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Document Details :
Title: De interpretatie van Roubo's L'Art du menuisier (ca. 1770) en van andere kunsttechnologische tekstbronnen over interieur- en meubelkunst
Author(s): DEN OTTER, Herman
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Interieurgeschiedenis en Design
Volume: 41 Date: 2019
Research into historical furniture and interiors regularly makes use of André-Jacob Roubo’s L’Art du menuisier, written between 1769 and 1775. This work provides extensive descriptions and illustrations of late 18th-century studio practice of joiners, cabinet makers, coach-builders and trellis-makers. The exceptional extent and quality of both its text and its many plates in fact often make it the first choice of source, even for periods and localities that have produced other interesting source material. L’Art du menuisier should be used with due caution, however, as its version of studio practice is in fact an idealised one as a result of the author’s aim to provide only best practice and many suggestions for improved but often unworkable working methods. This article attempts to demonstrate the existence of a great and most varied number of art-technological sources in this field of study that deserves the attention of more researchers, by presenting a brief survey of some of the more interesting examples in the field of historical furniture and interiors that can provide valuable information on studio practice. The study of art-technological sources can teach us many details about the way furniture and interior wall-paneling was designed and built. Material aspects of historical objects contain much information in themselves and the whole process of their creation can often be better understood by taking source-based information into account. The reliability of these publications varies greatly and is influenced by each author’s professional qualities and his ideas and ideals concerning his trade. Reading and interpreting these sources requires a critical attitude in order to avoid drawing undue conclusions.