Glossary of Terms




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.

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Baccarat Founded in 1764, a leading French glassworks. The first products were soda glass tableware and window glass. High quality lead crystal and decorative glassware started to be produced from 1816. Particularly noted for Millefiori paperweights and sulphides, which have been popular and collectable from the mid -19th Century.

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cabaret A small tray, usually porcelain, with matching sugar bowl, set of cups, milk jug and tea pot. A breakfast set is called dejeuner. A set for one-person solitaire and a set for two tete-a-tete.

cabinet A piece of furniture incorporating drawer and cupboard space designed so that small objects can be displayed and stored

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rga-dd Pre-decimalisation abbreviation for penny

dagger Small, short, pointed, bladed weapon often double-edged for thrusting, and stabbing.

daguerreotype French painter and theatrical designer Jacques Louis Daguerre (1789 – 1851) invented the first practicable photographic.

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Eames, Charles (1907-78) US architect and furniture designer, who with his colleague Eero Saarinen explored the potential of new materials such as aluminium, plywood and steel. He later used his techniques gained and developed during the second world war to create furniture chairs, tables, screens and storage units that were fluid, strong and light.

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faceted steel Decorative steel studs cut with the facets which were fashionable in the 18th and 19th Century and used for buttons, belts and sword hilts. Matthew Boultons factory in Birmingham and Woodstock near Oxford, were the main centres of production.

facets Small, flat surfaces ground onto cut gemstones.

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gabbeh Term for heavy, coarsely woven domestic rugs from west Iran. Gabbehs are typically woven in thick wool and brightly coloured to a bold design.

gadrooning Continuous convex curves or reeding on metalwork, but also imitated on furniture and ceramics. Gadroon borders are made up of interlocking, repeated comma-like bosses.

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Hafner ware See tiles.

Haig, Thomas (c. 1727-1803) Cabinet-maker, upholsterer and business partner of Thomas chippendale. After Chippendale’s death in 1779, Haig continued in partnership with Chippendale’s son Thomas until 1796.

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ice glass art glass with a frosted outer surface that resembles cracked ice. It is made by rolling a partly blown glass object over powdered glass, and then reheating it and blowing it into shape, or by plunging white-hot glass into cold water so that it becomes veined with tiny cracks.

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Jackfield Ware Japanese lacquer cermics imitation originally produced at Jackfield in Shorpshire from C.1750. Can also be known as japanned ware, its covered in a glossy black glaze with gilded decoration. Astbury, Whieldon and Wedgewood also produced it.

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Kakiemon Japanese porcelain distinctively coloured from C.1660, comprising of turquoise, dark blue, iron-red, black, yellow and occasionally brown. Named after the potter credited with the palette’s invention, Kakiemon I. Was copied at the early European porcelain factories.

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laburnum A dense, Yellow wood with brown streaks. Popular for inlaid and veneered decorations in particular Oystering after restoration and towards the end of the 18th Century crossbanding.

lac burgaute French term for Oriental lacquering with Mother of Pearl inlay decoration.

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machine knotting A technique for mechanical carpet making for reproducing hand-knots, usually Turkish invented in Britain in c.1900.

Macintyre James & Co Staffordshire Pottery at Burslem from C.1847 which mainly produced utility ceramics. An art pottery studio was opened in 1897 under the directorship of William Moorcroft.

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Nabeshima Is the name of a Japanese prince who founded the kilns towards the end of the 17th Century, and is a Japanese porcelain made that was made at Okawachi just north of Arita. It was made as presentation ware for the local upper class nobility.

Nails Machine made and mass produced nails were made from the beginning of the 19th Century.

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oak Timber that is heavy, pale and hard. It darkens to a darker rich brown as it ages and is polished. It was used as the main furniture making wood during the medieval period and up until circa 1660. This period can sometimes be referred to as the ‘Age of oak.’ Tending to be heavy.

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pate-sur-pate – Literally translated as ‘paste on paste’ – the process of building up layers of porcelain slip to give a translucent, three-dimensional effect in low relief. The operation involves painting a thin wash of slip onto a coloured but unfired piece of porcelain. Subsequent layers, sometimes in different colours, are added when the earlier layers are dry.

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Qing dynasty The final Chinese dynasty, can be spelt Ch’ing, it replaced the Ming dynasty in 1644, and was not consolidated until the 1680’s during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662 – 1722). It ended in 1912. During this dynasty Famille-verte and Famille rose palettes.

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Race, Ernest (1913 – 1964) An English textile and furniture designer, whose work mixed the traditional with modern and he was internationally acclaimed. He is best known for his comfortable and ingenious chairs, for example the BA Chair made in 1947 was made of cast aluminium.

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Saarinen, Eero (1910 – 1961) Finnish born US architect and designer. He worked with architect Charles Eames and explored the use of plastics in furniture. He produced the first moulded plastic chairs. His tulip chairs and tables used moulded glass fibre.

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tabako-ire A Japanese tobacco pouch which was hung from a kurawa (ashtray) netwuke. A tabako-bon is a tobacco cabinet, which can also be called a tabaki-dansu and it has drawers for tobacco and a container usually metal or china for charcoal. It would also have hooks for hanging a pipe (Kiseru).

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undercut An ornamental carving cut very deeply and enabling the decoration to stand out from the body of the material and in parts stand free of it.

underframing The structure support that is underneath a table top

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Val-Saint-Lambert,Cristalleries du, A Belgium based principal glass factory. It was founded on the site of a monastery near Liege in 1825. Originally it produced English style glassware and later it manufactured its own Art Nouveau and Art Deco style designs.

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Wackerle Josef (1880 – 1959) A German porcelain modeller who broke away from the convention of imitating 18th Century figures and he produced statuettes of sporting girls and figures in contemporary dress. He was the artistic director of the Nymphenburg porcelain factory.

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X-chair A Medieval style chair with X-shaped framework. Variations on this theme were adopted in the 15th Century Italy for folding wooden chairs, in 18th Century Britain by Sheraton and for strip metal chairs in the mid 19th Century. Can sometimes be called a savonarola.

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yataghan A sword that has a blade with a double curve and large curled grips on the hilt.

yew A softwood, the timber of this British native species is very strong. The wood is golden brown in tone and close grained, it polishes to a fine tone, the wood is usually beautifully figured, and the trunks tend to twist. It is a popular choice for the framework of country made furniture.

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Zebrawood A decorative reddish brown wood barred with dark stripes, also known as tigerwood. It is hard and heavy it is Brazilian timber and can be seen more commonly in banding and inlaid decoration. It was sometimes used as veneer for complete surfaces of bureaux desks and tables in the late18th Century and throughout the 19th Century.

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