Boulle, André Charles

André Charles Boulle was born in Paris in 1642. He trained with his father, a German born cabinet maker specialized in ebony work. He was noted as an “ebony carpenter” for the first time in 1666 and joined the Gobelins factory thanks to the high quality of his floral wood marquetry.  In 1672 he carried out his first royal commission and moved in the Louvre Palace by royal appointment. Free from corporation rules, Boulle created both furniture and bronzes. He started learning metal marquetry and introduced tortoise shell. In 1677 he expanded his workshop at the Louvre and married Anne-Marie Leroux. The years 1680 were the apex of his career, his creations becoming more and more complex. In 1685 he became his own founder and created decorative pieces like iron dogs or the famous harpies’ decorative clocks. Until the end of the century, Boullle renewed furniture shapes, invented the commode and the table without crossbeam. In 1715 Boulle bequeathed his workshop to his sons, working there occasionally. He died in 1732, but his descendants continue his work until the end of 18th century. His unique technique reappeared during the reign of Napoleon III under the name of “marqueterie boulle”.