never made
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