Antiques Terms Glossary

Antiques Terms Glossary

Abalone shell
Ear-shaped shell lined with mother-of-pearl.
Abstract Expressionism
Movement in painting and ceramics that emerged in the mid-1950s in the USA, characterized by gestural, random marks, and compositions.
Acid cutting
Method of decorating glass where objects were coated with an acid resistant substance such as wax.
Acid etching
Technique involving treatment of glass with hydrofluoric of different coloured clays
Adam style
Neo-classical style, first introduced in Britain by the architects Robert Adam and James Adam during the second half of the 18th century and characterized by motifs such as husks, palmettes, and festoons.
An adze is a kind of axe with the blade and cutting edge set at right angles to the handle or haft. There are several sizes according to the work being done; Windsor chair seats are adzed out (a process called bottoming), and lengths of rough, riven timber can be smoothed off (see also riven).
Aesthetic Movement
Decorative arts movement with a strong Japanese influence, which flourished in Europe and the USA from c. 1860s to the late 1880s.
Air twist stem
On drinking glasses and other glassware, a stem decorated with spiral filaments of hollow glass.
Small bottle or flask, used in ancient Egypt.
Alkanet root
Alkanet is another name for the Anchusa plant (also called borage); when suitably processed and mixed, the root forms a dye to produce a red oil.
Alla certosina
Type of decoration using inlays of bone and ivory.
Mixture of metals; in the context of silver, the base metals added to silver to strengthen it. Sterling silver is 92.5 per cent pure and is usually mixed with copper.
A photograph made by exposing a glass plate treated with light sensitive wet collodion. The negative was made positive by backing with black paper or paint.
Amen glass
Rare type of Jacobite glass that incorporates into the decoration verses of a hymn ending with the word Amen, thought to date from after the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
American Belleek
Late 19th –century American version of the thinly potted wares originally made at the Belleek factory in Ireland.
An Italian word for winged cupids or cherubs. Boys and putti are similar but do not have wings.
Aniline dye
Synthetic, industrial dye used in textile and carpet manufacture from the 1850s. It produces strong, bright colours that are cruder than those of traditional vegetable dyes.
The process of gradually cooling a completed glass object. The thick and thin parts cool at a uniform rate and the development of stresses within the vessel are thus eliminated.
Antique nail
A brass nail with a domed head.
Apostle spoon
Silver spoon with a finial moulded in the form of one of the 12 Apostles; particularly popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.
In textiles applying small patches of fabric to a base fabric to make a design.
Round, steel spindle or shaft on which a wheel pinion, lever, or anchor is mounted in a clock.
A series of arches, usually with semi-circular heads, used as decoration on panels in the late 16th and throughout the 17th centuries. A singe arch was also sometimes employed in the same manner.
One who knows the formula (Arcanum) for manufacturing hard-paste porcelain.
Moulded framework; in Classical architecture, the lowest part of an entablature.
An important centre for Japanese porcelain production and a term used to describe one distinctive type of Japanese porcelain made in the area.
Italian term for a linen-press or wardrobe.
Crest of coat or arms.
Armorial wares
Ceramic, glass, or silver wares decorated with coats of arm or crests.
Term for the meeting of two plain surfaces-in other words, an edge.
Art Deco
Style characterised by geometric forms and bright bold colours popular from c 1918 to 1940. The name is taken from the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderns in Paris
Artificial porcelain
See soft-paste porcelain.
Art Nouveau
Movement and style of decoration characterised by sinuous curves and flowing lines asymmetry and flower and leaf motifs prevalent from the 1890s to 1910s.
Arts & Crafts
A late 19th C artistic movement led by William Morris, which advocated a return to medieval standards of crafts Man ship and simplicity of design.
A doll or figure’s body with jointed limbs.
Five-sided woven trappings, used to decorate the bride’s camel during a wedding procession.
The testing of a metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality.
Automaton clock
Clock with a strike performed by mechanically operated figures.
Clockwork figure, usually bisque-headed, that will glide along a smooth surface when rolled. Autoperipatetikos is the Greek word for ‘self-propelling’, applied to Enoch Rice Morrison’s walking doll (1862) and often used for other clockwork dolls.
back to top

Figures, jovial or drunken, relating to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and festivities.
Bachelor chest
Small, multi-purpose chest of drawers with a hinged top.
The wood (often unpolished) used to in-fill the back of furniture made to stand against the wall.
Rear of the two plates supporting a clock or watch movement, on which details of the maker are often engraved.
Back stamp
Mark applied to the base of commercially made ceramic ware giving details of manufacturer.
Bail handle
The shaped bar of a looped drop handle; it is fixed at each end.
An early form of plastic which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
A type of escape mechanism that is used in clocks without pendulums.
Limbs that are attached to a doll’s body with a ball and socket.
Barley twists
Spiralling columns popular on 17th-century furniture.
Instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure.
Baroque pearl
Irregularly shaped pearl.
Unglazed black stone ware developed by Wedgwood.
Base metal
Non-precious metal such as iron, brass, bronze, or steel.
Basket Beading
A type of decoration usually in a band or border and in the shape of small beads.
Basket work
Decorative relief pattern resembling woven willow or cane.
Used in the glass making industry to describe the measured raw materials which, when heated in the furnace, become glass.
German school of architecture and applied arts founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. The Bauhaus style is characterized by austere, geometric forms and modern materials such as tubular steel.
Bead and groove joint
Used between the flap and the bed of a flap or gate-leg table (see also rule and square joints).
A thin narrow moulding, usually with a rounded edge.
Beat scale
Graduated scale fixed to the case interior of many Vienna regulators, and used to measure the regularity of the pendulum swing.
The French term for a doll that represents a baby rather than an adult.
A carved, painted or incised ornament consisting of a formalised flower shaped like a bell and with three petals.
Term applied to a doll with five-piece body and curved arm and legs.
Solid or laminated steamed and bent into a curvilinear shape. The process was developed by Michael Thonet in the early 19th century.
Berlin ironwork
Black ironwork jewellery made during the Franco-Prussian war (1813-15) in exchange for gold jewellery surrendered far the war effort.
Berlin woolwork
Amateur embroidery using coloured wools on a canvas grid.
Grey-blue tin-glazed ground used on 16th-century Italian maiolica; first introduced in Faenza c. 1520.
Bianco di Faenza
Type of maiolica, developed in mid-16th-century Italy, covered in a thick, milky-white glaze. It is usually cursorily decorated in a restricted palette of ochre, yellow and blue with figures, flowers, or coat of arms.
Bird-cage support
Mechanism, located at the top of the pedestal, that enables some tripod tables to swivel.
Undecorated ceramic ware.
Bleu lapis
A deep cobalt blue ground of almost purplish tone, introduced at the Vincennes porcelain factory in 1753.
Bleu persan
(Persian blue) Rich, purplish, ultramarine ground associated with late 17th century faience from Nevers in France.
A method of shaping glass by blowing a blob of molten glass through a tube.
American term for mould-blown glass.
See mould blowing.
Blue dash charger
A delft dish decorated with a border of blue brush strokes.
A decorative heat treatment applied to metal weapons which also protected from rust.
Blue and white
White ceramics with painted or printed cobalt blue decoration.
The hard covers of a book.
The metal weight at the end of a pendulum rod.
Type of turning in the shape of a bobbin or reel found on the legs of 17th-century furniture.
French term for trees or foliage in the form of an arbour surrounding or supporting a pottery or porcelain figure.
The material from which ceramics are made such as pottery porcelain earthenware or stoneware.
Burnt, crushed animal bone that is added to soft-paste porcelain mixture to fuse the ingredients.
Bone china
A type of porcelain which has dried ox bone added to the body to produce a very white china. Produced extensively in Britain from 1820.
Bonnet head
Doll wearing a hat or bonnet moulded as an integral part of the head.
Sloping sides of a plate or dish.
Boot-button eyes
Black wooden eyes with metal loops on the back, used on early teddy bears.
An architectural term borrowed by cabinet makers to describe a raised and carved ornament used to cover the intersections of angles in moulding.
Bottle glass
Coloured glass used for utensils such as bottles, as distinct from quality or clear glass.
Boulle case
A type of marquetry that includes tortoiseshell and metal.
Bow front
An outwardly curving shape typically found on case furniture.
A term used during the Restoration period to describe cherubs or putti (also see amorini).
Bracket clock
A spring-driven clock originally designed to stand on a wall bracket and later on a shelf or table.
Brandy saucepan
Small, bulbous ort baluster-shaped saucepan, usually with a handle at right angles to the pouring spout.
On plated items where the plating has worn off to reveal the underlying base metal.
Break/ Broken arch
The arch at the top of longcase and bracket clocks.
Bright-cut engraving
Type of engraving in which the metal surface is cut at an angle to create facets that reflect the light. Popular in the Neo-classical period.
Bristol glass
Coloured glass, mostly blue, made in Britain from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries.
Britannia metal
Metal substitute for silver, actually a form of electroplated pewter.
Broderie perse
French term for cut-out floral and bird motifs in printed cottons and chintzes sewn onto plain quilts.
Broken pediment
Pediment, or triangular superstructure, in which the central apex is absent and often filled with a carved motif.
Brown ware
Salt glazed brown stone ware especially that made in Nottingham derby and elsewhere in England.
Brushing slide
A shelf that slides between the uppermont drawer and the underside of the top of a chest of drawers or tallboy; when the slide is pulled out clothes can be laid on it and brushed.
Small Chinese or Japanese pot used for holding brushes used for calligraphy and painting.
Term used for a two-part sideboard.
Method of polishing metals or gilded surfaces by applying friction with a hard tool made of agate to create a lustre.
Abnormal growth (resembling a wart) of a tree, caused by buds or eyes that have been unable to develop fully because of lack of nourishment. Such burrs often yield exceptionally beautiful veneers, especially in the case of oak, walnut, and yew.
back to top

Cabinet wares
Cups, saucers, and plates made for display rather than use.
Container for tea.
Caddy spoon
Spoon for measuring tea out of the caddy. Made in vast quantities from the late 18th century.
(pebbled) Irregular pattern of meshed ovals, usually gilded, resembling pebbles and used on Sevres porcelain in the late 1760s.
Calendar aperture
Window in a clock dial displaying the day of the month and sometimes the month of the year.
Cane ware
Pale straw coloured unglazed stoneware made by Wedgwood form 1770.
Canted corner
Refers to a corner post that has either been built in deliberately, or has had its front face chamfered, so that it is presented at an angle to the front of the piece.
Embrodiery worked with counted stitches on an open-weave canvas.
Measurement of gold. One carat equals 200mg.
Case for holding visiting cards.
Carpet toy
Toy that can be play with only on the floor-for example, a train that does not fit any standard track or a toy aeroplane that cannot fly.
Carrige clock
A small spring driven clock designed for travelling.
Cardboard composition, used for some dolls’ bodies in the 1920s and 1930s.
Design for a carpet or tapestry, often copied onto squared paper to make it easier to follow.
19th century term for an elbow dining-chair.
Type of settle derived from the cassone, with a back and sometimes armrests.
Renaissance Italian chest, often highly decorated with carving and inlay.
Cast metal
Metal ware formed by pouring molten metal into a cast or mould.
Vessel for sprinkling salt pepper or sugar.
Method of making objects by pouring molten metal or glass into a mould or cast made from sand, plaster or metal, confirming to the shape of the finished object.
Type of cardcase, snuff-box, or vinaigrette depicting a famous British building.
Caudle cup
Silver cup with a cover designed to keep its contents warm. Originally held caudle, a spiced gruel laced with wine.
An early plastic invented in 1869 and used for making doll’s head and bodies.
Ornament designed to occupy the centre of a dining table.
Centre seconds hand
A second’s hand that is pivoted at the centre of the dial.
Type of utilitarian candlestick with a short stern and saucer-like base.
Similar to a bevel ; in the case of a chamfer, however, it is stopped at a short distance from the end of the piece to which it is applied.
Channel, channelling
A continuous depression or wide groove cut in or routed out of a surface.
Chapter ring
The ring of hour and minute numbers applied on a clock dial.
A large plate or platter often for display but also for serving.
The base of a toy vehicle including the wheels, fender and bumpers.
See amorini, boys, and putti.
Tall chest of drawers on a stand, also known as a highboy.
A decorative motif resembling an inverted V, similar to the stripes worn by non-commissioned officers.
Originally an alternative term for Chinese porcelain . Since the early 19th century the term has been used to refer to bone china.
China clay
See kaolin.
China stone
See putuntse.
Chinese export wares
Chinese porcelain was made specifically for export to Europe from the 16th century to suit European tastes. Silver in similar styles was made from the 17th century.
Chintz ware
Ware decorated with an all over usually dense floral pattern.
Chip carving
A simple form of carved ornament, the pattern being usually geometric. Its advantage was that the carving could be done with basic cuts of chisels or gouges and was well within the ability of a skilled joiner. Used during the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.
Chocolate cup
Large cup with two handles, a cover, and a saucer.
A later development of lithography where a number of printing stones are used in succession each with a different colour to build up a multicoloured enamels.
An instrument for recording time with immense accuracy.
Precision timekeeper designed for use at sea to calculate longitude.
Cire perdue
See lost-wax casting.
Translucent blue glaze introduced in Chinese porcelain from the Qing period.
Claret jug
Ewer or jug, usually glass with silver or electroplate mounts, used for serving claret.
Claw legs
The name given to the curved legs used on tripod tables; the latter were often called claw tables.
Claw setting
Type of jewellery setting in which the gemstone is secured by projecting prongs.
Closed back
Jewellery setting where the back of the gem is covered with metal.
Cloth doll
Term for a doll made from fabric, sometimes known as a rug doll.
Saucer or a small tray, on which a bottle slid or was passed round the table.
A small beading or astragal usually applied around the edges of drawer fronts from the early 18th to the early 19th centuries.
Travelling chest with handles and a domed lid but without feet, usually made of oak.
Method of forming ceramics objects by coiling long clay strips into the desired shape. The resulting ridges are smoothed out.
Rim of a wine-cooler, often detachable.
Collet setting
Jewellery setting where the gem sits on a circular mounts.
Commedia dell’arte
Figures from Italian comedy theatre. The characters were modelled in porcelain at Meissen, Nymphenburg, and other Continental factories.
Composition A
A mixture including wood pulp plaster and glue and used as a cheaper alternative to bisque in the production of dolls heads and bodies.
A dish usually on a stem or foot to hold fruit for the dessert course.
Neolithic Chinese ritual vessel, originally of jade but later copied in ceramics.
Table intended to stand against a wall, between windows, also known as a pier table.
The lower sheet (usually tortoise shell) of Boulle work (see also premiere-partie).
Core forming
An early form of glass-making where trails of molten glass are wound around a mud or clay core.
Coved top
A top of curved shape.
Cow creamer
Silver or ceramic jug or boat for pouring cream, modelled as a cow.
Type of handle or spout moulded as a gnarled crab-apple branch.
Cream ware
Cream-coloured earthenware with a lead glaze. Produced by Wedgwood in the 1760s and then by other factories.
Credence table
Type of small table originally used for storing food before serving or tasting. Now refers to a semicircular table with a hinged top.
An embroidery technique using wool thread on a linen ground.
Crinoline group
Pair of complementary porcelain figures making romantic or chivalric gestures.
Crisselling (or crizzelling)
The state of progressive deterioration in the chemical make up of glass caused by a faulty balance in the ingredients. Droplets of alkaline moisture form on the surface and a fine network of cracks develops.
Applied to any wooden part that has the grain of the wood running across its width instead of along its length.
A scroll in the form of a letter C.
Early 20th century art movement characterized by distortion, angularity, geometric arrangements, and features of African sculpture.
Scraps of broken glass, used to help fuse new glass.
Cultured pearl
A pearl formed when an irritant in artificially introduced to the mollusc.
Cup and cover
Bulbous turning common on furniture legs from the mid-16th century.
Curl veneer
Also called feather. A veneer resulting from wood taken from the junction of a branch with a larger one, or with the main trunk of a tree.
Cushion drawer
Convex drawer found below a cornice that runs the full width of a piece of furniture.
Cushion front
A term usually applied to a drawer front which is pulvenated, that is, bevelled around its edges to give a cushion like effect.
Cushion top
Rounded top found on many early English bracket clocks.
An architectural term for the points formed by the intersection of the foils (that is, the circles) in Gothic tracery.
Cut-card decoration
Flat shapes of applied silver, used as decoration and reinforcement, especially around the rims of tea and coffee pots. Common on 17th –century pieces by Huguenot silversmiths.
Longcase clock that has been shortened.
back to top

Metal ornamented with inlaid gold or silver often in wavy lines commonly found on weapons or armour.
Date aperture
See calendar aperture.
Date letter
Letter identifying the year of assay of a silver object.
Multicoloured image printed from a copper plate on to tissue paper and used to decorate ceramics the decal is soaked with water and slipped from the backing sheet on to the surface of the unglazed ware which is then glazed and fired.
Small rectangular blocks that form a feature of the Roman Corinthian style cornice.
Abbreviation of the French depos or the German deponirt, indicating a registered patent used on French and German dolls and often appearing as an incised mark on the bisque heads.
Dessert service
Set of ceramic wares decorated en suite for serving dessert, including plates, compotiers, bowls, and tureens.
A state of deterioration which occurs when glass is cooled too slowly and becomes crystalline with a milky appearance. Not to be confused with crisselling.
The face of a clock which shows the time.
Dial clock
Type of simple English wall clock with a round dial, glass cover held with a brass bezel, and a wooden case.
Dial plate
Metal or wooden plate to which the chapter ring and spandrels are attached on the clock.
Sparkling cut glass, often backed with foil, or a backing applied with powdered crystal, used to decorate costume and in costume jewellery.
Diamond-point engraving
Decorative design on glass made by scratching the surface with a diamond-pointed stylus.
Objectives made by pouring molten metal in to a closed metal die or mould.
Method of production introduced at the end of the 18th century, whereby sheet silver is pressed between solid dies with complementary patterns to create or decorate an object.
A very small dent in metal.
Disc joint
Joint made of discs of cardboard held in place by a metal pin; used to articulate soft toys and teddy bears.
Dish ring
Silver ring used to keep hot dishes away from the table.
Dished table top
Hollowed-out solid top, associated with tripod or tea tables with ‘pie-crust’ edges.
A term used to describe an object that has been artificially aged.
Dog tooth ornament
Resembles four leaves united at one end to form lobes.
Dolls’ hospital
Repair shop specializing in the restoration of dolls of all kinds, some cater for teddy bears as well.
‘Dragon’s blood’
Red stain used on oak furniture.
Side of a drawer
Drop handle
Pear-shaped handle popular during the late 17th and early 18th centuries on furniture and clocks.
Drop-in seat / slip-in
A removable usually upholstered seat.
Dug-out chest
Also called a monoxylon. The most primitive form of chest, used up to and during medieval times. It was hollowed out of a tree-trunk with an adze, or by burning out a cavity. They were usually bound with iron bands to prevent the splits (which were inevitable) from opening to far.
Period for which a clock runs between winding up.
Refers to the thin board interposed between the drawers in some chests of drawers. A misnomer, because such a board was not needed to keep out dust-its main function was to prevent the contents of one drawer from rising to jam the one above; it also acted as a deterrent against theft.
Term for German wooden dolls; probably a corruption of Deutsch meaning ‘German’ (a word often found on the heads of German wooden dolls), rather than ‘Dutch’.
Duty dodging
Practice of transposing marks on silver objects to avoid paying duty.
Standing for diamond quilted where a repeated pattern of diamond shapes cover the surface.
back to top

Covered shallow bowl usually with two flat handles at the rim, and a stand.
Egg and anchor
See egg and tongue.
Egg and tongue
A motif carved on to mouldings, usually ovolos, and based on the Greek echinus pattern. Also known as egg and anchor and egg and dart.
Egg head
Rary type of a miniature doll moulded as a porcelain head only, with no torso.
Eggshell porcelain
Type of slip cast razor thin porcelain made in 19th century Japan and Europe
Eight Immortals
Legendary or historical individuals associated with Daoism and depicted on Chinese ceramics.
Eight Precious Things
Symbols of the Chinese scholar, namely the musical stone, jewels, a coin, a pair of books, an open-tied lozenge and a closed-tied lozenge, and an Artemisia leaf, often represented on ceramics.
A method of covering wares made of base metal with a thin layer of silver by the process of electrolysis patented by G. R. Elkington in 1840 in England.
Creating a reproduction by taking a mould of an object and depositing onto it a thin layer of metal using an electric current.
End grain
The grain that shows on the end of a piece of wood which has been sawn across.
End standard
Refers to the upright panel that takes the place of a leg on some designs of table.
End support
Central support at the sides of a writing or sofa table.
Decorative, textured patterns, created by turning metal on a machine-driven lathe.
Horizontal beam that surmounts architectural columns. Divided into the cornice(top), frieze (middle), and architrave (bottom).
A slight convex swelling about halfway up a pillar or column; without it a perfectly cylindrical pillar appears to be slightly concave.
Entree dish
Shallow silver dish with a flat bottom and domed cover.
Interlaced tendril decoration of Celtic origin used on jewellery and revived by Arts and Crafts designers.
Found on metal objects and standing for electroplated nickel silver meaning the objects is made from nickel which is then electroplated with silver.
Removal of an existing coat of arms on silver, which is sometimes replaced by new arms.
Cabinet with a fall front that lowers to form a writing surface.
Etruscan style
Style characterized by the use of red, black and white and motifs such as lions, griffins, and sphinxes; popular in the late 18th and 19th centuries following the rediscovery of ancient Etruscan sites and artifacts.
A small case for scissors and other small implements.
Outward-turned and flaring, usually describing a rim.
Large jug with a lip that is often part of a set with a basin. Ewers originally held the water used by diners to wash their hands during meals, prior to the introduction of the fork.
The stuffing for the teddy bears made from wood shavings.
back to top

A form of decoration where a number of flat surface of an object such as a gem or a glass vase.
Small, brightly painted and captioned porcelain figure groups, mass produced in Germany and originally sold at fairs and seaside stalls at the end of the last century and into this one. Cheap at the time, they are now much sought after.
Fall front
Also called a drop front. The front of a bureau which is hinged so that when opened it forms a horizontal surface for writing.
A decorative motif very widely used from the late eighteenth century onwards.
Fashion doll
A mid to late 19th century French usually with a bisque head and elaborate fashionable clothing.
A French word for false the intension is not to imitate a more costly material.
Type of indescent glass developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany using metallic oxides.
Feather banding
Two narrow bands of veneer laid in opposite diagonals, also called herringbone banding.
Feather figure
See curl figure.
White china stone, a silicate of potassium and aluminium.
Fetes galantes
Open-air scenes of aristocratic amusement that were a favourite theme of French Rococo painters.
Fiddleback figure
This is caused by the layers of grain in a piece of wood undulating so that when sawn it exhibits the kind of figure seen on the backs of violins. Mainly found in mahogany, but can also occur in sycamore.
Pattern made by the natural grain of wood.
Fire gilding
See mercury gilding.
Process of baking ceramics in a kiln. Temperatures range from 800? to 1100? (1500-2000F) for earthenware to 1400? (2550F) for the second firing of hard-paste porcelain.
Jug with a lid, usually tall and cylindrical in shape.
Flame veneer
Veneer cut in an angle to enhance the figuring.
Collar or rim applied to an object to strengthen it or attaching it to another object.
The covering of a glass vessel with a thin layer of differently coloured glass which then can be carved.
Flat back
Ceramic portrait figures with flat undecorated backs designed to stand against a wall or on a mantelpiece.
Flat chasing
Chasing on a flat metal surface, leaving an impression of the punched pattern on the reverse.
Flirty eyes
Dolls eye that move from left to right as well as open and close.
An alkaline material which promotes the fusion of ingredients in a glass batch.
Leaf and flower motifs.
Foot rim
The projecting circular support at the base of a plate or vessel.
Four-headed doll
Set produced by the German firm of Kestner comprising a doll with a socket body and detachable head (usually with a girl-doll face); sold with three interchangeable character heads.
Free blowing
See blowing.
French joint
Type of joint used on French dolls where the limbs are all attached to a ball fixed to one of the limbs.
Frieze rail
A long ornamental piece of wood underneath table top or cornice.
Decorative or novelty glass object, such as a bell, pipe, or walking stick.
Frit ware
Type of grainy, white-bodied Islamic ceramic ware, perhaps made to imitate imported Chinese porcelain.
Vessel of three or more cups linked at the base and with intertwined handles.
back to top

Gainsborough chair
Deep armchair with an upholstered seat and back, padded open arms, and, usually carved decoration.
Galletto rosso
Decorative ceramic pattern of red-and-gold Chinese cockerels, devised at the Italian factory of Doccia.
Set of three or more vases of contrasting forms, intended for display a mantelpiece.
Hinged leg taht pivots to support a drop leaf on a table.
See paraison.
Term used in metal to describe the thickness of a piece of sheet metal.
Geneva enamelling
Painted enamels on a metal base, often used for decorative plaques in jewellery.
Gilt bronze
See ormolu.
The rotating rings attached to the chronometer to keep it level in its case.
Glazing bars
The slender wooden framing that contains the glass in the barred doors of bookcases, etc.
Gilding to porcelain using gold in solution, introduced at Meissen in the 1820s.
Name given to the Manufacture royale des meubles de la couronne, which was established under Louis XIV in 1663 for the production of royal furnishings.
Going barrel
Cylindrical brass drum containing the mainspring and transmitting power directly to the wheels of the train in a spring-driven clock. It is used in clocks without a fuse.
Gold-ruby glass
Deep-pink glass made with gold chloride, invented in 17th-century Germany.
Googly eyes
Dolls eyes that are large and round and glance to one side.
Decoration in the style of Gothic architecture, featuring such motifs as pinnacles, crockets, and trefoils. The style was revived from the 1820s in Europe and from the 1840s in North America.
18th-century Gothic Revival decoration, more fanciful than the 19th-century revival.
Painting an inexpensive wood such as pine or beech to simulate a more expensive timber such as mahogany.
Grande sonnerie
System of striking that repeats the last hour after each quarter has been chimed.
(‘high-temperature’) French term for a palette used on tin-glazed earthenware limited to green, blue, purple, yellow, and orange. Petit-feu (low fired) enamelling allows for a greater range of colours to be used.
Grand Tour
Term describing period of education and travel in Europe undertaken from the 18th-century by British aristocrats’ on coming of age. On their travels they often collected works of art.
Method of creating relief designs on gold jewellery by soldering grains of gold onto a metal base.
Greek key
Design based on ancient Greek decoration.
Mythical animal with the head, wings, and claws of an eagle but a lion’s body. It was a popular motif in the Regency and Empire period.
Painted decoration using a mainly black and grey palette and resembling a print.
Grosse point
A needle point stitch that crosses two wrap and two weft threads.
Type of classical ornament composed of linked motifs, such as human figures and masks, and fantastical animals, such as sphinxes; widely used in the Renaissance period.
The base or the background colours of ceramics on which decoration is applied.
A mechanism found in teddy bears from the early to 20th century that makes a growling noise.
Fibrous, rubbery material used to make dolls’ bodies and heads, and also golf balls, in the late 19th century.
back to top

Hairy-paw foot
Paw foot carved to give a furred appearance, first seen in the 18th century.
Half hunter
Watch with a hinged front cover with a small glazed aperture, revealing part of the dial.
Generic term given to non-precious stone.
Locks, hinges, escutcheons, and other metal attachments on furniture.
Term used to describe a set of chairs that are similar but do not match.
(‘home painter’) German term for an independent painter or workshop specializing in the decoration of porcelain and glass.
Haute couture
Made-to-measure garments bearing to designer’s label.
Hayrake stretcher
A stretcher with bifurcated ends resembling a hayrake.
Heaped and piled
Accidental concentrations of cobalt blue in 14th- and 15th-century Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. Copied by Qing potters.
Diamond-shaped motif flanked by four serrated leaves, used in Persian carpets.
American term for a chest-on-stand.
Early form of china doll.
Hispano-Moresque ware
Wares made in Spain (particularly in the South), which were decorated in the style of Islamic art.
See relief engraving.
Hollow ware
Any hollow items such as bowls teapots jugs distinct from flatware.
Honey gilding
Method of applying gold leaf to glass or ceramics using honey as a fixative. Honey gilding has a warmer hue than mercury gilding.
Part of a longcase clock that contains the dial and movement.
French Protestants, many of whom settled in England and The Netherlands after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes denied them religious freedom in 1685. Many were skilled silversmiths, Cabinet-makers, and weavers, who introduced French styles into the Dutch and English decorative arts.
Large, cylindrical German drinking glasses, often lidded and decorated, made during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Watch with an opening front cover that protects the glass cover of the dial.
Also called wheatears. A carved drop ornament comprising a series of buds or flowers; it was popular in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Opaque black or sealing wax red glass produced in bohemia from c. 1818.
Hybrid paste
Formula that combines the ingredients of hard-paste and soft-paste porcelain in an attempt to produce a more malleable body.
Device for measuring humidity on barometers.
back to top

Naturally occurring flaws within gemstones.
Infinite repeat
Device on rugs and carpets in which incomplete medallions are ‘cut’ by the borders.
Intaglio engraving
Method of decorating glass by hollowing out a design below the surface. Also called Tiefschnitt.
Intaglio painted eyes
Painted eyes with concave pupils and irises, hollowed out of a doll’s head.
In the white
Term applied to any king of woodwork that has not been polished, stained, varnished, or painted.
A lustrous finish that subtly changes colour depending on how light hits it. Often used to describe the finish on ceramics and glass.
Narrative decoration on Renaissance Italian maiolica plates.
Turkish pottery of red clay coated with white slip or tin-glazed and painted in bright colours, made from the fifteenth century at a group of factories in Iznik, around sixty miles southeast of Istanbul.
back to top

Jackfield ware
Black glazed pottery, made in England in the late 18th century (especially at Jackfield, Shropshire).
19th-century revival of motifs such as strapwork and grotesques found on 16th- and 17th-century decorative arts. The term is a combination of ‘Elizabethan’ and ‘Jacobean’.
Jacobite glass
Wine glasses engraved with symbols of the Jacobites (supporters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s claim to the throne).
A hard and refined stone ware produced by Wedgwood c. 1775. Can be coloured blue green yellow or claret
Fabric that has no distinct rib, originally made of wool on the island of Jersey but now of various fibres. Used for making teddy bears.
Technique of applying coloured drops of glass onto a glass object to imitate gemstones. Also refers to a similar technique using drops of enamel on porcelain.
Knot in a rug or carpet that is tied over four as opposed to the usual two warp strands.
German and Austrian term for the Art Nouveau style. Named after the Munich-based publication Jugend.
Type of woven Turkoman bag.
back to top

(china clay) Fine, white granite clay used to make hard-paste porcelain.
Extremely lightweight fibre made from seed pods and used for stuffing teddy bears.
‘Octopus’ scrollwork pattern common on late 17th-century Japanese porcelain.
Rug making centre in southern Iran noted for high quality products.
Rugs from central Caucasus usually decorated with distinctive geometric designs.
A flat woven rug with no pile.
Type of Arabic calligraphy, often used in stylized form on many Islamic artifacts, including carpets and pottery.
back to top

Ladder back
A country chair with a back made from a series of horizontal bars between the two vertical uprights.
A Turkish prayer rug usually decorated with the niche and stylized tulip flowers.
Baroque border pattern of lacework, scrolls, and scalloped drapery.
Silk or synthetic woven fabric shot through metal threads.
Method of gluing together sheets of wood with the grain in different directions to produce a material that is thinner and lighter than solid wood. Synonymous with the furniture manufacturer John Henry Belter.
A method of producing decorative glassware by manipulating rods and tubes of glass over a flame. First used in 15th-century Venice.
In the form of a pointed arch; a particularly Gothic decorative motif.
Lantern clock
A mostly brass weight driven wall clock shaped like a lantern.
Lap joint
In silver ware the technique used to join a spoon finial to the stem by cutting each piece in opposing shapes.
A small flap or fold of a garment.
Old English word for brass.
Laub und Bandelwerk
(leaf and strapwork) Decorations of interwoven leaves and strapwork, often surrounding a cartouche. Most popular during the 18th century.
Lead crystal
Glass contain lead oxide which gives extra weight and brilliance.
Lead glass
A particularly clear type of glass with high lead oxide content.
Lead glaze
Clear glaze generally composed of silicaceous sand salt soda and potash mixed with a lead component.
Small, glazed section on the trunk door of a longcase clock, through which the pendulum can be seen.
Library table
A rectangular table with frieze drawers end supports and a central stretcher.
Linen chest
A hybrid coffer/chest of drawers which may have both drawers and a lift top up.
Linen press
Term for cupboard with shelves (presses) for storing linen and clothes.
Lion’s paw foot
Foot carved as a lion’s paw, popular in the 18th century and during the Empire and Regency periods.
Trade term for the long, thin rods used in some designs of Windsor chair backs.
The process of obtaining prints from a stone or metal surface treated so that the desired image can be inked while the remaining areas reject the ink.
Thin, low relief porcelain plaque that reveals a picture when help up to the light. Also called ‘Berlin transparency’.
Lithyalin glass
Type of glass patented by Friedrich Egermann in Bohemia in 1829. Intended to imitate hardstones, it is opaque and usually marbled.
The firing mechanism of a gun.
Long arm
A fireman with a long barrel.
Long case clock
A weight driven free standing clock.
A narrow strip of wood that can be pulled out to support a flap, as in a bureau.
Loo table
Large Victorian card or games table, usually circular.
Lost-wax casting
Method of casting bronze or another metal in which a wax model is enclosed within a plaster mould, the wax is then heated and replaced with molten metal to form the object.
Loving cup
Two-handled cup, generally urn-shaped.
Late-19th-century, china-headed doll with short, curly hair worn low on the forehead.
A semicircular decorated motif often carved on Tudor furniture, although it was also used in the form of inlay on later furniture.
Method of joining together separate pieces of clay with liquid slip.
back to top

(‘sprinkled illustration’) Japanese decorative technique of sprinkling gold or coloured filings onto a design in wet lacquer.
(‘mannered flowers’) Loose representation of scattered flowers, used on 18th-century European porcelain.
Mannerist style
Decorative style of the late 16th century, employing twisted, exaggerated, and bizarre form often entrapped by strapwork and grotesque.
Mantel clock
A small bracket or table clock designed to stand on a shelf or mental piece.
Dealer in luxury products in 18th-century Paris.
Doll’s head mounted on a stick or baton which often plays music when twirled. Produced from the late 19th century.
Technique in which threads of softened glass are trailed over an object and rolled on flat surface to smooth them together.
Mason’s mitre
A form of mitre joint where th