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Ébéniste is the French word for a cabinetmaker, as menuisier denotes a woodcarver or chairmaker. The English equivalent would be ebonists, never commonly used. An ébéniste originally was one working in ebony, a favoured luxury wood for mid-seventeenth century Parisian cabinets, in imitation of elite furniture being made in Antwerp. Early Parisian ébénistes often came from the Low Countries themselves: an outstanding example is Pierre Golle, who worked at the Manufactory of the Gobelins.

Ébénistes make case furniture, which may be veneered or painted. From the mid-nineteenth century the two trades tended to be assembled under the single roof of a furnisher: chairs and other seat furniture had used veneering techniques formerly the guarded privilege of ébénistes since the relaxation of guild rules of the Ancien Régime with the French Revolution's abolition of guilds in 1791

Some Parisian ébénistes

Ébénistes in other centres

References

  • Pierre Verlet, 1963. Les Ébénistes Du XVIII Siecle Francais
  • Pierre Verlet and Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, 1991. French Furniture of the Eighteenth Century

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