Marquetry almost certainly originated in Holland in the mid 17th century, following the 1685 Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many Huguenots fled to Holland and took with them their exceptional skill and craftsmanship. This was a golden age for Dutch craftsmanship and the decorative arts in general excelled. The great passion of the time was for flowers and in particular tulips; vast sums were paid for the latest and rarest types. For the decorative arts, marquetry was a perfect vehicle to decorate furniture with flowers.
It was naturally far from easy to produce veneers with hand tools. The log had to firstly be squared off to a perfectly plane surface. It was then put over a pit and two sawyers would cut the veneers to 1/16" with a long fine toothed pit saw. One sawyer was above the pit and responsible for guiding the saw, while the unfortunate man in the pit provided the power. After this slice had been removed the, the surface of the log was once more planed smooth and another slice was taken off. This was the method used throughout the eighteenth century until 1805 when the first steam driven circular saw was set up.
Marquetry was a popular form of decoration throughout the 18th century and its styles and sophistication proceeded with ever more elaborate designs. Among the very finest 17th and 18th century craftsmen who excelled in the use of marquetry were Pierre Gole, Jean-Henri Reisner, Pierre Langlois, William Moore and Mayhew and Ince.