Etymology[ edit ] The word "desk" originated from the Modern Latin word desca "table to write on", from the mid 14th century.
We look at the design of various types of furniture and furnishings, the interior architectureas well as materials and techniques, plus some of the main designers. Menuiserie or Ebenisterie During the 16th century furniture was the province of the menuisier who worked in solid wood.
The menuisier proper continued to be responsible for seat-furniture, table-supports, such furniture as buffets a kind of cupboard and armoires wardrobes of solid wood, the decorative carved panelling for walls boiseriesdoor-cases and overdoor mouldings, and window-cases and shutters.
In this he was assisted by wood-carvers, and by painters, varnishers, and gilders. Ebenistes were so called from the fact that when ebony ebene was first introduced into France towards the end of the 16th century it was an exceedingly rare and expensive wood used principally for veneers and inlays.
Craftsmen who specialized in this work became known as menuisiers en ebene, later shortened to ebenistes, and since veneering was almost invariably done on case-furniture of one kind or another the ebeniste was necessarily also a cabinet-maker.
The term, however, can be applied correctly to any kind of furniture decorated with veneers or marquetry, and with related techniques.
The elaborate mounting and applied decoration of metal, which became especially fashionable towards the end of the 17th century, required yet another category of craftsman - the ciseleurs-fondeurs who cast and finished the mounts, and the doreurs who were responsible for gilding.
French furniture of the period under discussion is commonly referred to either as menuiserie or ebenisterie, and these terms will henceforward be used without further explanation, since to translate them would be needlessly confusing.
They are both in use today, and the workshops of these craftsmen are a not uncommon sight in provincial France, even though the ebenistes are rarely as skilful as their forebears.
Movable French provincial writing desk Immovable Classification according to position in the decorative scheme, whether fixed or not, is not an entirely new concept. The French word for the furnishings of the house - meubles or movables - is sufficient indication of this, because the notion of movables implies the existence of immovables, apart from the building itself, which is always an immeuble.
These immovables have usually been taken to be the boiseries, the door-cases and chimney-pieces, and similar kinds of architectural woodwork. Pierre Verlet, however, has recently drawn attention to the fact that the distinction allows room for a good deal of extension.
The large cupboards called armoires, built-in and forming part of the boiserie, must also be regarded as permanent, even though they were later detached and are sometimes to be found today in the storerooms of the brocanteur seeking the support of a new boiserie.
But these are obvious examples. The notion may be taken a good deal further. The independent armoire by its very size and weight is semi-permanent, and if it was originally carved to match a particular boiserie it was even more static in intent, even though it has today been divorced from its original setting.
Such movable furniture as the canape a kind of sofaoften by etiquette and because the framework was carved to match the boiserie, may be regarded as having been fixed in its position, and some fauteuils armchairsand even a proportion of the chairs, were destined to occupy a fixed point in relation to the rest of the interior scheme.
Plans dating from the 18th century exist showing the exact position of all these pieces of furniture. Verlet has also shown how contemporary terminology recognized the existence of this classification, for instance in the case of certain small tables without a fixed position which were termed ambulantes strolling.
In these days when the original scheme has been scattered to the winds of heaven - the boiseries in New York, the commodes in Los Angeles, the pier-glasses in Chicago, and the fauteuils perhaps gracing a London flat, it is not always easy to understand how complete was the harmony between all the elements of decoration - fixed, semi-permanent, and movable - in its original form, and this kind of classification is therefore often difficult and the line of demarcation vague.
Nevertheless, the distinction is an important one to a proper understanding of the period. Techniques of Decoration in Wood The principal methods of decoration in wood during the period under review, apart from wood carvingare marquetry, veneering and parquetry.
Veneering on a flat surface is simple enough. Thin sheets of rare wood of good figure are sawn and glued to a carcase of some commoner wood like pine or oak. Little difficulty is presented in veneering the simple curve, but the problem of securing a veneer to a surface which is a section of a sphere or a spheroid - a kind of swelling outline termed bombe - was not solved until towards the end of the Regency.
Marquetry is a more or less elaborate pattern formed from inlays of differently coloured woods. These can be exceedingly complex, and floral and pictorial marquetries decorated some of the finest ebenisterie.
The term can also be applied to inlays of different materials, such as the tortoiseshell and brass marquetries associated with the name of Andre-Charles Boulle. Boulle cut them from a sheet of brass and one of tortoiseshell clamped together.
These, when separated, gave two sheets of alternating brass and tortoiseshell, the first, in which the tortoiseshell forms the background, being termed premiere partie, and the second, with brass predominating, the contre-partie or deuxieme partie.
Marquetries using ebony and ivory carving are also occasionally seen. Parquetry is decoration with sections of veneer of the same wood but with contrasting grain, the simplest form being the parquetry floor of blocks laid in the so-called herring-bone pattern.
Much more complex designs are to be found, however, both as floor decoration and as furniture veneering. Other ways of decorating furniture include painting, gilding, and varnishing with imitations of Oriental lacquer, as well as the use of bronze mounts, and porcelain.
Carved and gilt wood, an especially prominent feature of decoration under Louis Quatorze, hardly calls for explanation. Such work is at its best when seen by candlelight, when it seems incomparably rich in appearance. The opening of trade with the East and the exploration of the western hemisphere in the 16th and 17th centuries brought many new woods to Europe, and French furniture in general is noted for the decorative use made of these rare and exotic varieties.
Many unusual native woods were employed for particular purposes, such as wild cherry, and limewood.Anthologies of railway writing and poetry Steamindex homepage.
Christmas thoughts (Kevin): one of his four dear daughters gave him yet another anthology and this has (1) shown that this webpage has serious deficiencies (mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) which need to be corrected before it is too late and (2) inspired thoughts of yet another poem (built atround the names of the LNER Pacifics.
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Let’s get started! Title French Louis XV leather top Bureau Plat writing desk double sided with ormolu mounts: Dimensions.
Height 77cm. Length cm. Depth 74cm Description. French Louis XV style Bureau Plat desk with fine gilt ormolu mounts and veneers in kingwood and pallisander (rosewood). A desk or bureau is a piece of furniture with a flat table-style work surface used in a school, office, home or the like for academic, professional or domestic activities such as reading, writing, or using equipment such as a computer.
Desks often have one or more drawers, compartments, or pigeonholes to store items such as office supplies and papers. Anthologies of railway writing and poetry Steamindex homepage. Christmas thoughts (Kevin): one of his four dear daughters gave him yet another anthology and this has (1) shown that this webpage has serious deficiencies (mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) which need to be corrected before it is too late and (2) inspired thoughts of yet another poem (built atround the names of the LNER Pacifics.
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