Marquetry  is the art and craft of applying pieces of wood veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. Simple or sophisticated objects can be enhanced with artistic quality and the use of selected wood veneers. Marquetry and inlaying are techniques that use fine woods to make pictures or decorate objects. Marquetry and inlay use similar subjects but different techniques. The basic difference is that marquetry is placed on a surface while inlays are inserted into a surface.

 The early use of wood veneers for decorative purposes dates back to ancient Egypt. The Pharaohs were surrounded with many chairs and chests that incorporated thinly-sliced sections of contrasting woods and semi precious materials assembled in geometric patterns. Marquetry was very popular in the late 17th and early 18th century France, where the craft reached the status of high art through generous royal patronage. André Charles Boulle was a prominent artist at the time. By 1672 he was employed in the royal workshops of Louis XIV. Boulle supplied many pieces of furniture to the palace of Versailles.
Today this ancient and unique art form is carried on by artists like Paul Dean.