François Gilles – Ornamentalist


Researcher and student of École Normale Supérieure Cachan, François Gilles seeks… “the beginning of perfection in his art!”

An ornamental sculptor, he earned a degree from École Boulle in 2015 and recognition as the Meilleur Apprenti de France (best apprentice in France). At the end of his studies, he restored one Rousseau de la Rottière masterpiece, a subject addressed at the 2016 MAD Symposium (Sculpture at the end of the 17th century: Rediscovery of a masterpiece by Rousseau de la Rottière).


According to François, the work of an ornamental sculptor is as technical a job as it is an emotional and challenging one. Academic and emotional strength brings flexibility in all schools of sculpture, down to a purely graphic approach.

In this respect, Diderot spoke of the tension between mechanical art and liberal art, a tension that François set out to resolve. That cannot be done without a heightened awareness of historical issues and theories concerning sculpture that say there is no creation from scratch.


This approach, started by Xavier Bonnet and Pierre Ramond, is the only guarantee of quality in the eye of the restorer of objects from the past. But for François, it is also the opportunity for art to be refreshed and progress.


Will to transmit

François is completely invested in the transmission of his savoir-faire:

  • He is teacher at École Normale Supérieure of Cachan, in parallel with his ornamental sculpting activities.
  • Lectures and a regularly updated database during art history conferences.
  • Weekly volunteer work at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs alongside Anne Forray-Carlier, chief curator of the Middle Age – Renaissance and 17th and 18th Century department.
  • He has started a thesis in Art History about the woodwork collection of Musée des Arts Décoratifs of Paris.
  • Welcoming interns at his workshop.



Fondation Rémy Cointreau helped François Gilles acquire a band saw and a radial saw, enabling him to work more independently.


Discover in video François’ exceptional savoir-faire:


Wilfrid Jolly – Coppersmith and designer


Sandrine Raffin – Bow maker