Glossary of Terms – A

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Aalto, alvar(1898 - 1976) A Finnish architect and furniture designer. His work during the 1920's and 1930's had an enormous impact on the 20th Century design. His work was mass produced but remained highly original, by clean, simple lines and curves. He used a selection of materials such as moulded plywood and tubular steel.

abacus A type of column, vertical support, circular in cross-section. The Greeks introduced the first three distinct styles, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The abacus is at the very top of the Doric column.

Abbotsford style Term introduced in the late 19th Century for imitation Jacobean, Stuart, Tudor and Gothic furniture that was made in the 1820 and 1830s. Named after the Scottish home, Abbotsford, of the late 18th - 19th Century poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott. The house was furnished in this style.

abrash The term used for the faint banding of colour shades normally found in oriental carpets that were vegetable dyed and made by the nomadic tribes. There are slight variations in shade of different batches of wool because they were dyed at varying times. Abrash is most obvious over a large, plain field of colour. Sadly, unscrupulous modern weavers attempt to fake an abrash as it makes the rug look aged.

acacia A whitish-yellow very durable wood with brown veining, can also be known as robinia. It was also used as a veneer in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries, as a decorative crossbanding on 18th and early 19th Century country furniture, chairs, small cabinet work and boxes could occasionally be found in the late 19th Century.

accordion pleat A series of machine made narrow pleats often used on fabrics that are lightweight for soft furnishings.

achromatic lens An 18th Century development of combining flint glass and crown glass that removes distorting colour fringes from the image. It was patented by Englishman John Dollond in 1758 and used in telescopes and microscopes.

acid polishing A process involving chemicals that restore a polished surface to glass after it has been cut. The glass is dipped in an acid solution that removes a fine surface layer.

acorn flagon Pewter vessel about 30 cms high, the base is a shape of an acorn, and a domed, acorn-like lip capped by a finial. It was used in Yorkshire during the first half of the 18th Century for serving wine or ale, it could also have been known as a York flagon.

Adam, Robert(1728 - 1792) Neoclassical architect and interior designer.

adjustment marks The file marks found on a lot of pre 19th Century coins which have been filed down or adjusted to become the correct weight. This was a world wide practice which started to be used from ancient times and continued until the early 19th Century, then new manufacturing advancements made it possible to cut blanks from consistently rolled metal sheets. Any excess metal would have been filed off overweight blanks before the coins were struck ensuring that they were of consistent weight. Occasionally blanks were made overweight as so to avoid the remelting process necessary for coins that were underweight, which was an expensive process.

adlerglas A German 17th Century – 18th Century large drinking vessel. Examples were almost cylindrical in shape and they often were lidded and decorated with enamel.

adze An axe that was long handled with the blade at right angels to the shaft, this would have been used in furniture making for heavy trimming and shaping. An example can be found with the Windsor chair, the slightly hollowed out seats were shaped with an adze with a curved cutting edge.

Æ A common and popular abbreviation for bronze and cooper that comes from the latin aes, found in coin catalogues and also seen as æ.

aerography A technique used in the late 19th Century for applying colours to ceramics through a stencil with an atomiser or airbrush. It was a popular choice for 'dressing up' cheap porcelain and pottery.

Aestetic movement A decorative arts movement that had a Japanese influence, it flourished in Britain from circa.1870, and was a forerunner to Art Nouveau. This movement was not recognised in France or Europe but was in the USA. It overlapped with the Arts and Crafts movement although it had started to decline by the late 1880s.

affenkapelle A German term which means 'monkey band' and is a set of porcelain monkey musicians. The sets, each one comprises of 20 figures, they were first introduced by Meissen in Germany in the mid 18th Century and were reproduced there and at many other European factories in the 19th Century.

agate A fine grained quartz used as a semi precious stone in intaglio and cameo work and also in some items of jewellery such as signet rings and brooches, particularly in the 19th Century. When it is polished it reveals various tones of oranges and soft browns, blues, greens or greys and often has irregular milky bands.

agate ware ware Staffordshire pottery that resembles the veinings and colourings of natural agate. It was produced in the 18th Century by Wedgwood and Whieldon. There are two types. 1, solid agate, which are made from kneading together two or three differently coloured clays which gives a marbled effect throughout the body. 2, surface agate, which a plain earthenware body was applied with a joggled liquid clay slip of mixed agate like colours to give a surface only finish.

aide-mémoire A decorated slim case, fitted with a pencil and note pad, usually measuring about 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 1/4 ins. The ivory leaves of the 18th Century aides-mémoire, or tablettes, continued until the early 20th Century some however have been replaced with paper. The cases were decorated for example with gold, silver, ivory, enamel and tortoiseshell.

airgrette A hat or hair ornament, which was usually of gold or silver, and made in the shape of a feather or as a holder for a feather. They were fashionable in the 17th and 18th Centuries and again from the late 19th and until the early 20th Century.

air-beading Tear shaped or circular shaped bubbles of air incorporated into glassware for decorative effect. The molten glass is pricked with a metal point, and glass is drawn over the hole. A tear is formed when the glass is drawn into shape.

air twist A twisted air channel in the stem of a drinking glass, as a form of decoration, which was popular in the second half of the 18th Century and again in the 19th Century.

Akerman, John (fl, 1719 - 1755) A London glass merchant who introduced cut glass to Britain in Circa 1719.

alabaster A marble like mineral which is finely grained and dense, a form of gypsum. It is usually white, yellow or red in colour, and becomes translucent when it is thinly cut. It is easy to carve and was fashionable for pedestals, vases, and clock cases in the late 18th Century and again in Circa 1890.

albarello A ceramic drug pot that was cylindrical and slightly waisted. With a groove around the neck to secure a parchment cover. It originated in 12th Century Persia, however, ornamental Maiolica versions were made in Spain and Italy in the 15th Century and 16th Century, with a revival in the 19th Century, and also in Dutch and English delftware from the second half of the 16th Century.

albert A single or double chain that was metal with a bar for securing in a buttonhole at one end, and a swivel attachment to hold a pocket watch at the other end. In 1845 Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert was presented with one of these by a Birmingham jeweller, and so this was how it was named.

album quilt A patchwork personalised quilt, a typical design might have the names and dates of the recipient stitched into the patches. These were fashionable in the USA in the mid 19th century.

alburnum (See Sapwood) A soft whitish, newly formed wood of a tree between the outer skin of a bark and the center core of heartwood, and can be known as alburnum.

alder A durable wood, which polishes to a flesh coloured, knotty wood. It is an easy wood to turn, and native to northern Europe. It was used in the 18th Century and 19th Century for country furniture and sometimes for the turned members of the Windsor chairs.

ale glass A stemmed glass used for drinking ale dating from the 18th Century. The glasses were similar to wine glasses, but were slimmer, with a more elongated bowl. From 1740 some examples were engraved with hops or ears of barley or enamelled. 19th Century ale glasses are very similar in shape to champagne flutes. Short stemmed versions are known as dwarf or short ales.

Alençon lace The Alençon lace factory was established in north west France in 1675 by Venetian lace makers. Production declined in the 18th Century and then flourished again under Napoleon and the second empire. The term 'Point d'Alençon' refers to needlepoint lace with distinctive models (fillings) between the basic mesh, these were made at the factory and elsewhere.

alentours A tapestry that is wide and has a central picture surrounded by a border which imitates gilded wood, which is in turn bordered by a rich ornament such as trompe l'oeil figures and flowers. These tapestries were first introduced in 1714 at the Gobelins tapestry factory in France.

ale warmer A cup that would be either cooper or brass and would have a long iron or wooden handle used for warming ale over an open fire. Original 18th Century early examples would have been shaped like a large boot or shoe, cone shaped cups 'donkey ears' were introduced in the late 18th Century. These two styles were widely produced at the beginning of the 19th Century.

alexandrite A gem that was discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1830, on the birthday of Tsar Alexander II. It is of green or greenish brown in colour, and when put
under artificial light it glints various shades of red. There is a synthetic form of corundum which shows similar colour changes and is available to purchase in the middle east, it is sold as alexandrite, but has very little value.

alexandrite glass Transparent art glass that has colour graduations of yellow through to rose and blue and was produced by continuing the reheating of parts of the glass. This process originated from Thomas Webb & Sons, a Stourbridge glasshouse, in 1886. The later versions had designs which were cut through an outer shell of rose and blue glass to reveal a clear yellow base beneath.

Alloa Glassworks Established in 1750, a Scottish glass factory that specialised in dark green bottles which were engraved using the process of dots rather than lines with commemorative dates, names, and events . The most common dates found are from 1830 to around 1850.

all over A pattern or motif that is a repeated design all over a carpet up to the borders.

alloy A metal, which is formed by the melting of two or more elements together for example zinc, tin and cooper. Metals are normally used in the form of alloys to make them more durable and easier to work with.

aluminum A silvery, light and malleable metallic element resistant to tarnishing by air that was discovered in 1827. Occasionally used for figurines and plaques and sometimes combined with gold for bracelets. Also fashionable from the early 1920's for such things as ashtrays, teapots and jelly moulds.

amalgam An alloy of mercury with one or more other metals For example, gold, silver or tin.

amatory jewellery A form of jewellery with motifs or inscriptions that were designed or made to be given as love tokens for example broaches, or rings. These were popular during the 16th Century and 17th Century. In the 16th Century betrothal rings were heart shaped with a mount set with a miniature portrait, and jewellery was sometimes made with locks of hair or set with locks of hair. In late Victorian times there was a demand for love brooches.

amber A normally yellowish translucent fossilized resin deriving from extinct trees and used in jewellery. The best quality amber is clear, and rare specimens contain embedded insects - These can be introduced artificially.

amberina A type of Art Glass that ranges in colour from golden amber at the bottom to deep red at the top, it was developed by Joseph Locke at the New England glass Co in 1883. It was also widely manufactured in America and was also made in a pressed glass form in north east England.

amboyna A wood that is reddish brown, durable and has a tight grain, it comes from the East Indies. It is a variety of Padouk, it was used by cabinet makers because of its highly decorative affect in inlay, and banding in the 18th Century and the 19th Century.

ambulante A general term that was used to describe a light table that would have been moved around as required for example an occasional table or a bedside table or a work table. This term was used in France in the second half of the 18th Century.

Amen glassProduced in Circa 1745 a very rare British wine glass. It would have had a drawn stem and the bowl would be engraved with a Jacobite hymn which would have ended with the word 'amen'.

American Colonial StyleA term used for North American furniture and architectural style from the early 17th Century pioneer settlements to the establishment of the federal government in 1789.

American Federal StyleAmerican furniture from the early years of American independence (1789 - 1830) it would generally have been adorned with patriotic or military symbols for example the eagle.

amethyst A semi precious stone of a violet to a deep purple form of quartz.

amorini An Italian term used for the winged cupids which were popular ornamental subjects during the renaissance and afterwards. On the cresting and on the front stretchers of chairs and tables they were features.

amphora A jar with a round body and a narrow neck that had two handles, they were used in ancient Greece, Rome and China for storing oil and wine.

ampulla A container with two handles used in ancient Rome for storing wine or water, since then have been used as a decorative vessel.

Anatolia An area of Turkey that is part of the Asian continent rather than Thrace, which is on the European mainland, it is often referred to in the context of carpets.

andirons A pair of metal fire irons that would have been placed at either side of an open hearth to support burning logs. In the late 17th Century coal burning stoves replaced andirons except in country areas. They can also be known as firedogs, because 16th Century examples were often in the shape of seated hounds.

anemometer A wind force measuring instrument.

aneroid barometer A barometer, introduced into homes and for the domestic market, from around circa 1850, it uses a disk like flexible metal bellow containing a partial vacuum instead of a column of mercury, to measure changes in air pressure. As the air pressure changes, the movement of the bellows is enlarged by being linked to a pointer set against a dial.

angel A gold coin 15th Century - 17th Century which depicts St Michael spearing a dragon. They first were introduced in Britain in the 1460s as a replacement to the noble.

Angell, Joseph II (Circa 1816 - 1891) A British Silversmith who exhibited at the 1851 Great exhibition. He produced ornate and elaborate claret jugs, tea and coffee sets and table centrepieces.

angle barometer Introduced in the early 18th Century, a barometer which has the top part of the mercury tube nearly horizontal. Because of this the visible movement of the mercury is spread over a longer scale than in a stick barometer and the reading are clearer.

angle chair A form of a corner chair

Anglo-Indian furniture From the mid 18th Century onwards, furniture made on the Indian subcontinent, to European designers and it was often inlaid with ivory. The majority of the work was for colonial administrators and their families. Aristocratic Indians were also commissioning it by the early 19th Century.

Angoulême sprig Porcelain decoration used at a Paris factory which was owned by Louis, Duke of Angoulême in the 18th Century and the 19th Century. It was a major feature of Chantilly porcelain in the 18th Century and went on to be copied at Derby, Worcester and Lowestoft in the 19th Century. Can also be known as barbeau.

an hua Chinese for 'Secret decoration'. Referring to a delicate design incised or scored on a porcelain body before glazing and it can only be seen when the finished piece is held against the light. Rarely does it occur in the Ming Dynasty from the early 15th Century and the Quing Dynasty porcelain of the Yongzheng emperor's reign. (1723 - 1735).

aniline dyes A chemical dye for carpets and other fabrics, it was first introduced in Circa 1870. These were known to run or to fade and so were replaced by colour fast chrome dyes in the early 20th Century.

animal furniture A craze during the Late and end of the Victorian times for articles made from or fashioned around animals and birds fresh from the taxidermist. Some examples include Elephant feet that have been hollowed out and used as liqueur stands, lamp bases of stuffed birds, and tiger skin chairs.

Animaliers, Les, French 19th Century sculptors of small, lifelike models of wild and domestic birds and animals in bronze.

animal interlace Usually of Celtic style, decorative or ornament motifs representing intertwined elongated and stylised animal forms.

annealing A process which involves the strengthening of glass or metal objects during manufacture by a controlled and gradual reheating and cooling. This process avoids the build up of internal stress that leads to cracking.

annulet There are two meanings 1) In architecture and cabinet making, a flat, narrow band encircling a column. 2) In heraldry, a small circle or ring in coats of arms.

anthemion A motif that is stylised honeysuckle.

antimacassar This term comes from macassar oil, a common hair dressing for men in the 19th Century and antimacassar is a piece of loose material that is placed over an upholstered chair back protecting it from stains from the users head. Victorian versions were commonly of white crochet which then proceeded to silk in the late 18th Century as this prevented powdered wigs and greasy make up used during the Georgian period from staining the upholstery.

antimagnetic watch A watch which has the mechanism's made of materials that are not affected by magnetic fields, as these cause inaccuracies. Gold and palladium were used for Chronometers from the late 18th Century, and palladium alloys and nickel steel were used ever since.

antimony Metallic element which has hardening properties and are used in a range of alloys including pewter.

antique An object that is over 100 years old, an object that is valued for its age, rarity, beauty or workmanship.

Antwerp The centre in the Netherlands of tapestry, lace making and pottery. The Antwerp tapestry industry reached its peak in the 17th Century, with designs reminiscent of the paintings of Rubens. Antwerp Pottery produced tin glazed earthenware in the 16th Century and work inspired by Italian Maiolica in the latter part of the Century.

aogai Japanese mother of pearl decoration introduced Circa 1620 on lacquered articles. Introduced to Japan from China was the use of the blue-green inside of the abalone (aogai in Japanese) it was used during the late Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).
In the late 18th Century the Japanese Somada School originated a type of mosaic work using fine slivers of aogai, a style that was extensively copied throughout the 19th Century.

apostle spoons Spoons traditionally made in sets of 13. The handles topped with figures of Christ and his 12 apostles. The figures are identified by different emblems held in the right hand. Usually in silver, and occasionally in pewter. The earliest known part of a set dates from Circa 1460. The spoons were made throughout Europe. They were common christening presents either as a set of singly during the 16th Century and 17th Century. Mass produced in Britain in the 19th Century were coffee spoons depicting the same apostle.

apple A fruit wood that is hard and reddish brown in colour, it has an irregular grain which makes it very suitable to turning. It was mostly used for legs, stretchers and spindles of country made chairs and tables, especially in the 17th Century and the 18th Century, and by 20th Century artist craftsmen. From around the 17th Century, applewood was often stained black - ebonised - or gilded and used for applied carvings, inlaid decoration and picture framings.

applied decoration A surface ornament made, modelled or carved and then fixed to the body of an item.

apron The front lower piece of furniture that is beneath the surface of a table, seat or a chair.

aquamarine Blue and green variety of gemstone Beryl. Greenish aquamarines were fashionable in the 19th Century, and since the 20th Century sky-blue stones have become popular, produced by heat treatment.

aquatint Print that is made by an etching process that was invented in the 1760’s it enables several tones of varying intensity to be produced. Tiny particles of resin are dusted onto the metal printing plate and fused on by heat. Areas that cannot be printed on are coated with a special varnish. The plate is exposed to acid which bites into the exposed metal, this produces tonal areas like those of an ink or wash drawing when printed.

arabesque Interwoven, symmetrical patterns of branches, tendrils and scrolls. A familiar motif in Islamic and Hispano-Moresque designs, and throughout Europe during Circa 1760 - 1790.

arbor A shaft, axle or spindle carrying a wheel and Pinion in a clock, watch or music box mechanism.

Arcadian Pottery from Stoke on Trent that produced crest ware in the 19th Century and the 20th Century including militaria and animals and black cats in a variety of poses.

arcading Decoration often found on the backs of furniture and panels throughout the 16th Century and 17th Century, consisting of a series of rounded backs and arches.

architects table An 18th Century table used by artists, architects and draughtsmen, the top of the table tilts on a ratchet making a drawing board.

architectural style A general term for furniture and clock cases that resemble architectural features for example columns and pediments.

architrave The term to describe the moulded frame around doorways, windows and panelling in furniture.

argand lamp An oil lamp that was invented in Geneva around Circa 1782 and became widely made in the USA and Europe. They became fitted with an adjustable burner from 1810.

argentan lace A form of French needlepoint lace, typically showing flowers on a hexagonal background and first made in the late 17th Century.

Argyle Usually made of Sheffield plate or silver a late 18th Century gravy container, sometimes spelt Argyll. Designed for the Duke of Argyll, it works by having an inner vessel with the gravy in being kept warm by hot water in an outer cavity.

Ariel glass Developed in Sweden around Circa 1936, it is an Art glass. It contains bubbles or channels of air. Patterns are sandblasted into a glass core, which is then encased in another layer of glass. Therefore trapping channels of air where the pattern has been cut away.

Arita An early 17th Century Japanese ceramics centre, the home of Imari and Kakiemon porcelain.

ark Made by an arkwright, a chest normally made of oak with a canted lid. They were used for storing flour in particular in the north of England up until the 19th Century.

armada chest An iron bound strongbox made with the intention of storing valuables throughout the 16th Century and 17th Century. They often had large complicated locks found on the underside of the lid. These were occasionally used by officers at sea, and they would have been bolted to the floor of their cabin. The term came from a Victorian invention recalling chests imagined to be used by the Spanish Armada. The chests were usually German made.

armchair A single chair with arms, as distinct from aside or corner chair.

armet A medieval helmet enclosing the head with a pivoted visor.

armillary sphere A globe that's scientific and used for teaching astronomy and cosmography from Circa 1500 onwards. 16th Century examples show the movements of the planets in the solar system, and usually were only made as pairs, one showing the earth centred universe, and the other one showing the sun centred universe.

armoire The French name for a large, plain cupboard or press, from the 16th Century onwards. It would usually have two doors, and one or two shelves inside. The German version is known as a kas.

armorial This is the term used to describe a coat of arms. It may also be used to describe designs in which heraldic motifs are prominent. Chinese export porcelain dinner services are decorated with family crests or armorials and were commissioned by the European aristocracy in the late 17th Century and 18th Century, this is known as armorial porcelain.

Arnold John (1736 - 1799) A British clock and watchmaker, he is highly acclaimed for his work on pocket and marine chronometers and precision watches.
He made extremely accurate regulator clocks for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. He went into partnership with his son John (d.1843) from 1787. His son continued with and ran the business after his death. Then the firm was subsequently run by Edward Dent (1830 - 1840), and then a few years later by Charles Frodsham, a leading marine chronometer maker.

Arras A French tapestry centre from 13th Century through to the 16th Century, the word Arras was used for generally high quality wall hanging or tapestry.
Arras porcelain factory produced tableware from 1770 - 1790 and Arras lace, which was pure white and gold and became very popular and difficult to source from the 17th Century through to the 19th Century.

Art Deco From the mid 1920's to 1930's a style that affected all forms of design. The name originates from the French arts décoratifs meaning decorative arts, after the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in 1925.

Art furniture A part of the British and USA Aesthetic movement during the mid to late 19th Century. Art furniture rejected earlier Victorian opulence and comfort in favour of simpler shapes showing Japanese influence. The movements name was given by designer Charles Eastlake, and was taken from the Art Furniture Company, which manufactured pieces by architect William Godwin. Other designers who influenced or were associated with the movement were William Burges, Christopher Dresser, Charles Voyser and Bruce Talbert.

art glass A 19th Century and 20th Century general term used to describe glassware produced for decorative affect and including agate, alexandrite and tortoiseshell glass.

Art Nouveau From the 1880's up until the First World War a decorative arts style that is so distinguished because of its flowing lines and curves, asymmetry and flower leaf motifs.

Arts and Crafts Movement A British artist craftsmen's work that was made during the 19th Century and 20th Century, whereby they rejected machine made goods favouring the hand making of work, and this became known as the Arts and Crafts Movement. However in Britain after 1900 the movement began to decline, its influence was evident in the USA until the First World War as well as in Continental Europe, in particular Scandinavia and Austria.

ash A wood that is tough, springy, whitish grey and native to Britain. It's readily available and not very expensive. Because it is so solid, it was used a lot in making county furniture throughout the 18th Century and the 19th Century. It could also have been used as a veneer on some Georgian furniture. It is still used traditionally for Bentwood chairs.

Ashbee, Charles Robert (1863 - 1942) A leading player within the Arts and Crafts Movement because he was a British architect, writer and designer. Designing a lighter version of the country style furniture as well as Art Nouveau silver and metal ware. Also the founder of the school of Arts and handicrafts in London which then later moved to the Cotswolds.
His earlier works played a huge role in breaking away from Victorian traditions and his later work shows examples of work made using machinery in the 20th Century.

asmalyk Weavings that are five sided or rectangular and made by Turkoman nomads and they were designed to hang on camels backs.

asparagus tongs Pressure grip or scissor action 18th Century tongs. Likely to be ornamented silver or Sheffield plate, for the purpose of serving asparagus. They were also known as chop tongs as they could be used for serving meat.

aspidistra stand Wooden, wicker or ceramic three or four legged plant stands for holding a flowerpot. They were fashionable in the 19th Century, aspidistra was a popular plant and the stands could also be known as jardinière stands.

Asprey A London based retail Company which was founded in 1751 it produces gold and silver jewellery and other luxury items, in particular elaborate vanity cases containing mirrors and bottles mounted in chased silver and gold. The Company, which is based in New Bond Street, is still a family run only business.

assay There are two meanings:
1) Metal testing for purity of gold or silver content which would be carried out by an assay officer or an institution such as a guild. The standards are regulated by the government, there are four office in Britain; London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh, each of these four offices has its own very distinct hallmark.
2) The term used to describe a sample piece of work by a craftsman on registration with a guild.

Astbury ware Earthernware that is lead glazed and made by John Astbury (1686 – 1743) and his contemporaries Circa 1730 – 1770 in Staffordshire, and then later on in Yorkshire. Relief decoration was sprigged onto a red or a brown body, then covered with a thick honey-brown, yellow or green glaze. Generally useful wares were produced for example, horses, and riders, figure jugs of sailors and musicians. Astbury is also credited with the addition of ground flint and white Devonshire clay to Staffordshire earthenware, which improved its colour and plasticity.

astragal A beading of moulding that is small and semicircular is used on glazing bars of glass cabinet doors.

astrolabe An instrument that is circular in shape with a moveable arm for calculating the altitude of the sun and plotting the position of the stars for astronomical and navigational purposes. They were used from the 2nd Century and were obsolete in Europe by the 18th Century.

astronomical dial Showing the movement of the sun, a clock or watch that also shows the moon, planets and the stars as well as telling the time.

athénienne A lidded urn that has a multipurpose and is set on a highly ornamented three legged stand. Invented by the Frenchman J.H. Eberts in 1773, it could be used as a plant stand, a washstand, candelabra or a perfume burner.

atlas There are 2 definitions:
1) Any form of volume of books, tables, charts, maps or plates that systematically illustrates a subjects.
2) The singular of atlantes, male figures used as columns in furniture or architecture.

atmos clock A clock devised by J.E. Reutter in 1928 and manufactured by the Swiss firm of Jaeger-le-Coulter. The movement of the clock is wound by changes in the atmospheric pressure.

Aubusson The name of a town in central France that has been famous for its carpets since the 16th Century. Aubusson tapestry woven carpets in Louis XVI and Empire styles were used in the late 18th Century and 19th Century and showed scenes from the fables of La Fontaine, contemporary prints were popular from the 18th Century. Interest rose again this Century with designs from artists such as Raoul Dufy and Graham Sutherland.

Ault Pottery Founded by William Ault at Swadlincote, Derbyshire in 1887, a British art pottery, it produced ornamental earthernware and sometimes with Adventure glazes, including articles that were designed by Christopher Dresser.

aumbry Dating from medieval times, a simple cupboard. Originally the aumbry, ambry or almery consisted of a recessed shelved area in a wall enclosed by wooded doors and then was later developed into a free standing cupboard that would have been used for storing food, and there would have been pierced ventilation holes in the doors, this would have been used up until the 16th Century.

AV Is commonly used in coin catalogues and sometimes also av and comes from the latin abbreviation, also aurum (gold).

automata Mechanical figures of a variety of sizes animated by clockwork, and then later by battery, produced mainly for clock -makers in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Automata would have been created for display and also for adults, often elaborately dressed and capable of really detailed movements such as drinking or smoking. In the late 19th Century automata was largely replaced by mass production of mechanical toys that were aimed at Children.

autoperipatetikos A walking doll with a smooth movement patented in the USA and Europe in 1862, having brass leg casings shaped like boots and the walking movement made by a rotating curved bar that's concealed within the legs or feet or appearing beneath the feet. The name comes from the Greek definition of 'Self-propelling.'

aventurine There are 3 definitions:
1) Translucent glass containing metallic specks. The name coming from 'avventurina' Italian for the brown quartz (also known as 'goldstone') that the first form of glass resembled. The 'gold aventurine' developed in the early 17th Century and owed its appearance to copper oxide used in its manufacture. In the 1860's chromium was added and it made green aventurine, chrome and tin combined led to pink aventurine.
2) A term used to describe lacquer or glaze of the same speckled appearance as aventurine glass.
3) The term sometimes given to the minute clippings of gold wire and sprinkled over furniture during the process of Japanning.

Axminster carpets Hand knotted carpets made for the luxury market in the 18th Century and the 19th Century at the Axminster carpet factory in Devon. The factory was founded in Devon in 1750 by two French Huguenot refugees from the Savonnerie factory it was then merged with the Wilton Carpet Factory in 1835. The name may also refer to mechanically woven, double wefted carpets that were made at the Wilton Carpet Factory following its take over of the Axminster, and copied at Kidderminster.

Ayrshire work A type of cutwork embroidery on white muslin, which hails from the Scottish county of Ayrshire. The work was mostly used during the mid 19th Century for christening robes, women's collars, cuffs and caps.