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‘Meubles de maîtrise’ (miniature masterpieces)

‘Meubles de maîtrise’ are miniature masterpieces of creativity. Miniature pieces of furniture have always aroused the passion of collectors and lovers of ‘meubles de maîtrise’. A cabinetmaker’s apprentice had to make a miniature piece of furniture (‘meuble de maîtrise’) to demonstrate his skills and pass his ‘examen de maîtrise’ in order to become a master cabinetmaker or compagnon (a journeyman employed by a master craftsman).

The ‘meubles de maîtrise’ attest to the excellence of the decorative arts on a reduced scale. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth century, prestigious commissions required the prior creation of a model or a reduced-scale model, which were validated before the full-scale pieces were made. Miniature pieces of furniture and Lilliputian objects have for centuries aroused the keen interest of antique dealers and people who are passionate about miniature antiques.