Boulle Work Letter Box


Origin: French
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890
Length: 31cms
Depth: 10cms
Height: 16.5 cms

A very attractive boullle work letter box, of unusual casket form, profusely inlaid with pewter, brass, ivory & mother of pearl on a dark ground. The inlay forms elaborate foliate scrolls, with flower motifs, leaf sprays, and medallions. The lid opens to a velvet interior fitted in seven compartments. There are one or two small areas of loss to the inlay.

Boulle (in England, also known as 'Buhl') work is a technique named after Andre Charles Boulle (1642-1732), and involves inlaying brass, tortoiseshell and other materials into usually an exotic hardwood such as amaranth or ebony. It was revived in Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century, and appears on various items of furniture, including chairs, credenzas, commodes, and writing slopes.