A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - V - W - Y - Z
Acanthus :

A classical decorative motif based on the leaves of the acanthus plant.

Adam :

A classical revival principally inspired by Robert Adam (1728 - 1792).

Affleck, Thomas :

A leading American cabinetmaker. Born in Scotland, he emigrated in 1763 and settled in Philadelphia, where he became an outstanding exponent of the American Chippendale style. He was more restrained and less Rococo than his contemporary, Benjamin Randolph. He continued making Chippendale style furniture into the Federal period. Cabinetmaker in Colonial America; active (1773-1795). Originally English.

Aneroid barometer :

An aneroid barometer is a container that holds a sealed chamber from which some air has been removed, creating a partial vacuum. An elastic disk covering the chamber is connected to a needle or pointer on the surface of the container by a chain, lever, and springs. As atmospheric pressure increases or decreases, the elastic disk contracts or expands, causing the pointer to move accordingly.

Anthemion :

A formalized decorative motif based on honeysuckle, particularly popular from the late 18th century.

Arabesque :

A repetitive, intricate pattern derived from Arab designs based originally on plant and flower motifs.

Armoire :

A cupboard of great size, with doors.

Art Nouveau :

A design movement from the late 1800's, inspired greatly by the work of Japanese Meiji period artists.

Assay :

The testing of metal to establish a level of purity.

Bachelor's Chest :

A small chest of drawers with a fold-over top supported by slides.

Baroque :

A style originating in Italy in the early 17th century. Extravagantly ornate, florid and convoluted in character or style.

Basin Stand :

An 18th century term describing a variety of washstands. Basically a tripod stand or small square stand with a molded ring to hold the basin, small drawers below the frieze and a shelf for an ewer beneath.

Basket Stand :

Variation on a worktable, usually a tripod stand with two tiers of open gallery-work for holding knick-knacks.

Bergère :

An upholstered armchair modeled on a French design, fashionable from 1725. Often with crane work sides, back and seat.

Biedermeier :

A style of furnishings common in German-specking areas in the early to middle 19th century, generally a simplification of the French Directoire and Empire styles.

Blind Fret :

Fretted decoration applied to the surface of solid wooden furniture.

Blue John :

Blue John Stone is a rare, semiprecious mineral found at only one location in the world - a hillside near Mam Tor, just outside Castleton in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park, England. The name Blue John derives from the French Bleu Jaune meaning Blue Yellow. It is a form of fluorite and was discovered as miners were exploring the cave systems of Castleton for lead. Nowadays, the caves of Castleton are magnificent show caves and are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Derbyshire. Of the four show caves only Treak Cliff and, to a lesser extent, Blue John have veins of Blue John Stone. Treak Cliff Cavern still mines about 500 kilograms of Blue John Stone each year. The veins of Blue John Stone are easy to see and many of the formations are well lit. Blue John Stone is a semiprecious stone and gives Castleton its nickname of 'Gem of the Peaks.

Bog Oak :

Irish Bog Oak wood is a rare timber which is excavated from deep underground, usually as a by-product of turf cutting, or when bogland is drained for agricultural use. The wood varies in age, usually ranging between 2,000 and 6,000 years old, The wood has been preserved due to the unique conditions of the Turf bogs in Ireland which waterlog the wood and keep it free from oxygen and sunlight which would cause it to decay. The chemistry of the Bog also reacts with the wood and transforms it's colour. Bog Oak is usually jet black, but occasionally a very dark brown. Throughout the Nineteenth Century and later many decorative items such as small furniture, Writing Slopes, Book Slides, Boxes and Ladies Jewellery, always with distinctive hand carved Irish subjects.

Boiserie :

A French term for carved wooden paneling to rooms, including doors, frames, cupboards and shelves which were part of the paneling.

Boulle :

A technique developed by Andre-Charles Boulle (1642-1732) of inlaying brass with tortoiseshell and, sometimes, pewter, fashionable and highly prized in France throughout the 18th century. Usually made in Paris, the second commode, table or cabinet was in " contre boulle"; the reverse version with tortoiseshell inlaid with brass. English boulle was first popular during the Regency Period. Rarely of as high a quality as the French, it was increasingly debased as machine techniques enabled a similar effect to be achieved during the Victorian Period.

Britannia Standard :

A purity of silver containing 958 parts pure silver per 1000. Used from 1697 to 1720.

Buffet :

A 16th-century serving or side table, frequently with two or three tiers.  In the late 17th and 18th-centuries there were cupboards beneath the serving surface and an elaborate superstructure above. 

Bureau a Cylindre :

A late 18th-century desk with curved quarter-circle front in solid wood which, when lifted, swung up beneath the underside of the top.

Bureau Plat: :

A French writing table of substantial proportions with a flat surface.

Burnishing :

The creation of a lustre on metal by rubbing the surface with a smooth hard agate (or similar) tool.

Butterfly Table :

A tavern table made in America in the late 17th and 18th centuries. The name arises because of the wing-shaped extended fly-brackets that supported the flaps instead of the more common gate leg. The legs were canted outwards to achieve a more elegant shape.

Cabochon :

Oval convex decorative ornament frequently found on knees of cabriole legs.

Cartouche :

Oval, occasionally rectangular decorative tablet. The term is most frequently used for the decorative surround to an armorial bearing.

Caryatid :

Correct term for carved female figures or half-figures supporting an entablature instead of columns. See also Atlantes.

Cellaret :

A wine cooler with a lockable lid, usually fitted with a bottle rack.

Champlevé :

Technique of enameled decoration where the metal base is channeled or cut out to receive the enamel.

Chippendale, Thomas (1718-1779) :

A furniture designer, cabinet-maker and interior decorator.

Cloisonné :

A technique of enameling using fine strips of metal soldered to the base to divide one color of enamel from another.

Credenza :

An early Italian serving table or sideboard with canted corners, two or three cupboards in the base and drawers in the frieze.

Cross banding :

A strip or band of veneer laid across the grain.

Daniel Sherrin :

Biography: Daniel Sherrin was born in Brentwood, Essex, England in 1868, being the son of John Sherrin,R.I. (1819-1896) who specialised in Still Life subjects. Daniel studied under his father and became a pupil of B.W. Leader, the well known landscape artist and a member of the "Williams" family. He lived for a while on the East Coast of England near Whitstable and although primarily a landscape artist, he also painted along the shores of Suffolk and Norfolk. In his early period he painted Sailing Ships very similar to those of Thomas Somerscales and early Montague Dawson's, later he turned to landscapes and these he painted with technical ability and competent brush strokes as seen in this good example, and it is for these subjects he has become well known. It is also accepted that as well as painting under his own name Daniel Sherrin, he occasionally painted under the pseudonym of 'L Richards' and ‘Horace Gallon’. His paintings were often used for book illustrations and a scene titled "In the Highlands", depicting Highland Cattle by a Loch, can be seen in a book titled "British Highways and Byways from a Motor Car", by Thomas D. Murphy, which was published in 1908. We have found a reference that suggests he exhibited in the Royal Academy and in principal provincial galleries but we cannot substantiate this. Some of his works were engraved, the most important being a landscape entitled "Peace-perfect-peace" for which he received the sum of £150! He was commissioned by King George V to paint Sandringham and this painting still hangs in Buckingham Palace. During the first World War he did valuable work on the design of posters in connection with recruitment for Kitchener's Army and this work is currently in the archives of the Imperial War museum. His son Reginald Daniel Sherrin (1891-1971) was also an artist, who painted in watercolour and specialised in moorland and coastal views.

Directoire :

Pertaining to the style of French furnishings and decorations of the mid-1790's, characterized by an increasing use of Greco-Roman forms along with an introduction, toward the end, of Egyptian motifs.

Ebéniste :

In France, a general-term for a cabinet-maker as opposed to makers of seat furniture. The ancient guild of menuisiers-ebénistes protected their members from cheaper work by foreign craftsmen and from 1741 ordered them to sign their work, which was then passed by the Jure des menuisiers-ébénistes, who approved and stamped each piece "JME".

Ebonizing :

Close-grained wood, such as beech or birch, stained and polished to resemble ebony, much used in the 18th century, particularly for chairs.

Edwardian :

Pertaining to the rein of Edward VII.

Edwards & Roberts :

Edwards & Roberts was founded in 1845, and had premises at 21 Wardour Street London. By 1892 they occupied more than a dozen buildings in Wardour Street, where they continued to trade until the end of the century. They became one of the leading London cabinet makers and retailers working in a variety of styles, both modern and revivalist. Their business also involved retailing, adapting and restoring the finest antique furniture and there are many examples of their earlier furniture with later embellishments bearing their stamp. Edwards & Roberts specialized in marquetry, inlay and ormolu. Edwards & Roberts was one of the principal London companies working in the taste of the late 18th century. They started business in 1845 and by 1854 were trading as "Edwards & Roberts, 21 Wardour Street, Antique and Modern Cabinet Makers and Importers of Ancient Furniture". Wardour Street became an important furniture retailing area in the second half of the 19th century. The firm carried a fine and complete library of the old designers (i.e. Chippendale, Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton).

Elizabeth Gray :

Elizabeth Gray 1831-1924: Born Elizabeth Anderson married Robert Gray in April 1856 and they both shared an interest in collecting fossils each holiday back in Girwen. They lived in Glasgow, where Robert worked in a bank, and their holidays were spent back in Ayrshire. Elizabeth's interest lay in documenting and discovering fossils and she trained her children to document their findings too. Robert co-founded the Natural History Society of Glasgow where much of their findings were exhibited. It was traditional that men took the lead and Mrs Robert Gray was a name she used. Robert would present and take credit for his family's work. At the time you needed to publish papers to join learned societies. Elizabeth's specimens were frequently used at the start of meetings of the Natural History Society of Glasgow but with poor attribution that implied that her husband or she were possibly those responsible. However, in 1866 the first Gray collection was given to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow by the two of them. Gray has left extensive collections of Scottish fossils in a number of British museums.

Empire :

Characteristic of or developed during the first French Empire, 1804 - 1815.

Enamel :

See Cloisonné, Champlevé.

Encoignure :

A French name for a standing corner cupboard, usually made en suite with a commode, with a marble top and ormolu or gilt metal mounts.

Etruscan Style :

A style of decoration derived from ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan ornament.

Fauteuil :

A French name for an elegant, comfortable chair with open arms and upholstered back and seat, dating from the mid-18th century and originally covered in silk, satin, velvet or damask, usually replaced in 19th century with tapestry.

Federal :

Pertaining to the decorative arts and architecture in the United States circa 1780 - 1830.

Figure :

A generic term for the natural patterns revealed by skilful cutting of veneer e.g. flame grain, Cuban curl, fiddle back, oyster, etc.

Fitzhugh China Pattern :

The Fitzhugh China Pattern originates from three representatives of two generations of Fitzhughs of the English branch who became sea captains and even a Director of the British East India Company. Senior officers of the EIC were allowed to trade on their own account, and during the period 1704-1790s they shipped much of the pattern to England. For more information see an article by J.B.S. Holmes in the American magazine “Antiques”, January 1966, pp.130-1; also Spode’s Willow Pattern and other Designs after the Chinese,Ch. 14, The Chinese Trophies and Fitzhugh Patterns, Robert Copeland, 1990.

Flambeau :

A torch or flame, sometimes springing from an urn, used as a decorative finial from the end of the 17th century and throughout the 18th.

Flat Chasing :

Punch applied decoration which leaves an impression on the reverse side.

Fluting :

Parallel and vertical line pattern usually created by cutting grooves.

Gadroon / Gadrooning :

A carved decoration to the edges of tables, desks, shelves, etc., widely used from the 16th century onwards. Properly the term applies to silver, and originated in the shape of clenched knuckles.

Georgian :

Pertaining to the styles of architecture and furniture current in England from 1714 - 1811.

Gesso :

Paste composed of whiting or finely powdered marble dust mixed with glue and water which sets hard and is easy to carve. Used extensively in the 18th century as a base for decorative gilding and embellishment of carved woodwork such as mirror and painting frames.

Gilding :

Methods of gilding wood have remained unchanged. The two main techniques are still in current use: Water Gilding  is the application of gold leaf using water as the agent to cause the gold to 'stick' to the gesso, some of which is then burnished. Oil Gilding is the application of fine sheets of gold leaf on to a surface with an oil size, a more lasting process but less lustrous. Gilt-metal and gilded metal are achieved by fire-gilding (also known as mercury gilding), when an amalgam of mercury is applied to the metal to be gilded, which fuses on being heated.

Girandole :

A wall-mounted candelabrum of French inspiration, with one or more candle branches set in a gilt wood or gilt-metal frame surrounding a small asymmetric or convex mirror to reflect the light of the flame.

Gothic :

Pertaining to styles of architecture and decoration originating in France in the middle of the 12th century and existing in the western half of Europe through the middle of the 16th century.

Grisaille :

Decorative monochrome painting in tones of gray, in oil, gouache or tempera, widely used for decorative panels for 18th-century interiors and occasionally for furniture.

Guéridon :

A general term for a lamp stand in France. The "table en guéridon" was a small circular tea table.

Guilloche :

A decoration consisting of two bands twisted in a continuous figure of eight.

Harold Clayton - Artist - UK :

Harold Clayton was born in London in 1896. He came from an artistic family and was sent to art school in Hackney at an early age. After graduating with distinction, he moved to Harrow Art School and completed the course, once again, with distinction. From here he was sent to Hornsey College of Art where he studied graphic design and commercial art - graduating, as ever, with distinction (even though he was not particularly enamoured of this art form). Finally, he went to St. Martins School of Art where he studied under the celebrated Art Master Norman Jones.

Meticulous attention to detail and his love of the garden were the two predominant forces which shaped his painting. Although he was a master of many mediums it is primarily for still life flower paintings that he became famous. This is ironic as he completed relatively few flower paintings in his life. He painted approximately one painting per month, which accounts for both the scarcity of his still life paintings and their quality.

Hepplewhite, George :

(died 1786) A cabinet-maker and chair-maker, author of the Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788, 1789 and 1794.

Highboy :

Quite distinct from the English Tallboy, an American term for a chest-on-stand or high chest derived from William and Mary and Queen Anne furniture, but with more elaborate bonnet top or decorative pediment. Highboys continued to be made until the end of the 19th century.

Hutch :

From the French huche, a chest. In America the term is sometimes used for open dressers.

Intaglio :

Cutting a figure or design so that it is hollowed out; the opposite of cameo.

Intarsia :

Inlaid pictorial decoration loosely described as mosaic in wood. The design is cut out of different colored woods and then inset in panels.

Jacobean :

Pertaining to the style of architecture and furnishings prevailing in England in the first half of the 17th century, continuing the Elizabethan style with a gradual introduction of Italian models in architecture and increased elaboration of forms and motifs in furnishings.

James Edward Grace :

James Edward Grace: A major British landscape painter of the late 19th century, James Edward Grace displayed immense talents, even in his early years.By the age of twenty, he had already exhibited with the prestigious Royal Academy in London. He continued to regularly exhibit with the Royal Academy until 1903, as well as showing his art with the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Society of British artists, The New England Art Club, The Royal Hibernian Academy, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors and others. He became a full member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1878. During the 1880's and 1890's, J. E. Grace achieved a large international reputation, particularly in the United States, France, Canada and Australia. Some of his paintings were etched by engravers such as Alexander Gravier and published in both London and New York. In his paintings, James Edward Grace was best known for his gentle pastoral views of rivers, streams and surrounding countryside, such as this original painting.

Japanning :

In imitation of lacquer work from Japan and the Far East, a technique used in England from the late 17th century, which was at its height in the late 18th century when the term was usually applied to metal coated with layers of varnish, dried and hardened by heat. Confusingly, "japanning" became interchangeable with Lacquer Work when applied to wood coated with a form of gesso and then with layers of varnish.

June Brilly :

Born into a farming family in Illinois, Mid West USA in 1956. A great interest in horses and an early career in racing in the USA led her to Ireland in 1975 to work with steeplechasers. She has been here ever since. In 1982 following many successful commissions she decided to devote herself to painting full-time. She now lives and works in Co. Kildare, Ireland June.

Karl Palda :

The firm of Karl (or Carl or Karel) Palda was founded in 1888 in Haida (Novy Bor), Bohemia . Little is known of their development, but from their 50th anniversary catalogue of 1938 - which showed a huge range of glassware, including items similar to this exception and fine pair- it is obvious that they co-operated closely with glass schools and other manufacturers and were well-respected refiners and exporters of high quality glassware. Also at Haida in Northern Bohemia was a Technical College for Fine and Commercial Art, which became well respected for the fine quality art glass produced by senior students and professors. Items produced were sold through commercial glass factories such as that of J Oertel & Co at Haida. The Haida Staatsfachschule at Haida, Novy Bor , Bohemia was operating from 1870 until possibly the 1920s. It was the State Trade School for glassmaking, noted for training enamellists such as Louis Arthur Fritzche, Adolf Rasche, Arnold Eiselt (1907-14), Rudolph Müller (c 1909-10), Karl Lorenz (c 1909).

Kas :

From the Dutch word kasse, a chest. A large two doored cupboard or press made in North America by Dutch settlers in the second half of the 17th century in the old state of the New Netherlands, between the Delaware and Connecticut rivers. Typically the kas has bun feet, two doors, a heavily decorated cornice and grisaille paintings of fruit, flowers, etc. in the panels.

Killarneyware :

Killarneyware, the distinctive style of furniture produced in Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe during the mid-19th century. The use of Arbutus wood is typical of Killarney. This whitish close-grained wood which yellows with age had been highly valued for centuries in Ireland. Popular subjects frequently seen on Killarney furniture include such historical sites as Muckross Abbey, Glena Cottage, Muckross House and Ross Castle.

Lacquer Work :

Originating in the Far East, the method consisted of coating wood or paper-mâche with layers of pigmented resin, the surface of which could then be painted. The composition of early European lacquer was different from the Oriental models and the techniques of application and decoration were rarely as fine.

Lazy Susan :

A late 18th-century American version of the dumb waiter - a revolving tray sometimes with compartments on a low stand, placed in the center of a dining table.

Library Steps :

Made in a variety of forms in the 18th century, some resembling Bed Steps but with fitted compartments for books and papers, some as chairs which, with the seat hinged over, transformed into a set of three or four steps. The most ingenious opened like a fan from a single pole into a miniature ladder of three or four treads.

Line Inlay :

An American term for Stringing.

Louis XIII :

Pertaining to the styles in France 1610-1643.

Louis XIV :

Pertaining to the styles in France 1660-1710.

Louis XV :

Pertaining to the styles in France 1715-1774.

Louis XVI :

Pertaining to the styles in France 1774-1792.

Lowboy :

In America, a term for a dressing table, usually with one long drawer and three short ones, made en suite with a Highboy. The term is also used for English Queen Anne period dressing tables.

Marquetry :

A form of decorative veneering in which exotic and contrasting woods were cut and fitted together like a jigsaw to form intricate patterns which were then applied as panels of veneer. There were basically two types: arabesque or seaweed marquetry using box or holly with walnut, and floral marquetry using fruitwoods, burr-walnut, ivory, ebony, etc.

Marquise Chair :

A broad chair to accommodate two people, made in France towards the end of the 17th century.

Moser Glass Crystal :

Founded in 1857, Moser boasts a long tradition of superior artistic and technical standards in lead-free crystal. The quality of the crystal and perfection of Moser's hand cutting, engraving, gilding and brilliant colors are unsurpassed by any contemporary glass or crystal company in the world. Created by Ludwig Moser & Sons, the line originated as an engraving studio in the spa town of Karlsbad, located in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), a region with deep roots in superior glass-making. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Moser developed its now famous technically perfect crystal production, employing a unique formula for producing a substance as hard as rock and as brilliant as lead crystal - but without using a trace of lead. This composition is very suitable for Moser's marvelous engravings, is ecologically sound and remains free of all concerns associated with lead. Moser's innovative techniques in cutting, engraving and coloring quickly won the line great acclaim at many prestigious international art exhibitions. Soon Moser became the proud possession of royalty, heads of state and well-known personalities throughout the world, an esteemed reputation that has held fast and continues to grow now in the 21st century.

Neoclassical :

Pertaining to the revival of classical styles characterized by the introduction and widespread use of Greek orders and decorative motifs in the late 17th to the mid-19th centuries.

Night Table / Stool :

An 18th-century bedside stool designed to conceal its function, with a tray top and mock drawer supported on two legs which pulled out, accommodating a seat and fitted pan.

Ogee :

A double curved molding, convex above, concave below.

Ormolu :

In France, a highly specialized craftsman made gilded metal or "bronze dorée" for which special alloys of bronze and brass were made, for furniture mounts, clocks, girandoles, etc. In England ormolu was never considered a great art, and was commonly plain brass, cast and gilded.

Osler F. C. :

F & C Osler 1807-1976: One of the best known glass makers in the world was F & C Osler, founded in 1807 by Thomas Osler with premises in Great Charles Street. They later moved to Broad Street in Birmingham. The hey day of the company was between the mid 19th century and 1914. They opened their own glasshouse in Freeth Street in 1849. Thomas Clarkson Osler and Sons, and A Follet Osler were also involved in the company. The company first operated a glass toy & cutting shop, later expanding into larger items such as chandeliers. The company later became world famous for their very large ornate chandeliers and massive glass structures, including tables and thrones. The expansion of the company was largely the result of AF Osler's development of a method of building up solid glass around a metal core creating objects of a size and complexity previously thought impossible. The company even manufactured glass staircases. The companies glass products were exported all around the world and a large amount went into the palaces of India. One of the companies greatest pieces was the crystal fountain made for The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park London which was over eight metres high and contained four tons of crystal. Interest in heavy cut glass decreased in the 20th century and the company started to concentrate in the production of light fittings. The glasshouse was closed in 1922 and the Broad Street outlet was closed in 1965. The company went into liquidation in 1976. Thomas Clarkson Osler set an important precedent for others to follow when in 1871 he established the "Public Picture Gallery Fund" for the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with a gift of £3000. (Four years later Joseph Chamberlain donated a further £1000 for the purchase of Industrial Art.)

Overstuffed :

Chairs and seat furniture with the padding and covering taken over the wooden frame of the seat and seat rails, being more comfortable than padded drop-in seats with the seat frame exposed. Thomas Clarkson Osler set an important precedent for others to follow when in 1871 he established the "Public Picture Gallery Fund" for the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with a gift of £3000. (Four years later Joseph Chamberlain donated a further £1000 for the purchase of Industrial Art.)

Oyster veneer :

Of Dutch origin, introduced into England in the late 17th century, a form of veneering which used the cross-sections of small branches of walnut, olive, laburnum and other woods cut at 45 degrees.

Palmette :

A classical motif similar to a fan or stylized palm leaf, often used in conjunction with a lotus.

Parcel Gilt :

Literally partially gilded.

Parquetry :

A decorative geometrical inlay using contrasting grain of different woods. Most prevalent in late 17th century and early 18th century walnut veneered furniture.

Pennsylvania Dutch :

Plain, sturdy furniture in cherry wood, pine and local woods, often painted with tulips, hearts and birds, made by German and Swiss immigrants to America.

Pietra Dura :

An inlay of semi-precious stones such as agate, chalcedony, lapis lazuli, porphyry, sardonyx; the technique was at its height in Italy around 1600, but the result was so expensive that the cheaper Scagliola process came to dominate.

Porcupine Quill Boxes :

Porcupine Quill Boxes were made and imported from Southern Ceylon. Finely inlaid with ivory discs and porcupine quills between bands of ebony. They were highly valued for their rich timbers and intricate craftsmanship. Period: The production of porcupine quill boxes and furniture falls between around 1850 and 1900. There are several documented examples that give the outline for these dates. In particular there is one in the V&A Museum in London, which was given to Queen Victoria circa 1850. Production: Production of Ceylonese ebony and porcupine quill boxes was focused in three areas of southern Ceylon – Galle, Matara and Matura – all important trading posts, benefiting from the thriving export trade. The style of the boxes was very much aimed at the demand of the European market, boxes imitated traditional English forms such as jewellery boxes, sewing baskets and writing boxes. Although porcupine quill boxes were originally made for English residents, by the late 19th century, there was a thriving commercial export trade.

Poupée, à la :

A technique of color printing whereby colored ink is applied directly to a plate's surface and worked into the appropriate areas of the design using cotton daubs called dollies, or in French, poupées.

Press :

A term used in America to describe a late 16th-century cupboard similar to a Court Cupboard and known in England as a hall cupboard. Also known as a linen cupboard.

Quartering / Quarter Veneer :

Veneer cut and laid in four pieces, usually with grain at right angles, most frequently found on early English pieces from the end of the 17th century.

Quatrefoil :

A common design element consisting of four symmetric lobes around a center.

Queen Anne Style :

By 1720, certain stylistic changes in American furniture were taking place. Transitional forms between the William and Mary and Queen Anne styles appeared at that time, and the new style was firmly established by about 1725. The introduction of the fluid, curving line represented the fundamental stylistic change during this period. These curves were based on a scroll-like element first seen in French decorative art in about 1700 and was now expressed in the rounded cabriole leg, curved cresting piece, vase-shaped splat, and shell carving. Some of these innovations carried over into the Chippendale period.

Quianlong Period :

Quianlong Period (1736-1795)  During this period very large quantities of Chinese porcelain were being exported to Western Europe. The Chinese Port of Nanking gives its name to many of the later blue & white pieces. This pair of plates shows a very popular theme of hand paintings as well as of course the very familiar Willow Pattern which shows lakeside landscapes with pagodas, houses and trees. These designs were widely copied and used on English pottery and porcelain throughout the first half of the Nineteenth Century.     

Reading Chair :

A chair with a saddle-shaped seat and curved back fitted with adjustable book rest on which the occupant sat astride. Made from the early 18th century and sometimes called Library Chairs there were sometimes small candle-trays hinged below the arms or attached to the book rest. A 19th-century version of the reading chair has an adjustable book rest along with a writing surface on one arm.

Récamier :

Directoire chaise longue or daybed in the Grecian manner with upward curving ends.

Régence :

Pertaining to the style of French furnishings and decorations of 1700-1720, in which a transition occurs from the Baroque Style of Louis XIV to the Rococo Style of Louis XV.

Regency :

The Regency style was the second phase of the Classic Revival in England. The style was in vogue in the decorative arts from about 1795 to 1820, although historically Regency covers the years from 1811 to 1820. The Regency style was marked by an eclectic character, based on the cult of antiquity and was essentially an archaeological revival with the principles drawn from Roman, Greek and Egyptian civilizations. Furniture designs also showed certain features of the French Directoire, a coarse version of the French Empire, Chinese and Gothic art.

Repoussé :

A French word meaning "pushed out" used to describe a process for embossing silver. It is done by placing a silver sheet on a soft material, such as wax or a soft wood, and punching the inside of the metal to create designs on the outside.

Rocaille :

A term first used to describe the artificial grottoes of Versailles and believed to be the origin of the word "rococo", it is accurately used to describe the shell and rock motifs in rococo ornament.

Rococo :

Pertaining to the style of architecture, furnishings and decoration originating in France about 1720. It evolved from Baroque types and is distinguished by its elegant refinement in using different materials for a delicate overall effect and by its ornament of shell work, foliage, etc. From the French word 'rocaille'.

Sabot :

A French term for the metal foot to which casters were affixed.

Scagliola :

Imitation marble composed of plaster-of-Paris, isinglass, chips of marble and coloring, most popular in 17th and 18th centuries for console tables, commode tops and small pieces of furniture. See also Pietra Dura.

Sconce :

A wall fitting with candle branches made in a wide variety of materials, shapes and designs, in use from medieval times, frequently with polished metal back plates to reflect the light, and later with panels of mirrored glass. See also Girandole.

Secrétaire a abattant :

A French fall-front writing desk.

Sevres :

Sevres Porcelain traces its roots in France to early craftsmen who had small manufacturing operations in such places as Lille, Rouen. St. Cloud, and most notably Chantilly. It is from Chantilly that a cadre of workers migrated to the Chateau de Vincennes near Paris to form a larger porcelain manufactory in 1738. French King Louis XV, perhaps inspired by his rumored relationship with mistress Madame de Pompadour, took an intense interest in porcelain and moved the operation in 1756 to even larger quarters in the Paris suburb of Sevres. Sevres was also conveniently near the home of Madame de Pompadour and the King's own Palace at Versailles. From the outset the king's clear aim was to produce Sevres Porcelain that surpassed the established Saxony works of Meissen and Dresden. Though the French lacked an ample supply of kaolin, a required ingredient for hard-paste porcelain (pate dure), their soft-paste porcelain (pate tendre) was fired at a lower temperature and was thus compatible with a wider variety of colors and glazes that in many cases were also richer and more vivid. Unglazed white Sevres Porcelain "biscuit" figurines were also a great success. However, soft-paste Sevres Porcelain was more easily broken. Therefore, early pieces of Sevres Porcelain that remain intact have become rare indeed.

Simulant :

Inexpensive yet decorative stones used by jewelers to simulate more valuable gems such as sapphires, rubies, or diamonds.

Strapwork :

Interlaced geometric and arabesque decoration in low relief, often applied in fretted strips to Elizabethan and Jacobean furniture and made up from patterns in Dutch pattern books.

Stuart :

English style from 1600-1650.

Stump Work :

English relief work embroidery.

Tabouret :

A low upholstered stool, originally used at court during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Tallboy :

An English chest-on-chest with two small drawers at the top and six wide ones below. Sometimes incorporated a secrétaire drawer in the top of the base section. In America its equivalent is the Highboy but the terms are not interchangeable.

Tambour :

Sliding doors or curving pull-down fronts for desks made from thin reeded convex strips of wood glued to a linen or canvas backing and running in grooves. Used on small night tables, pot cupboards, commodes and later developed into the roll-top for desks.

Tantalus :

Tantalus (Ancient Greek) (Τάνταλος, Tántalos) was a Greek mythological figure, most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink. He was the father of Pelops, Niobe and Broteas, and was a son of Zeus and the Plouto. This is wwhere the English word 'Tantalize' comes from.

Tavern Table :

An American term for a plain country-made rectangular table with carved support at either end and a stretcher in between, mainly 17th and 18th centuries.

Tête a Tête Seat :

Generally describes an S-shaped seat for two people to sit decorously side by side without touching, made in England and America in the 19th century.

Tole / Tole Peinte :

A decorative applied painted metal panels.

Toleware :

An American term for tinplate and tinware.

Tudor :

Pertaining to or characteristics of the periods of the reins of the Tudor Sovereigns, 1500-1550.

Vernis Martin :

A brilliant translucent lacquer technique perfected by the French Martin brothers who were granted a monopoly in 1730 and by mid-century ran three lacquering factories. The family, originally coach painters, produced many variations of lacquer work, the most highly prized being a green flecked with gold, used on furniture and small decorative objects.

Verre Eglomise :

A technique of painting glass on the underside and backing it with silver or gold-colored metallic foil. Jean-Baptiste Glomy, collector and art dealer, revived the technique for framing prints in the second half of the 18th century and gave it his name.

Victorian :

Concerning the architecture, furnishings and decorations of English speaking countries between 1840 and 1900. Characterized by rapid changes of style as a consequence of aesthetic and philosophical controversy, technological innovations and changes of fashion, by the frequent presence of ostentatious ornament.

Vitruvian Scroll :

Bands of undulating scrolls like waves, also called a wave scroll.

Volute :

The helix-like ornamental scroll terminating Ionic capitals.

Welsh Dresser :

A recent term for a kitchen dresser that has a rack of shelves over a dresser base that may be variously composed of drawers, cupboards and a potboard. They are by no means all of Welsh origin and many regional versions exist.

William and Mary :

When the Dutch stadholder William III of Orange and his wife, Mary II, became joint monarchs of England in 1689, that country became linked directly to the Continent and ceased to be a provincial island. William reigned until his death in 1702 (Mary died in 1694). His rule was marked not only by the adoption of many Dutch traditions, but by the importations of Dutch craftsmen to England. This Anglo-Dutch taste had its roots in the French court style of Louis XIV, which in turn had been influenced by Italian Baroque design. Elaborate turnings, carvings in high relief, severe curves, large unified shapes, and contrasts of color were typical elements of this style. Also, trade with China prompted the vogue for Oriental objects at this time, and furniture incorporated japanning (a simulation of Oriental lacquer) and woven cane panels. An original English contribution was a form of case furniture with simple, flat surfaces and architectural trim that would be the chief influence on American furniture for more than a century.

William IV :

Pertaining to the style of furnishings during King William IV reign over Britain and Ireland 1830-1837.

Wine Cistern :

A wine cooler, of the open type, to be distinguished from the lockable Cellaret. Also known as a wine cooler.

yataghan :

A sword with a double curved blade and large curled grips on the hilt. Popular in the the balkans in the 19thC.

yingqing :

Early chinese porcelain from the song dynasty (960-1279) referring to the translucent misty-blue glaze. also known as qingbai. Surviving wares are mostly bowls dug out of burial grounds. Modern reproductions have been produced in hong kong and taiwan.

zoetrope :

Popular in victorian times a toy that consists of a revolving cylinder, open at the top and with a series of images on the inside. The images are viewed through slits in the side of the cylinder and appear to be moving when the cylinder is turning rapidly. The zoetrope first appeared in the 1830's and is also known as the zootrope or the wheel of life.

zsolnay :

(ceramics - manufacturer - hungarian) The Zsolnay factory has been established since 1853 and it is one of the most unique porcelain factories in the world today. The Zsolnay factory reaches back to the year 1853, when Miklós Zsolnay established the first manufacture of ceramics for his son Ignác. Ten years later, Vilmos Zsolnay, the younger brother of Ignác, took over the management and within a short period of time developed the small plant into a factory standard. The factory's first major success was reached at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna. On the basis of its displays, the factory received a great number of orders from England, France, Russia, and even from America. Zsolnay achieved further success at the 1878 World Exhibition in Paris winning a gold medal, the grand prix of the time. At the same time, Vilmos Zsolnay was made a member of the Legion of Honour. The factory went on to further successes at Melbourne in 1880, Brussels (1888), Chicago (1893) and Antwerp (1894). At the exhibition of 1896, on the the Hungarian millenium, the factory introduced its most beautiful pieces, made of eosin. The hungarian emperor awarded the Franz Joseph Order to Vilmos Zsolnay, and the city of Pécs gave him the title of Honorary Town Citizen. After Vilmos Zsolnay's death, in 1900, his son Miklós took over management of the factory. During this time art nouveau was pre-eminent in decorative art productions. Vilmos Zsolnay's invented several new technologies and developed a base material and glaze that yielded a quality equal to porcelain painting, but which allowed a much richer use of colours. His technique of firing glazes at high temperatures remains unique even today.

Martin Fennelly Antiques,
60 Francis Street, Dublin 8,
+353 1 4731126

Martin Fennelly Antiques © .  Web designed by