Français (Fr)English (United Kingdom)
Le musée et la boutique sont ouverts tous les jours, sauf mardi, de 14h30 à 18h30. Visites guidées à 15h et 16h15.

This module can not work without the Hikashop Component



I scale
I scale
14.04.2011 - 10.10.2011
Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie - Méru


Curator: Lionel Mignot

The exhibition
The exhibition at the Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie devoted to tortoiseshell, the first since that of the City of Paris in 1997, explores a living, mysterious and luxurious material.
It allows you to discover the many fields of application of a natural material from sea turtles. Over the centuries, the tabletiers-écaillers have declined it in all forms and all uses by making decorative or functional objects: marquetry, spectacle frames, toiletry sets, brushes, religious objects, travel cases, holders. cigarettes, letter openers, snuff boxes, jewelry ...
The visitor's journey is articulated in 10 sequences which reproduce all the facets of this astonishing material: its origin, the scale and the men, the work of the scale, its colors, the Pecquet: History of a family of tabletiers -écaillistes, the workshop of Monsieur Pecquet around 1950, the Maison Bonnet, the manufacture of tortoiseshell glasses, tortoiseshell fans and remarkable objects.
The large loans granted by Monsieur Bonnet, one of the rare master craftsmen still active in scale, complete the collections of the Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie, mainly resulting from the donation of Madame Pecquet in 2007.
This exhibition aims to show the public the extraordinary variety of uses of this material and to testify to a rare and prestigious know-how.

Exhibition route
The tour of this exhibition devoted to tortoiseshell presents, for the first time, collections from the Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie and exceptional objects on loan from Maison Bonnet. This exhibition allows us to discover, in 10 sequences, the scale in all its forms and the know-how of the tabletiers-écaillers, acquired over the centuries. 

1. Where does tortoiseshell come from ?
Did you know that tortoiseshell constitutes the carapace of sea-turtles ? Would you like to discover of which turtles exactly ? Come find out what “busques” or “squares” are and which reason leads us to keep a preference for “onglons”. 

2. Tortoiseshell and men : a secular history
During The Antiquity, furniture noticed by Virgil or Ovide was already inlaid with tortoiseshell but those who introduced in Europe the use of tortoiseshell were Portuguese sailors. Therefore, since the 16th century, most of the luxurious objects are decorated with tortoiseshell, offering prestige to whom owns them.

3. The tortoiseshell’s work
The elaboration of tortoiseshell is a very specific craft requiring a precise glance of the material. The tablet-tortoiseshell-maker uses tools close to those employed in joinery but tortoiseshell offers an additional possibility: auto-grafting.

4. Tortoiseshell’s colours
From the extra-blond colour, the rarest colour dedicated to the most luxurious objects, including the extra half-blond, the jaspered-blond, the pinkish melted, the bright or dark jaspered, clear or dark cherish to black, tortoiseshell offers a surprising diversity of shades. This diversity allows the creation of a multitude of items for the everyday life, either devoted to practical or ornamental uses.

5. A family of “tablet-tortoiseshell-makers” ‘s History : the Pecquet Family
Or how a family of tablet-makers using mother of pearl and settled not far from Méru, begins little by little to be interested in tortoiseshell.

6. The workshop of Mr. Pecquet in the 1950s
Thanks to a series of original photographs, visitors will discover the workshop of Mr Pecquet to the fifties. They will also see the different steps of the fabrication of a tortoiseshell item such as the production of a chip, the cutting up or the shaping of a piece of tortoiseshell.

7. The Bonnet House
Spectacle manufacturers from fathers to sons for four generations, the Bonnet take care over their tortoiseshell work and distinguish themselves nowadays as the last successors of this art.

8. The making of tortoiseshell spectacles
The fabrication’s process of the tortoiseshell glasses is based on a very precise know-how. From the measures of the face to the polishing of the frames, each step is cleverly measured out and makes thus each model unique.

9. Tortoiseshell fans
The most emblematic objects of Tablet-making and luxurious objects by excellence are fans, more precisely their settings made of tortoiseshell. Created by the best crafters, exported in the whole world, fans settings have insured the repute of the Tablet-making in Le Pays de Thelle in the 19th century. 

10. Remarkable Objects
Some original instances and rare items made of tortoiseshell. 
détails d'haliotide