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Boule-work panel
from MFA # 56.668


An elaborate inlay technique named for Andre Boule in 1673. Boule-work used Tortoiseshell, Ivory, Ebony, Bone, Horn, Mother-of-pearl, Silver, and Brass. Although used in Italy during the 16th century, Boule-work became popular in 17th century France during the reign of Louis XIV. The furniture surface was typically covered with designs in brass then filled with inlays.

Synonyms and Related Terms

boule; buhl; boulle; boulework

Resources and Citations

  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998