Blenheim Palace has announced that three items of Boulle furniture have arrived back from vital restoration.
The significant items being restored include the 18th Century Boulle clock timepiece and pedestal, with an 11-inch twelve-piece enamel cartouche dial, signed Benj Gray & Just Vulliamy and a Boulle pedestal, circa 1740 from the Green Writing Room within the Palace.
Furniture conservator, James Smith, has worked for a few months on stabilising and bringing these pieces back to their original glory. Smith said, “The work on both pedestals included refitting detached or loose tortoiseshell and brass and the worn ebonised areas have been repolished and blended with the original surface. All brass mounts have also been cleaned and lacquered as necessary.”
Kate Ballenger, Keeper of Palace and Collections at Blenheim Palace said: “Restoring and conserving these items is essential for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. The environmental conditions in the State Rooms have caused significant amounts of lifting and blistering on three pieces of our Boulle collection. These magnificent pieces were showing relevant losses and unstable areas of ebony veneer. There were also panels with significant areas of floating material.”
André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732) is thought to be the preeminent artist in marquetry and possibly one of the most remarkable French cabinet makers in history. Although not the inventor of the craft, he perfected the technique of inlaying the most intricate and delicate work in brass into tortoiseshell. As one of Louis XIV’s favourites, he received the title of premier ébéniste du Roi. Boulle’s influence in the design and furniture world has lasted for hundreds of years.
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