News  |  04.06.2021

Publication of a new book on the identification of timber species used in French furniture from the 15th to the 20th century

For wood and antique furniture enthusiasts, cabinetmakers, antique dealers.... a new book has just been published by Editions du Patrimoine: L'essence du bois. Manuel d’identification macroscopique des bois du mobilier français du XVIe au XXe siècle.

Timber identification is an essential step in the authentication of furniture. As it is not always possible to take samples for identification with a magnifying glass or microscope, it is very useful to have objective criteria for macroscopic recognition of the timber of heritage furniture. Until now, this knowledge has not been written down or has only been partially available.

In this book, the macroscopic characteristics of each wood are explained, as well as a history of its use or trade. 75 temperate and tropical species are thus described in situation on more than sixty pieces of furniture kept in the great public collections (Louvre Museum, Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Bordeaux, Dauphinois Museum, Museum of the School of Nancy...).

This work was made possible thanks to the joint work of three authors, from three different backgrounds, who were able to combine their scientific and professional expertise with historical information, without which it would be impossible to make a definite identification.

The availability of numerous samples from the CIRAD Xylotheque has enabled the authors to perfect the description of the various tropical woods described in the book (mahogany, rosewood, etc.).

According to " Editions du Patrimoine ".

The authors :

Coming from a great family of veneer merchants, Patrick George is an expert internationally recognized for his exceptional ability to identify woods on a macroscopic scale, from an experience acquired since childhood, and from his technical and historical knowledge on the use and trade of woods, in particular the "precious" woods.

Emmanuel Maurin has a doctorate in wood science and is the engineer in charge of the "Wood" division at the LRMH (Laboratoire de recherche des monuments historiques), where he provides expertise and advice in the field of historical monuments and museums in France. He is the secretary of the French section of the International Conservation Institute (SFIIC) and coordinator of the wood group.

Marie-Christine Trouy-Jacquemet is a lecturer at the University of Lorraine, a researcher at the Lermab (Laboratory of Study and Research on Wood) and a teacher at ENSTIB (École nationale supérieure des technologies et industries du bois). She has developed several reference educational tools in the field of wood anatomy and recognition, in particular a book (Anatomie du bois - formation, fonctions et identification, 2015, Éditions Quae) and a Mooc accessible on the FUN-MOOC platform (France Université Numérique) followed by thousands of learners worldwide since 2016.

Dominique Bouchardon is the official photographer of the Laboratoire de recherche des monuments historiques.

You can buy the book here.