Parquetry decoration was a popular design element in 18th-century furniture. This technique involves the use of veneers to create intricate geometric patterns on the surface of furniture. The term “parquetry” is often used interchangeably with “marquetry,” which is a similar technique that involves the use of veneers to create decorative flowing, naturalistic designs.

Parquetry and Marquetry decorated 18th century commode.
Parquetry and Marquetry decorated 18th century commode.

Parquetry decoration was particularly popular in England during the 18th century, where it was used extensively in the construction of furniture including tables, side cabinets, chests of drawers, and decorative objects and boxes or the royal court and elite. The technique was also used in other parts of Europe and in America, where it was also employed in the creation of fine furniture.

The process of creating parquetry involves cutting thin strips of wood veneer into various shapes and sizes, and then arranging them in a pattern on the surface of the furniture. The veneers are then glued in place, sanded, and finished to create a smooth, polished surface.

One of the most common patterns used in parquetry decoration is the herringbone pattern, which consists of diagonal rows of parallelograms. Other popular patterns include chevron, basket weave, and diamond patterns.

Parquetry decoration was often used in combination with other decorative techniques, such as polished show wood, carving and gilding, to create furniture that was both visually stunning and functional. The use of parquetry allowed furniture makers to create intricate designs that would have been difficult or impossible to achieve with carving alone.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, parquetry decoration also served a practical purpose. Veneers also allowed for greater flexibility in design, as they could be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes, to fit a variety of surfaces.

Throughout the 19th-century parquetry decoration was still popular in the creation of fine furniture and decorative objects and continues to this day. The art of parquetry remains an important part of the decorative arts and furniture history and design.


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