Fig. 357. Chest Of Drawers. - Veneered with oyster pieces of olive wood and lignum vitae and inlaid with boxwood lines. 3 ft. 3 1/2 ins. high by 3 ft. 2 ins. wide by 1 ft. 11 ins. deep. - Date about 1695. J. Dupuis Cobbold, Esq.
Fig. 359. Cabinet On Stand. - Veneered with walnut and inlaid with marqueterie. Height, 5 ft. 7 1/2 ins.; width, 3 ft. 7 3/4 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 8 1/2 ins. Date about 1675-80. 256 - R. Eden Dickson, Esq.
After the panel has been allowed to stand for about thirty hours, the handscrews and the caul can be removed, but the process of " cleaning up " should be deferred for a week, if possible, as the glue is still soft underneath. With marqueterie-work the inlay and veneer of the ground are rarely of exactly the same thickness, and the thinner of the two will gradually sink as the glue contracts. It is better that this sinking should take place before the panel be cleaned up rather than after, if perfect finish be desired. The " faker " wilfully adopts the bad method of smoothing his work quickly, to obtain the uneven surfaces, and even the blisters so frequently found in genuine old work. To clean up, the protecting paper is first washed, or better still scraped off, irregularities of surface are reduced with a fine toothing plane, and the work is finished with a steel scraper and fine glass-paper. The final process of polishing does not concern us here. In this cleaning up it must be remembered that excessive friction, in producing heat, may soften the underlying glue and thus cause blisters. The work, therefore, must be kept as cool as possible. Especially is this the case with the inlay of brass and tortoise-shell, known as "buhl" or "Boulle."1 In this work the process of smoothing is generally done with pumice-stone and water to prevent the work from becoming heated.
Fig. 360. Mirror Frame. - Veneered with walnut and inlaid with marqueterie. - 3 ft. 1 in. high by 2 ft. 8 1/4 ins. wide. Frame 5 1/2 ins. wide. Cushion-mould 3! ins. - Date about 1680-5. - J. Dupuis Cobbold, Esq.
Fig. 361. Cabinet. - Veneered with walnut and inlaid with marqueterie. (Upper part only.) - The coarse style of inlay of c, 1690. Height, 2 ft. 6 ins.; width, 3 ft.; depth, 1 ft. 6 ins. - Victoria and Albert Museum.
1 The name is, of course, derived from Andre Charles Boulle, the famous French ebeniste.
Fig. 362. Cabinet On Stand. - Veneered with patterns of oyster-pieces of laburnum and other woods. Height, 5 ft. 3 1/2 ins.; width, 3 ft. 4 1/2 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 8 1/2 ins. - Date about 1690. Victoria and Albert Museum.
Cabinet On Stand
Fig. 364. Cabinet On Stand. - Veneered with walnut and inlaid with marqueterie, - (The original stretcher and feet are missing.) - Height, 5ft. 4 1/2 ins.; width, 3 ft. 8 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 8 ins. - Date about 1685-90. Victoria and Albert Museum,
Fig. 363. Cabinet On Stand. - Veneered with walnut oyster-pieces and inlaid with marqueterie, - 6 ft. 3 1/2 ins. high by 4 ft. 8 1/2 ins. wide by 1 ft. 11 ins. deep. - Date about 1685-90.
Fig. 364. Cabinet On Stand. - Veneered with walnut and inlaid with marqueterie. - (The original stretcher and feet are missing.) - Height, 5 ft. 4 1/2 ins.; width, 3 ft. 8 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 8 ins. - Date about 1685-90. Victoria and Albert Museum.
The art of inlaying woods, the one into another, being mastered by the English craftsman, and the concomitant problems of veneering on straight or shaped surfaces being solved at the same time, materials such as ivory or bone, and even metals such as silver or pewter, were used. Coloured effects were obtained by the staining of wood or ivory, as it was found that the colour-range of the woods available was extremely limited. One of the most decorative devices adopted, which became very general among English cabinet-makers, was to cut saplings transversely, that is, in thin slices across the trunk, and to veneer with these " oyster-pieces." As an ornamental method there was a good deal to be said in its favour, but even if constructional principles be strained to include veneering at all, there is no doubt that end-grain wood, such as these transversely cut saplings must be, does not adhere to its bed as efficiently as veneer cut with the grain. In addition to this, these oyster-pieces are, necessarily, exceedingly brittle, and although this tendency to break under the slightest strain is partly obviated when they are glued down, any warping of the bed or inefficient adhering will cause them to fall off in small broken pieces. If these fragments are not preserved and replaced, it is almost impossible to match them, as no two of these sapling-pieces are ever exactly alikein texture-pattern, and any subsequent restoration becomes an unsightly patchwork. Of these oyster-pieces, the sections of walnut, laburnum or lignum-vitae were the most frequently used, although king-wood and fruit-woods such as apple, plum or cherry are not exceptional. Fig. 355 shows, on a reduced scale, a laburnum oyster-piece with its sap-ring, before being jointed up for veneering. In Figs. 359 and 361, both the inside and outside of the upper and lower doors are entirely veneered with sections of walnut and laburnum, further enriched by an inlay of walnut marqueterie in panels of holly. In Fig. 356 the fronts of the drawers are veneered in the same manner, portions of the outer ring of light-coloured sap-wood being left to enhance the appearance of the oyster rings. The drawers here are edged with a banding of sycamore, but a more usual device was to border panels and drawer fronts with two strips of walnut placed together, with the grain running diagonally, and placed in opposition to produce a " herring-bone " effect. An alternative was to cut the bandings directly across the veneer leaf, a method for which the term " cross-banding " has been coined.