André-Charles Boulle (born November 11, 1642 in Paris; † February 29, 1732 there) was a French cabinet maker.
He is considered to be the outstanding craftsman and artist in the field of marquetry in France in the 17th century. He is an important representative of the Baroque representational style of the Sun King Louis XIV. Boulle mainly worked for the French court until the royal manufacture was temporarily closed in 1694. His work influenced cabinet making across Europe. The Boulle inlay, further developed by André-Charles Boulle and named after him, differs from conventional marquetry in its unsurpassed quality and the materials used.
The insertion technique
Marquetry - the original French name for inlays - was used centuries ago to decorate valuable furniture or wall coverings. There are first examples from the 15th century in Italy.
For the technique developed by Boulle in the 17th century, he used, among other things ivory, brass, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, pewter and precious woods. He designed and manufactured the necessary tools himself. The inlays were prefabricated and glued onto the heartwood of the housing. The technique is part of the 'Louis quatorze' style.