Marquetry of Nice


Workshops of cabinet making and table makers from Nice. 

Before Nice became part of France in 1860, wealthy winter residents chose the city for its temperate climate. The rise of a wealthy tourist industry, in search of quality "souvenirs", contributed to the constant development of production techniques in order to create objects and small pieces of furniture of an astonishing quality. 

The cultivation of olive trees and citrus fruits offered Nice the opportunity to develop a craft industry whose reputation would soon spread beyond the borders of the county. 

From 1822 a craftsman from Nice: Claude Ginello creates a workshop of which the Roman painter Paul-Emile Barberi as well as his brother Michel Angel Barberi Mosaic bring models. 

The workshop was taken over by his children and counted up to 40 workers. 

Very quickly, workshops were set up in the new districts, with up to 200 workers in a single workshop. Painters, cabinetmakers, pin makers, locksmiths and upholsterers produced true works of art.

The names of the artisans were as follows: 


E. Cagnoli

J Giando

L ;Dizo

H Lacroix 

Nice marquetry was born.

The structure of the objects is made of olive wood, already used during the Italian Renaissance, for its color and its particular veining. The decorations are designed from local trees: 

Arboisier de l'esterel




Fig tree (dyed in black) 

Root of Fustei (mountain around nice)

Jujube- olive tree

Neflier walnut orange tree of manton

Carob tree of villefranche


Lemon tree, cypress 

... to which are sometimes added rosewood, violet, amaranth... imported to complete the chromatic range.

The city of Sorento in Italy was influenced by these works. 

The full development of this activity took place from 1840 to 1870.

The production was mainly made of small objects such as tea boxes, music cases, liquor cabinets, albums, blotters, trays, cufflinks. 

In 1860, Napoleon III bought a table from Claude Ginello for the Tuileries castle.

From 1890, the traditional marquetry will be supplanted by productions of boxes painted with inscriptions in Indian ink. The change of clientele, its taste for small objects, souvenir at low price, are the causes of new productions simpler of execution.