Two marquetry boxes

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Project by shipwright posted 03-10-2019 03:11 AM 2394 views 10 times favorited 55 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These two boxes make use of the second and third of my four Jean Francois Oeben inspired marquetry motifs for their mirror image tops. They were custom made to house a collection of balls of embroidery yarn.

I made them for the collector who bought my earlier jewellery box. She likes my work and after the initial concept drawing she gave me full creative control to make them as detailed as I wanted. She didn’t want to see any progress pictures at all and just said … “surprise me”.

For that reason, I haven’t posted much at all for the last year to be sure I didn’t spoil the surprise. Well, she took possession a few days ago so I can now post them and maybe a blog with some progress shots.

All the marquetry motifs and parquetry patterns are authentic to J F Oeben, an eighteenth century French Master, although somewhat “interpreted” to fit my spaces and the backs feature a version of Louis XV’s monogram.

The principal woods are Purpleheart, Tulipwood, Ribbon Bloodwood, and Kingwood. The marquetry includes several other exotics as well as the bright yellow Mahonia (Oregon Grape) from my own garden and some greens and blues that I dyed specially for the job.

This is my favourite picture of them. The pencil appears to be a vampire. I only wish I had had a little Dracula doll instead of the pencil.

Thanks for looking.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

55 comments so far

View Jerry's profile


3488 posts in 2701 days

#1 posted 03-10-2019 03:44 AM

Okay Paul, there is very little I can say about work at this level. You constantly amaze me with your mastery of your chosen subject and the execution of it. What I want to do is just rant on and on about how amazing this work is, how wonderful your craftsmanship is and just keep throwing superlatives at you one after another, but I know that you have had the satisfaction of actually bringing these two beautiful works of art to life, and no words could ever match that experience. Bravo.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Andre's profile


4452 posts in 2859 days

#2 posted 03-10-2019 03:51 AM

After having seen your original Jewelry box I can only imagine how beautiful these are!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View prometej065's profile


336 posts in 4736 days

#3 posted 03-10-2019 04:00 AM

In the finest tradition of the old masters of marquetry.


View ralbuck's profile


6722 posts in 3319 days

#4 posted 03-10-2019 04:01 AM


-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3615 posts in 4765 days

#5 posted 03-10-2019 04:07 AM


These were definitely worth the wait. You have become an incredible master of marquetry. The inside is every bit as beautiful and detailed as the outside. What a pleasure for the eyes.

I must say, however, that I cringed when you touched the box without your white gloves!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 03-10-2019 05:10 AM

Very Nice Projects! & Well Done! Paul!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3848 days

#7 posted 03-10-2019 05:41 AM

Superb craftsmanship Paul. Excellent creations.
I also like what Bill will mention about “Copperfield” in Comment #22.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Boxguy's profile


2894 posts in 3320 days

#8 posted 03-10-2019 06:13 AM

Paul, these are astounding. Truly a masterpiece in the old world sense of craftsmanship. Bravo!

-- Big Al in IN

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3433 days

#9 posted 03-10-2019 07:43 AM

Very impressive.

-- Rick M,

View Dutchy's profile


4064 posts in 3221 days

#10 posted 03-10-2019 08:29 AM

You not only suprised the lady. These are so beautiful and I’m glad that you after a long time can share this master pieces with us! I hope this makes clear that this contribution is more than outstanding.

Mostly nicest things need more time.


View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2845 posts in 4736 days

#11 posted 03-10-2019 09:00 AM

Beautiful boxes Paul, she certainly will be surprised but then again she has seen your work and knows what a great craftsman you are. I take it you have settled into life in Canada and we will see more. Well done.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View madburg's profile


325 posts in 1896 days

#12 posted 03-10-2019 09:54 AM

Pleased to see that you continue to produce traditional marquetry of the very highest order. Great work Paul, I like the opening ends idea. Good to see it posted.

-- Madburg WA

View MontanaBob's profile


874 posts in 3737 days

#13 posted 03-10-2019 10:18 AM


View Sasha's profile


1301 posts in 2265 days

#14 posted 03-10-2019 10:37 AM

-- Ganchik Sasha. Life is not a draft, tomorrow you will not redo......

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7245 posts in 1635 days

#15 posted 03-10-2019 10:50 AM

Golly, Paul. They’re stunning! Beautiful work.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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