It is better said that the general design of the piece to be covered with mosaic or marquetry, and the expense which one wishes to make is in fact considerably more expensive than simpler furniture described earlier. Because of this substantial increase in cost there is no allowance for any type of mediocrity in its execution, which makes it very pricey when being very well made.*
* Nothing is so common as to see veneered pieces of cabinetry of all types, but nothing is more rare as to find them perfectly made. This is due less to the fault of the workers than that of the collectors, who for the most part are without taste and without knowledge, and even worse, unable to pay for good work and who take indiscriminately that which is presented to them, providing only that it costs very little. From this comes the greatest quantity and the worst quality of marquetry and cabinet work, where, even without speaking of scrimping on materials, the style is absolutely the worst in relation to the theory and practice of the art. The former is totally unheeded for both the sections of marquetry and the ornamentation with mosaics. For the most part these are badly designed and without taste, and rarely designed and made for the space that it occupies. [Often these sections of marquetry were purchased “off the shelf” from catalogs or brokers in marquetry appliqués. If the fit was not perfect, lower-class furniture makers, or more appropriately furniture makers with lower-class patrons, cut and fit these compositions to fit the space on a cabinet whether or not it was aesthetically appropriate. – DCW] I do not pretend to say here that you cannot find pieces of cabinetry and marquetry very well made. I am very far from thinking that. On the contrary, I know that there are excellent artists in this line of business, to which I give all the fairness possible, but sadly that number is not many, and it cannot be otherwise for the reasons that I give above in this footnote.
— A.J. Roubo, “L’Art du Menuisier,” Part III Section III Chapter XII, pp. 866-7