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DANIEL MAROT (seventeenth century)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 750 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DANIEL MAROT (seventeenth century), French architect, furniture designer and engraver, and pupil of Jean le Pautre (q.v.), was the son of Jean Marot (1620-1679), who was also an architect and engraver. He was a Huguenot, and was compelled by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 to settle in Holland. His earlier work is characteristic of the second period of Louis XIV., but eventually it became tinged with Dutch influence, and in the end the English style which is loosely called " Queen Anne " owed much to his manner. In Holland he was taken almost immediately into the service of the Stadtholder, who, when he shortly afterwards became William III. of England, appointed him one of his architects and master of the works. Comparatively little is known of his architectural achievements, and his name cannot be attached to any English building, although we know from his own engraving that he designed the great hall of audience for the States-General at the Hague. He also decorated many Dutch country-houses. In England his activities appear to have been concentrated upon the adornment of Hampton Court Palace. Among his plans for gardens is one inscribed: " Parterre d'Amton-court invente par D. Marot." Much of the furniture—especially the mirrors, gueridons and beds—at Hampton Court bears unmistakable traces of his authorship; the tall and monumental beds, with their plumes of ostrich feathers, their elaborate valances and chantournes in crimson velvet or other rich stuffs agree very closely with his published designs. As befits an artist of the time of Louis XIV. splendour and elaboration are the out-standing characteristics of Marot's style, and he appears even to have been responsible for some of the curious and rather barbaric silver furniture which was introduced into England from France in the latter part of the 17th century. At Windsor Castle there is a silver table, attributed to him, supported by caryatid legs and gadrooned feet, with a foot-rail supporting the pine-apple which is so familiar a motive in work of this type. The slab is engraved with the arms of William III. and with the British national emblems with crowns and cherubs. Unquestionably it is an exceedingly fine example of its type. During his life in France Marot made many designs for Andre Charles Boulle (q.v.), more especially for long case and bracket clocks. The bracket clocks were intended to be mounted in chased and gilded bronze, and with their garlands and masquerons and elegant dials are far superior artistically to those of the " grandfather " variety. It is impossible to examine the designs for Marot's long clocks without suspecting that Chippendale derived from them some at least of the inspiration which made him a master of that kind of furniture. Marot's range was extraordinarily wide. He designed practically every detail in the internal ornamentation of the house—carved chimney-pieces, ceilings, panels for walls, girandoles and wall brackets, and even tea urns and cream jugs—he was indeed a prolific at Turin in the autumn of 1544. In character Marot seems to have been a typical Frenchman of the old stamp, cheerful, good-humoured and amiable enough, but probably not very much disposed to elaborately moral life and conversation or to serious reflection. He has sometimes been charged with a want of independence of character; but it is fair to remember that in the middle ages men of letters naturally attached them-selves as dependants to the great. Such scanty knowledge as we have of his relations with his equals is favourable to him. He certainly at one time quarrelled with Dolet, or at least wrote a violent epigram against him, for which there is no known cause. But, as Dolet quarrelled with almost every friend he ever had, and in two or three cases played them the shabbiest of tricks, the presumption is not against Marot in this matter. With other poets like Mellin de Saint Gelais and Brodeau, with prose writers like Rabelais and Bonaventure Desperiers, he was always on excellent terms. And whatever may have been his personal weaknesses, his importance in the history of French literature is very great, and was long rather under than over-valued. Coming immediately before a great literary reform—that of the Pleiade—Marot suffered the drawbacks of his position; he was both eclipsed and decried by the partakers in that reform. In the reaction against the Pleiade he recovered honour; but its restoration to virtual favour, a perfectly just restoration, again unjustly depressed him. Yet Marot is in no sense one of those writers of transition who are rightly obscured by those who come after them. He himself was a reformer, and a reformer on perfectly independent lines, and he carried his own reform as far as it would go. His early work was couched in the rhetoriqueur style, the distinguishing characteristics of which are elaborate metre and rhyme, allegoric matter and pedantic language. In his second stage he entirely emancipated himself from this, and became one of the easiest, least affected and most vernacular poets of France. In these points indeed he has, with the exception of La Fontaine, no rival, and the lighter verse-writers ever since have taken one or the other or both as model. In his third period he lost a little of this flowing grace and ease, but acquired something in stateliness, while he certainly lost nothing in wit. Marot is the first poet who strikes readers of French as being distinctively modern. He is not so great a poet as Villon nor as some of his successors of the Pleiade, but he is much less antiquated than the first (whose works, as well as the Roman de la rose, it may be well to mention that he edited) and not so elaborately artificial as the second. Indeed if there be a fault to find with Marot, it is designer of gold and silver plate. Many of his interiors are very rich and harmonious although commonly over-elaborated. The craze for collecting china which was at its height in his time is illustrated in his lavish designs for receptacles for porcelain—in one of his plates there are more than 300 pieces of china on the chimney-piece alone. Marot was still living in 1718, and the date of his death in unknown. We owe much of our knowledge of his work to the volume of his designs published at Amsterdam in 1712: CEuvres du Sieur D. Marot, architecte de Guillaume III. Roi de la Grande Bretagne, and to Receuil des planches des sieurs Marot, pere et fils. In addition to decorative work these books contain prints of scenes in Dutch history, and engravings of the statues and vases, produced by Marot, at the Palace of Loo.
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