The use of veneers dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who discovered that applying thinly-sliced wood and ivory to other objects allowed for a highly-decorative and desirable effect.
But it wasn’t until the Renaissance that the art form flourished, with the proliferation of ideas, techniques and of course better tools.
By the 18th century, the use of veneers by master craftsmen became an art form in its own right, elevating the most unique and gorgeous natural varieties in grain, color, curvature, texture, and pattern.
Created by adhering thin sheets of wood (and other materials) to another surface, veneers allow for delicate, rare, and exotic woods, like makassar ebony, brazilian rosewood, flame mahogany, and birch, to be intricately applied in furniture design, signaling an access to wealth, power, and trade.
From a purely practical point of view, veneering also allowed for the use of otherwise undesirable portions of a tree. Known as a “burl,” these abnormal growths could be natural knots, environmentally – produced irregularities (stress), or externally induced. Their effect, however, as a limited quantity “pattern,” when properly cut and polished, has produced some of the most exquisite aesthetics in furniture design.
From the masterful Biedermeier Chair below, who’s natural Karelian Birch color emphasizes its balloon-back, to the geometric Art Deco Table enhanced by luxurious Brazilian Rosewood—veneered pieces have stood the test of time, allowing us to celebrate the individuality of each wood grain and its organic ornamentation.
Shop more veneered furniture and decorative objects on The HighBoy.