The Complete Dictionary of Antique Phrases

The Antique Dictionary

The Complete Dictionary of Antique Phrases – What is the meaning of the Antique Language? There are thousand of ways to describe antique or vintage pieces or the makers of such pieces. Understanding the the Circa, the style and the demand of an antique piece will help you guide to get the true value.

At the end of the day, it really does not matter what you collect as long as the pursuit gives you pleasure and the price you pay doesn’t break the bank. This website provides ample evidence that collecting antiques is open to those with both shallow and slightly deeper pockets.

Antique Language Explained Section A

Abattant In French cabinetwork; a fall- front or drop-front panel. See Secrétaire Abattant; Drop-Front.

Abricotier The wood of the apricot tree, prunus armeniaca, used in cabinetwork, especially by the French ébénistes. It is hard and compact, and its color is yellowish.

Abtsbessingen In German ceramics; a faience manufactory is believed to have been in existence at Abtsbessingen, Thuringia, from around 1739, founded by the brother of the Prince Of Schwarzburg ; however, the earliest records are from 1753. The faience produced here ranks among the best faience Of Germany. The wares are sometimes marked with a pitchfork taken from the Schwarzburg coat— of—arms, together with the painters’ initials. Included among their productions were vases, tureens, carefully modelled flowers for table decoration, boxes in the form of pug dogs and cylindrical tankards. The painted decoration was in blue and in other high temperature colors. Enamel colors painted over the glaze in the style of porcelain were also used. The motifs for the painted decoration were in the Baroque and subsequent Rococo styles. Favorite Chinese subjects such as pavilions and Chinese flowers were also found.

Acacia Faux Wood The wood of the common locust tree, robinia pseud-acacia, used in cabinetwork. It is hard and its color is yellow and greenish striped.

Aecia Wood Acacia pendula. See Violet wood.

Acajou A French term denoting the mahogany tree or any of many related trees. The woods from these trees are hard, and their color varies from brownish yellow to red-dish brown. It was widely used in cabinet— work. Acajou was imported into France from the time of the Régence in ever- increasing quantities.

Acanthus In architecture and decoration ; a term chiefly applied to the species acanthus spinosus native to the shores Of the Mediterranean and notable for the elegance of its deeply cut and shiny large Icaves. Conventionally treated acanthus foliage of the species acanthus spinosus is employed in the decora- tion of Corinthian and Composite capitals. Acanthus leafage conventionally represented has long been a favorite type of carved decoration in the ornamentation of furniture . and has been freely used as a carved motif since the time of the Renaissance. It is probably one of the most popular of all carved leaf designs. After the introduction of mahogany in England and America it was especially fashionable as a carved motif chairs and tables until towards the end of the 18th century.

Acorn In ornament; an ornament resem bling an acorn. The acorn, as a carved decorative motif, was found during the 16th century and it continued in use during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was often used as a finial, such as on the uprights of a chair back, on the cover of a vase, and it was also used as a pendant, such as on a molding. This so— called acorn molding was sometimes employed in American cabinetwork on the upper part of a bookcase and on other similar tall articles of furniture. See Acorn Chair; Acorn Spoon.

Acorn Chair In English cabinetwork; the name given to a type of Jacobean oak chair which had a crossrail with acorn-shaped pendants.

Acorn Spoon In English silver: a silver spoon which had its stem terminating in the shape of an acorn. It was introduced around the 14th century. See Spoon. Acroterium Or Acroter. In classic architecture; a pedestal for a figure or a similar

Act of Parliament Clock The name originally given to an inexpensive English wall clock, which had a short plain wooden case, containing a pendulum, and a large open wooden dial usually painted black with gilt figures. The clock was so-called because in 1797, in accordance with an act of Parliament, a yearly tax of five shillings was imposed on all clocks, and innkeepers, foreseeing a shortage of clocks and watches among their patrons, hung these inexpensive clocks in their inns. The act was unpopular and was repealed in 1798. By extension the term is sometimes applied to all cheaply made wall clocks of this variety hung in public rooms, although it is correctly applied only to those made to meet the emergency which the new tax brought about. Wall clocks of this variety, generally weight- driven and with a trunk case and pendulum and unglazed dial, were made as early as 1760 in England. However, the earlier specimens were more elegantly and expensively finished.

Adam, Robert 172-1792, famous English architect and designer of furniture. He was the second son of William Adam, who was a successful architect in Scotland. He was born at Kirkcaldy and had three brothers, John, James and William. He went to Italy in 1754 and, during the course of his itinerary, he visited the ruins of Diocletian’s palace at Spalatro. In 1764 he published a splendid work entitled THE RUINS OF THE PALACE OF DIOCLETIAN. Much of his subsequent work reflected the influence of these studies and was to a large extent based upon them. In 1773, Robert and his brother, James, began publishing WOrKS IN ARCHITECTURE which contained designs of many of their more celebrated works and was instrumental in popularizing the Adam style of ornament.

Robert Adam was able through his extraordinary ability to mold and adapt classic ornament in such a manner as to create a new treatment for classic ornament Which was distinctive for its elegance and grace and for its refined and finished detail. Out of simple curvilinear forms of which he favored the oval he had the genius to evolve combinations of remarkable beauty and variety. He believed and successfully practiced that the smallest detail of decoration and furnishing was within the field of the architect and that only in this manner could a complete and accordant result be achieved. In his vast collection of drawings, in addition to designs for furniture, he illustrated designs for such pieces as carpets, lamps, andirons and articles of silver. He designed his furniture to form an essential part of his decorative scheme. His furniture designs were distinctive for their fine proportions, for the elegant simplicity of their classic form and for the delicate and graceful beauty of their classic ornament.

Hepplewhite and Sheraton derived much from the work of Adam. The influence of Robert Adam prevailed upon decorative art from around 176-1765 until his death in 1792. The furniture designed by Adam was essentially rectilinear in form and was inspired by classic models. After 1775 the influence of the Louis XVI style was evident in Adam’s designs for furniture.

The style of ornament used by Robert Adam was exceedingly rich in variety and was essentially borrowed from the ornament of the ancient Romans. The motifs were remarkable for their exquisite delicacy, their classic refinement and their elegance. Included among the favorite motifs were festoons of husks, drapery swags, a radiating design resembling a fan, the anthemion or honeysuckle, medallions, rosettes, delicate acanthus scrolling, trophies of armor, vases and urns of classical form, arabesques, the lyre motif, wheat sheafs, garlands, husk chains, classical figure subjects

Adam Style circa 1760—1765 to 1792.

Robert. Adams, William In English ceramics; one of a family of potters working in Stafford-shire during the second half of the 18th and early 19th centuries. William Adams, d. 1805, of Greengates, Tunstall, working from 1787 made deep blue jasper ware and cream- colored earthenware. The marks, which were all impressed, were ” Adams & Co” ” Adams B Adams”; “AW. Adams & Co.” William Adams, 1748—1831, of the Brick House, Burslem, and of Colbridge, was a general potter. A third branch of this family was that of William Adams of Stoke, b. 1772—d. 1829. The marks were ” Adams”, either impressed or printed, and ” W. impressed. The blue Adams & Sons printed wares made at their pottery for the American market during the early 19th century were commonly marked with an im- pressed eagle with a cartouche enclosing the name of the printed subject. Late in the 19th century descendants of this branch of the Adams family bought the Greengates pottery, which together with other kilns are still operated by them. See Staffordshire.

Adlerglas Or Adlerhumpen. In German glass; a tall cylindrical-shaped enamelled German drinking glass either with or without a cover. The colored enamelled decoration portrayed the double eagle of the Holy wings fifty-six armorial bearings of the Roman Empire. Each wing had six feathers and on each feather were four escutcheons AGALLOCH WOOD with the names of the Princes and cities to whom they belonged. In addition there were the escutcheons of the Seven Electors and that of the Pope. Enamelled glasses of imposing size were extremely popular in Germany from around the middle of the 16th century onwards. This subject of the double eagle was by far one of the most popular subjects for these large drinking glasses. The adlerglas is also called a Reichs- humpen or Reichsadlerhumpen. See Elec- tor Glass; German Glass; Humpen.

Affleck, Thomas A Philadelphia cabinet maker. He was born in Scotland and came to Philadelphia in 1763. At the present time he is commonly regarded to be the outstanding figure among Philadelphia cabinetmakers. It is generally agreed that the finest Chippendale-style furniture made in America was produced in Philadelphia. had a shop on Second Street. He died in 1795. See philadelphia Chippendale Style.

Afghan Bokhara An Oriental rug belonging to the Turkoman group. It is a product of Bokhara and is also woven by the dwellers in northern Afghanistan. The warp and weft are of dark wool or goats’-hair. The pile is Of medium length, and is Of goats’-fleece or fine wool. The ends are usually finished with a deep colored web and a long loose fringe. In its design it uses the octagon but much enlarged, and without the dividing lines which make the Tekke Bokhara look like a decorated checker-board. The Afghan Bokhara is more often after the order of the Khiva Bokhara and has often been sold under that name. See Turkoman Rugs.

Afshar An Oriental rug belonging to the Persian classification. It is generally classed as an inferior grade Shiraz. See Shiraz; PerSian Rugs.

Agalloch Wood An East Indian tree

Agata A late 19th century American ornamental glass, shading from White to rose and having a mottled though always glossy surface. See Art Glass.

Agate Ware In English ceramics; the practice of mixing clays of two or more colors produce an agate or marbled Ware had its to origin in antiquity. The solid agate ware made in Staffordshire around the second quarter Of the 18th century was produced by mixing white, brown and blue stained clays. A little later the process was adopted by Wedgwood and he produced a material closely resembling natural agate which he made into vases and other similar objects. See Marbled Ware; Staffordshire.

Agra An Oriental rug woven at Agra, India ; an Important rug-weaving center duriÆg the reign of Akbar the Great, 1556—1605. The modern Agra rug is purely a commercial creation; it is one Of the better grades of modern India Orientals. See India Oriental; Oriental Rug.

Aikuchi In Japanese arms; a knife or dagger without a guard. The hilt and scabbard of the aikuchi were frequently made of metal and were elaborately decorated. The aikuchi Was carried,during the Tokugawa era, by persons -rank and retired fighting men, and was also used in committing hara-kiri, or cere- monial suicide. See Tanto.

Ailanto or tree of heaven, ailante. Its wood is used in cabinetwork, especially by India and China. Its wood is hard and corn- pact. and its color is reddish and veined. Ailettes In armor; the protective plates worn on the shoulders from the latter part turies. They were of various shapes such as round, square, cross or shield-shaped, and frequently were decorated With a coat-of- arms.

Air Twist In glass; a spiral vein of air or a twisted air spiral formed by the extension of air bubbles or tears in the stem of a glass drinking vessel. The air twist stem, which was made in numerous variations, was fashionable in English glass from around 1740 to 1765. Originally the tears or bubbles were accidental, and because the effect was so pleasing they were later purposely put in the glass. See Tear.

Aiyin A coarse form of the Herat rug. See Herat Rug.

Ajouré A French term applied to metalwork which is pierced through, perforated or openworked, for example an ajouré silver fruit bowl or a bowl decorated with a pierced design.

Akbar the Great Emperor of India, 1556-1605. He established the Royal Factory at Lahore, India. His reign marked the beginning of the great Oriental rug weaving period in India, and continued through the reigns o Jahangir, 1605-1628, and Shah Jahan, 1628-1658. Some of these rugs compare favorably with the 16th century Persian rugs. India Oriental.

Ak-Hissar Mohair Rug An Oriental belonging to the Turkish classification; named after the town where it is made. The foundation is ofa coarse wool and the pile is of mohair, sometimes mixed with wool. The ends are usually finished with a narrow web and loose warp threads. See Turkish Rugs.

Alabaster A compact variety of gypsum o fine texture; it is usually white and lucent. Sometimes it is veined, clouded o spotted. It is soft and can easily be scratched. It is carved into vases and other decorative objects and is used in figure sculpture. The other type alabaster is a compact variety of calcite that is somewhat translucent. It is hard and cannot be scratched. This type, which is also called Oriental alabaster, was used by the ancients for making small vases for oils and perfumes. Sometimes it is beautifully banded and it is then known as onyx marble or simply onyx.

Alb In ecclesiastical costume; a vestment of white cloth, reaching to the feet and covering the entire person, having close sleeves, worn by priests in religious ceremonies and by some consecrated kings. Although some albs during the Middle Ages were of silk and sometimes of various colors, the alb is now white and it should be made of linen. The alb is either plain or decorated with apparels. These richly embroidered apparels were found at the wrist and at the bottom of the full robe. Especially typical were apparels of quadrangular form varying from twenty inches by nine inches to nine inches by six inches for the bottom and six inches by four inches to three inches square for the wrist. Apparels of this type were universally worn from the 13th to the 16th centuries and the religious ornament embroidered in silk and gold on these apparels was remarkably beautiful and appropriate. The alb is girded by a cord generally of white cotton about three yards long, which serves to adjust the alb to a convenient length. This cord which is called a girdle was formerly of various colors and made of rich materials. It was fre- quently beautifully worked and early records mention ” girdles with gold and precious stones.”

Albarello In ceramics; an Italian word for a variety of drug or apothecary jar. The form was practically cylindrical. Generally the center was slightly more narrow than the top and lower portions of the body. It had a Wide round mouth and foot rim. Sometimes slight characteristic variations occurred in the form. The albarello form was found in Persian and in Mesopotamian wares from the 12th century, in Hispano-Moresque wares from the Uth century and in the Italian Renalßance majolica wares. albarelb form was also in other continental wares. One explanation for the derivation the Word is that the name is an Italian tion of the Persian el barani, or a drugs. It is also said that because of its posed resemblance to a section Of bam in which drugs were exported from Orient. that it Was given the Italian name albarello or little tree. See Pharm«y Vase.

Albertolli, Giocondo 1742-1839. Italian designer of ornament and famous master the Neo-Classicists in Italy. His decorative designs in the style of the antique were mental in developing and diffusing the Neo-Classic art in Italy. He was a director of Academy of Milan, founded in 1775.

Alcora In ceramics; a pottery founded in Alcora, Valencia, Spain, 1726 by Count Aranda- It was a leading manufacturer for faience in Spain during the 18th century, and the faience produced there during the lifetime of its founder, c.1726-1749, may be regarded as some of the finest of its kind made in Europe. Its production can be classified in three groups: the tin-glazed faience from c1726-c1785, the porcelain first made around 1776 and the cream-colored earthenware made from around 1777. Of these three the åience was the most important. Especially distinctive was the pictorial painting which was an original feature of Alcora faience. Good figure modelling in the cream-colored ware is also worth noting. Other earthenware was in imitation of Wedgwood jasper ware and pottery in the English style, and displayed little originality. The manufactory mark of ” A ” was used after 1784.

Alcove Cupboard In English cabinetwork ; in the early 18th century alcove and corner cupboards often formed a part of the wood panelling of rooms. The term appears in 18th century records. See Buffet; Corner Cupboard.

Ale Glass In English glass ; a drinking vessel introduced during the 17th century and used for beer and ale. It consisted of a tall funnel shaped bowl resting on a Short stem, usually baluster form. and a spreading foot.

Alencon Point A French needlepoint lace sometimes referred to in lace literature as the Queen of Laces. It was made with a fine needle and the small pieces were later joined / with invisible stitches. There were about twelve processes and each lace-maker was assigned one of these special branches. Due to its elaborate construction it was seldom made in large pieces, such as pillow covers. There were two kinds of grounds. namely, hexagonal bride ground and a ground of or réseau. In the 18th century the iéseau ground was introduced and apparently entirely adopted. The designs were unrivalled for their closeness and evenness. A distinctive feature was the cordonnet which d a foundation of horsehair placed around edge of the design and closely worked in fine buttonhole stitches. It is not own when the term point R Alencon was first used; however, it is mentioned in an inventory of 1741 where it is stated to be å sea”. A strong resemblance existed between Alen€on and Argentan which was the ther French needlepoint lace. At the present it rs customary to regard Alencon as a lace with a fine réseau. with a mesh which is more frequently square rather than hexagonal in form. The manufacture of Alencon Was practically extinct, when it was revived under Napoleon. and it also flourished again under the Second Empire. Of more recent times it has been made at Burano. Brussels and Bayeux, where it was introduced in 1855, and also at Alencon.

Alisier Wood The wood of the whitebeam tree. pyrus aria. used in cabinetwork. especially by the French ébénistcs. It is hard. and its color is white.

Alla Castellane Ware In Italian ceramics; a lead-glazed earthenware with sgratfiato decoration. This type of ware was made in Italy from the early Renaissance in the 14th century onwards at many important pottery centers. However. the majority of centers producing this ware have not been conclusively identified. with the exception of Bologna and Pavia. It appears that Cittå Castello near Perugia and neighboring Fratta were important centers for production lead-glazed earthenware with sgratfiato decoration.

Alla Porcenana In Italian ceramics ; a temporary term given to a kind of Italian majolica decoration characterized by foliage and twisting sterns executed in blue in the manner of 15th century Chinese porcelain.

Allecret In armor : the name given to a half suit of light plate armor similar to a corselet. Taces were also used with the allecret. It was especially used by the Swiss during the 16th century.

Allison, Michael American cabinetmaker working from around 1800 to 1845. He is listed at 42 and also at 46-48 Vesey Street. New York City.

Almond Wood See Amandier Wood.

Almoner’s Cupboard In English cabinetwork ; a livery cupboard used in the church in which bread was kept to be doled out to the poor. It is also called a dole cupboard. It was introduced around the beginning of the 16th century. See Livery Cupboard.

Alms Dish An ecclesiastical dish or plate for the reception alms. used in the Church. In English silver it is usually the form of a falt plate. With or without handles used since mid-evil times.. The greater number of early alms dishes were of bas, pewter or latten. The later ones, which were made for secular use given to the Church. were made of finely wrought Silver or gold, frequently a in thc center depicting a religions subject or a coat-of-arms.

Alpujurra – A distinctive kind of Spanish hand loomed peasant rug deriving its name from the district of Alpujarra, in the province of Granada in the south of Spain, it was woven. Frequently the date is mto the rug, and extant examples the date of 1740. However, according to reliable sources. it seems that these rugs were woven at least from around the end of 15th century. It is generally accepted that the Alpujarra rug was evolved and perfected by Moors and that the technique was carried by the Spanish peasants. In this rug the bops and weft are woven into the Warp, with the raised loops giving a rather rough appearance. The loops are wound ova an iron rod and when a row of is completed across the warp the customary rows of weft are woven in. As a rule rug is rather coarse and heavy. and has to twenty loops to every square inch. Originally the Alpuprra was used as a bedspread and not as a floor covering. The fringe is a distinctive feature and is woven separately of one of the principal colors. The colors and designs are relatively simple and possess a ungular peasant charm. The majority of these rugs are woven in two colors; however, some display from three to as many as ten colors. Especially favored motifs vases of flower’ or the tree of life often with a bird on either side, stars and other geometric designs. well leave’ and the pomegranate i’ the symbol the Granada

Alsace In French Provincial originally old German province

Altar Cup In Chinese ceramics; a beautiful white porcelain cup Of the Ming period that has the character T’an, which means engraved inside.

Altare In Italian glass; during the Mi Ages glassmakers from Normandy settled at Altare near Genoa and developed an independent tradition similar to that of Venice. The Altare glass industry became the most important rival of the Venetian center and achieved a great importance. along with Venice, in the second half of the 15th century. It appears that with the exception of a few examples it is now impossible to make a distinction between the glassware of Venice and Altare.

American Empire The name American Empire commonly given to a style of furniture made in America from around 1810—1815 to 1830, while the term Late Empire is given to the furniture made from around 1830 to 1840. The furniture in this decade was coarsely designed and was characterized by its massive and cumbrous forms. The American Empire style was developed to a greater or lesser extent from the French Empire and English Regency styles. It displayed certain decorative features of the French Empire
style, such as the round wood columns employed on sideboards, chests of drawers and other similar pieces, and the lion paw feet and the shaggy paw feet of other animals found on sofas and the splayed tetrapod bases of tables. The American cabinetmakers
nounced preference in their style of ornament

American Federal 1789-1830. The term Federal includes those styles which were in vogue after the Federal government was established in 1789. Thus the Federal group includes the Hepplewhite, Sheraton and American Empire styles. The Hepplewhite style became fashionable in America shortly after 1785 and remained in vogue until about 1800

Carving and inlay were the principal methods used for decorating the American pieces made in the Hepplewhite style. Among the favorite motifs employed in inlay work were rosettes, festoons of flowers,
husk pendants and acanthus foliage. As a rule the furniture in the Hepplewhite style was made of mahogany. The Sheraton style was the last of the great English furniture styles of the 18th century. It became increasingly popular in America after 1795. Practically every type of furniture that was in vogue in
America from about 1795 to 1820 was made in the Sheraton style by Duncan Phyfe and other American cabinetmakers. Veneering was a pronounced feature of late 18th century cabinetwork. Mahogany was the principal wood. Satinwood, which was extensively used in England, was seldom used in America except for inlaid decorative bandings and stringing lines. The lyre form, which was a favorite decorative feature of Sheraton’s, was used by Duncan Phyfe on his articles of furniture designed in the Sheraton style.
Inlay work was extensively employed by Sheraton; included among the favorite
motifs were rosettes, delicate festoons Of
flowers and husk pendants. Both large and small delicate inlaid ovals were especially typical. Reeding was widely used, especially on the legs of chairs and tables. See Antique Furniture.

American Glass. Glass making in the American colonies, throughout the 18th century
and early part of the 19th century.

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The Complete Dictionary of Antique Phrases

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