d 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 process in 1839. To be eventually superseded by the calotype, it produced a positive image, formed of tiny
globules of mercury on a silver coated copper plate.
daisho A matching pair of Japanese samurai swords or sword and dagger
damascening Process of setting fine pieces of contrasting metals into a metal body, such as the blade of a sword or a casket for decoration. Originally developed in the Near East, and then adopted in Europe in the 17th Century. Gold, Silver and copper wires were inserted into fine grooves cut into an iron, brass or bronze body and then hammered into the surface.
damask A fabric that is reversible and used for curtains, table linen and upholstery. It was originally woven in silk and then later in linen, wool and man made fibres. Its typically distinctive appearance is due to the upper and lower surfaces of the same weave forming the pattern and tonal variation. If it has silver, gold or metallic threads running through it, it is known as damassin.
Usually it is red or plum in colour and was imported from Italy until the end of the 17th Century, when it started to be produced in Britain, although red and blue were popular choices for window curtains and upholstery throughout the Georgian period.
From the 17th Century Germany and Ireland became important centres for linen damask for luxury tablecloths and table cloths taking over from the Dutch who pioneered it in the 15th Century.
Daum A glass factory run by Auguste Daum (1853 – 1909) and Antonin Daum (1864 – 1930) two brothers in 1857 in Nancy, France, famous for its Art Nouveau and Art Deco vases and mushroom shaped lamps.
davenport A small desk normally with a sloping writing surface and four drawers set sideways into the case beneath. Captain Davenport had a desk made for him likely to be used for at sea in the late 18th Century, and this is the first record of this design of desk. There are many different variations of the basic style.
Davenport Founded by John Davenport, at Longport Staffordshire, in 1794, a porcelain and earthenware factory. Bone China was introduced in C1800, and the tea services often imitated by Derby in decoration. The ornamental articles are more individual to Davenport and they feature monochrome and multicoloured landscapes and skilfully painted flowers and fruits. Production declined from the 1870’s and finally the factory closed in 1887.
day bed A term that came from the 16th Century for an upholstered sofa with a sloped backrest at one or both of the ends and used for reclining during the day.
de Lamerie, Paul (1688-1751) Dutch silversmith who became the leading London silversmith of his time, and who, in 1716, was appointed goldsmith to King George I. De Lamerie’s early work from 1713 includes domestic silverware in queen anne and huguenot styles. In the 1730s, he launched a more flamboyant Rococo style, especially in large cast and embossed pieces. In the 1740s he returned to more restrained decoration. His work includes flatware, wrought silver items and wine cisterns.
de Morgan, William (1839-1917) Leading British ceramics designer whose work was inspired by William morris, with whom he set up a pottery at Merton Abbey, London. De Morgan’s most characteristic work includes his early tiles and pottery with lustre decoration and ceramics influenced by hispano-moresque colours and designs. He also ran a studio pottery in Fulham, London, from 1888 to 1907.
De Stijl Radical early 20thC Dutch design group of artists and architects, founded by architect Theo van Doesburg, 1917. The group had a lasting influence on 20thC design, partly through its connection with the German bauhaus school, where van Doesburg lectured, and also through the success of abstract painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). Mondrian’s paintings, using blocks of primary colour and straight lines, epitomised the group’s aim of producing revolutionary art. The angular, sculptural, painted-wood ‘Red Blue’ chair of architect-designer Gerrit rietveld, who joined De Stijl in 1918, sums up the group’s challenge of the accepted early 20thC design principles of simplicity, fitness for purpose and logical construction.
deaccession The sale of an item or items that were originally donated to an institution such as a museum or gallery in order to raise funds.
deal Pine and other soft coniferous woods used for the carcass of furniture or for cheap country furniture. The name is from the Dutch deel (part of), as the wood for a carcass is sawn into sections.
decanter Glass bottle with matching stopper used for serving wine at the table, and for spirits.
Deck, Joseph-Théodore (1823-91) French ceramics artist noted for his brightly coloured earthenware and naturalistic motifs inspired by Japanese, Chinese, Turkish and Egyptian art. In 1861 he introduced his bleu de Deck – a turquoise glaze. During the 1870s Deck produced JAPONAISERIE’ style plates and vases, and in the 1880s worked in porcelain using flambÉ glazes. In 1887 Deck became administrator at sevres.
(1880-1971) French glass artist who produced art nouveau and art deco decorative wares and was a leading exponent of translucent pÂte DE VERRE glaSS.
dejeuner See cabaret.
Delft The centre for tin-glazed earthenware in Holland from the mid- 16th to mid-18th centuries, which profoundly influenced the course of European ceramics. Delft potters and decorators finally established the move away from Italian maiolica styles and colours towards the blue and white colour schemes and decorative techniques of chinese export porcelain. Factories elsewhere in Europe followed suit. By the mid-17thC, Delft was making vases, plaques, tiles for wall panels, house and shop signs, and table services. The addition of a lead glaze, known as kwaart, enhanced the brilliance of the colours and gave a glossier finish closer to that of Chinese porcelain than achieved on English delftware. In the 17thC enamel colours brought IMARI-style decoration and the FAMILLE-verte palette. Delft noir used polychrome colours on a black ground. Delft doré, a Japanese-style decoration in red, blue and gold, was introduced in the 1720s Gradually, an individual Dutch style emerged, incorporating landscapes based on the paintings of contemporary Dutch artists, and Oriental designs were adapted to vases and ornamental ware in typically European shapes. The rise of meissen and sÈvres, and the emergence of English creamware, contributed to Delft’s decline by the end of the 18thC. The industry was revived in 1876, producing blue and white wares, lustreware and a product known as ‘New Delftware’
delftware The name given to British TIN-GLAZED EARTHENWARE. Following the Dutch lead, British maiolica in the Italian style was introduced in the mid to late 16thC, principally at Southwark and Lambeth in London. But it was the emulation of the delft approach to Oriental styles, with Dutch-style landscapes, and from 1690, the use of a second, lead or kwaart glaze, that characterised delftware. Barrel mugs, jugs, wine bottles, chargers and bowls were typical products. The body of English delftware was softer, the finish less glossy, and the products less refined than their Dutch counterparts. Most delftware was decorated in blue and white, although high-temperature colours broadened the palette in the early 18thC, especially at the bristol potteries. liverpool and Dublin were also major producers, with a substantial output of transfer-printed tiles from 1750. Delftware production declined with the development of the more refined creamware towards the end of the 18thC
della Robbia The original della Robbia family were 15thC Florentine potters and sculptors, producing maiolica ware. Their work, notably that of Luca della Robbia, inspired artist-potter Harold Rathbone to found the Delia Robbia Company of Birkenhead in 1894 which produced tiles, plaques, bottles and vases in arts and crafts style using sgraffito techniques under a coloured transparent lead glaze.
Dent, Edward (1790-1853) Clock-maker noted for his pocket watches, marine chronometers and the construction of the ‘Big Ben’ clock in London (which was completed by his stepson, Frederick). Dent was in partnership with John arnold 1830-40 and then worked on his own.
Dentil See decorative motifs.
Derby A city renowned for its porcelain. Derby’s first factory making soft-paste porcelain was founded c. 1750, and concentrated mainly on figures, vases and cabinet-ware. Derby figures can be identified by three unglazed patches on the base, and earlier glazed figures often have a dry edge. Early examples were some of the finest ever modelled in Britain. In the 1770s Derby pioneered the use of unglazed biscuit models in Britain. William Duesbury, initially an outside decorator for the factory, took over as director in 1756, producing articles quite openly in imitation of meissen porcelain. Characteristic Derby ware of the period includes ink sets, potpourri vases and salts decorated with landscape scenes set with tiny figures. Duesbury acquired the chelsea porcelain factory in 1770 – the products were known as Chelsea-Derby until the factory’s closure in 1784 – and Bow in 1775. The product range broadened dramatically, and a stronger china body incorporating bone ash was introduced. sÈvres took over from Meissen as the main source of inspiration, with neoclassical decoration and rich ground colours of claret and turquoise. In the 1770s, too, the ‘Japan’ patterns inspired by imari porcelain, which became strongly identified with Derby for the next two centuries, were introduced. Most memorable of all is the work by artists such as Thomas Steele, Zachariah Boreman, William ‘Quaker’ pegg and William Billingsley, whose work included exquisitely painted flowers, fruit and Derbyshire landscapesbone china replaced soft-paste porcelain in the early 19thC, but from 1811 the emphasis shifted to inexpensive products, and quality declined. The factory closed in 1848. Crown Derby Porcelain Co. was set up in 1876 and produced decorated and gilded bone china
derringer Small pocket percussion-lock pistol invented by US gunsmith Henry Deringer (1786-1868).
Design registration System introduced 1842 enabling British craftsmen and designers to take out patents on their original designs. Registered designs are marked with a symbol or number – a diamond-shaped mark was used 1842-83 and thereafter the letters RD followed by up to six digits were used. The marks are not a guide to the date of manufacture as they relate only to the design, which might continue for many years
dessert service A set of crockery, usually porcelain, for eating and serving desserts, comprising fruit comport(s), sweet sauce and sugar tureens, and dessert plates. The fashion for having a special service separate from the dinner service began in the second half of the 18thC -sometimes to the point of setting a separate table for dessert – but had died out by the end of the 19thC.
detent See escapement.
deutsche Blumen Literally translated as ‘German flowers’ -referring to painted floral decoration which was widely used at porcelain and faience factories throughout Europe. The style was introduced at vienna in the 1720s but perfected at meissen c. 1740 and later used at worcester, Bow and chelsea. The lifelike flowers, based on contemporary botanical illustrations appear as single blooms or in loose bunches, and replaced the more stylised indianische blumen. A version that incorporated a shadowing effect is known as ombrierte Blumen (shadowed flowers).
Deutscher Werkbund Group of German businessmen, artists, craftsmen and industrialists who, 1907-34, were influential in setting high standards in industrial design.
dhurri A flat-weave floor covering made in India, typically from pastel-coloured cotton. It is the Indian equivalent of the Persian (Iranian) and Turkish kilim, although these are usually made of wool. The majority of dhurries were made in Indian jails, and began to be exported cheaply and in quantity to the West from the 19thC. However, pre-20thC examples are now quite rare and valuable. See indian jail carpets
diagonal barometer See angle BAROMETER.
dial The ‘face’ of a clock or watch on which the time, calendar or astronomical information is registered. The term can refer to the whole face or to the individual discs or rings, such as the calendar dial, on which the periods of time are inscribed. Dials first appeared c. 1350. Previously, hours were recorded by a single strike of a bell. A dial plate is the metal plate in a clock or watch which is attached to the front plate of the movement, and to which the metal chapter ring or enamel dial is fixed.
diamond Considered the most valuable precious stone. Diamond is the hardest known naturally occurring substance, and refracts (bends) light and disperses colour very strongly. These qualities give the stones great brilliance and fire especially since the 17thC when diamond cutting was developed and improved. The value of a diamond depends on size, colour and the number of flaws. Completely colourless stones are rare; most diamonds are slightly tinged with yellow or brown. Rare red, blue and green shades are known as fancy diamonds or fancies. A diamond’s colour and clarity can be altered by HEAT TREATMENT.
diamond-point See engraving.
diaper See decorative motifs.
diatreta vase See cage cup.
die Any of various devices used for cutting out, forming or stamping a material. In coins, for example, the designs on each of the two sides of the blank are struck simultaneously by a pair of dies or punches, either by hand or machine; usually the more complicated obverse die, or pile, is fixed on a solid base, while the reverse die, or trussel, moves up and down.
dimity White cotton, simple tabby-weave fabric sometimes patterned, used for bed and window curtains from the late 17th to early 19th centuries and as a dress material in the early 19thC. It was imported from India before production started in Lancashire in the 18thC.
ding ware With yingqing, the earliest Chinese porcelain wares, dating from the song dynasty (960-1279). Dishes are the most common, but some bottles, ewers and vases have been excavated from burial grounds. Many forgeries have been produced in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
diplomatic sword See dress sword.
Directoire style French decorative furniture style which peaked during the Directoire government (1795-9). The style was a simplified and austere version of the Louis XVI style. Minimal decoration was used, and Republican symbols – such as the cap of liberty and the fasces (a bundle of rods bound around an axe) – appear frequently on furniture, faience and textiles. The Directoire style merged into the empire period.
dirk 1 A long single-edged knife, traditionally used by Scottish Highlanders and still worn by officers of Scottish regiments of the British army. 2 A short dagger with either a straight or curved blade, carried by naval officers in the late 18th and early 18th centuries.
dish ring Hollow, waisted cylindrical ring of pierced, chased or fretwork silver used to support hot dishes and to protect the surface of tables and sideboards. Dish rings were made from the early 18thC and are erroneously known as potato rings.
dispensary Medicine cupboard about 9-13in (23-33 cm) high with shelves and racks on the inside of the doors.
distressed Trade term for a work of art, normally a piece of furniture in obvious need of repair. The term is also used to describe a wood surface which has become rough and uneven through age, or which has been made to appear older than it is.
divan A long couch or sofa without back or arms and often set against a wall. The word ‘divan’ is Turkish, and both the divan and the ottoman seat (from which the divan developed) are based on Turkish state furniture.
Dixon, James, & Sons Sheffield firm of silversmiths, established in 1806, which became the leading maker and exporter of britannia metal and electroplated wares to the USA in the mid-19thC.
dog of Fo Stylised Chinese Buddhist lion (Fo means Buddha), in Chinese mythology one of a facing pair of temple guardians. They are found as modelled figures in painted decoration on porcelain. The Japanese version is called shi’shi.
doily 18thC term for a fringed napkin, named after a London linen mercer by the name of Doily. From the 19thC the term was applied to the circles of decorative cotton or linen placed on serving plates beneath cakes and sandwiches.
doll marks Marks found on some dolls identifying maker’s name, batch or style number, size or diameter of head, trademark and sometimes the number of components used to make the doll. Such marks are normally only found on dolls made by the most famous and established manufacturers. Where the marks appear on the body varies according to maker and type of doll. Marks on bisque dolls, for example, are usually found on the back of the head. In addition, official registration or patent marks may appear, as follows Déposé or Deponiert – patent application registered, France and Germany, late 19thC; Breveté or Bté – French for patented; SGDG (sans garantie du Gouvernement) – without government guarantee, from 1850; DRGM (Deutsches Reichsgebrauchsmuster) – German, patent registered, from 1909; Ges Gesch (Gesetzlich Geschutzt) – German, patent registered, from the end of the 19thC; PAT and PATd – patented, Britain and USA, from the end of the 19thC.
dome Blown glass cylinder, one end of which is domed, while the base is trimmed straight to allow it to stand upright. Domes were used in Victorian times to protect collections of stuffed birds or animals, arrangements of wax fruit and other displays, and as protective covers for automata and SKELETON CLOCKS.
door furniture Collective term for all door fittings, including door-knockers, handles and knobs, door-stops, hinges, letterboxes, finger plates and decorative emblems or escutcheons. Door furniture tended to be purely functional until the late 18thC when, in accordance with the rise of the interior design concept, ornate Rococo and neoclassical examples earned their place as ornamental accessories. See hinge
doorstop See dump.
double-cloth carpets See ingrain CARPETS.
doubloon Loosely applied nickname for Spanish or Spanish-American 16th-19thC gold coins, in particular the dobla escudo.
doucai A Chinese palette outlined in underglaze blue, the design then glazed and enamelled by filling parts or all of the pattern with translucent famille-verte colours; formerly spelt tou-ts’ai. See wucai and sancai.
Doulton Ceramics factory founded by John Doulton (1793-1873) in Lambeth, south London, 1818. The factory’s success in the first half of the 19thC was based on its stoneware chemical and sanitary products. In the 1860s, a close association with students from the Lambeth School of Art led to the development of Doulton studio art wares. Artists included Arthur, Hannah and Florence Barlow, John Broad, Mark Marshall, Frank Butler and George Tinworth. In 1872 Doulton launched Lambeth faience (underglaze-painted earthenware). Later came silicon ware (a vitrified, unglazed stoneware), and marquetry ware, made of marbled clays in chequerwork patterns. In 1882 Doulton launched a high-quality porcelain range at its Burslem factory and from 1900 was known for its tile panels and porcelain figures, particularly its art deco examples.
Dovecot Studios See edinburgh tapestry company.
dovetail See joining.
dram glass Short-stemmed, small-bowled glass with a heavy foot, used for drinking spirits. Types of dram glasses known as firing glasses were made in Britain from 1740 until the 19thC. They were used for toasts and hammered on a table to make a noise like gunfire.
draw-leaf table Extendible table with the top divided into three leaves, known from the 16thC. The two outer leaves slide beneath the central one when the table is shortened.
drawn stem A drinking-glass stem that is drawn out as an extension of the bowl when the molten glass is being blown, as opposed to one that is shaped separately and then attached.
drawn thread work A type of embroidered fabric in which some of the threads are drawn out to form geometrical or other patterns in relief. It was introduced in the 15thC or possibly earlier.
Dresden MEISSEN-style ceramics produced by various factories in the Dresden area of south-eastern Germany in the 19thC. Until the 1970s the term ‘Dresden’ referred to the Meissen factory itself. Crown Dresden is porcelain produced by outside decorator Helena Wolfsohn, in Dresden in the 1870s. Wolfsohn originally used the Meissen royal factory mark on her products, in particular the AR (Augustus Rex) mark. Following a lawsuit brought by Meissen, she adopted a crown with ‘D’ scripted beneath. Her work was typically decorated with pastoral scenes (which were inspired by the French artist Antoine Watteau) interspersed with panels of flowers.
Dresden work East, including India and China, from the 15thC onwards. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to start the long-distance trade, soon followed by the British, French and Dutch, and then the USA. The British company, set up in 1601 to trade for spices, flourished for more than 200 years importing and exporting furniture, carpets, silk, embroidery and porcelain.
dress sword A sword worn as part of a uniform or regalia and not for use as a weapon, also known as a court or diplomatic sword.
dresser A long table, sometimes in the style of a sideboard with cupboard, drawers or open storage space below, and/or open shelves tiered or stepped above. From medieval times, a dresser, or dressing board, was where food was garnished or ‘dressed’ before it was served. Welsh dresser is a term dating from the late 19thC, used to describe a freestanding dresser with cupboard and drawers, and shelves above. Welsh dressers were made from the late 17thC in Wales, Lancashire and elsewhere.
Dresser, Christopher (1834-1904) British decorative-arts writer and designer whose distinctive style anticipated the concept of the modern movement. Dresser advocated the importance of design linked with function. He began his career as a botanist, but turned to the study of the arts and published Principles of Design; he was art director of the linthorpe pottery 1879-81. Dresser’s designs, often influenced by Japanese style, were applied to carpets, glassware, furniture, pottery and textiles. He designed simple, geometric silverware for elkington, James dixon and Hukin and Heath.
dressing table A term introduced in the 17thC for a small table with drawers designed to be used for grooming and dressing. In the 18thC, designs incorporated compartments and drawers for a wide range of toilet accessories, and mirrors became standard for the first time.
drop seat Detached padded seat designed to fit into a rebate on a chair frame, introduced in the late 17th to early 18th centuries.
drop-front See fall-front.
drop-leaf table A development of the gateleg table, with one or two leaves which open out, supported on hinged legs, arms or brackets, to extend the surface area.
drum clock 1 Early table clock with a drum-shaped case often of gilt brass and especially popular in the 16thC. 2 Late 18th or 19thC French clock movement fitted into a brass, drum-shaped case.
drum table Large circular table made from the late 18thC through the 19thC, with drawers set into a deep frieze, and supported on a central pedestal or tripod. A variant used for dining, and with a shallower, expandable top is the capstan table; other variants are referred to as library or writing tables according to their purpose. Rent tables, with four drawers for each quarter year or seven weekday drawers and a till set into the table top, were used for rent collection until the early 19thC.
drum teapot Silver, flat-bottomed, cylindrical teapot with a straight spout, flat lid and single handle of wood, popular 17608-90s.
dry-edge figures SLIP-cast porcelain figures made at derby, 1750-5. They are so called because they have an unglazed, dry edge around the base.
drypoint A printmaking technique in which a drypoint needle is used to score the design directly into the metal plate. Unlike the true engraving process, the metal is not actually dug out and removed, but is thrown to the sides of the grooves, creating slight ridges known as burrs. These hold some ink which transfers to the final print giving it distinctive smudgy lines.
ducat Any of various former European gold coins which used the ducat standard set in the 13thC. A gold ducat consistently weighs 3.5 g of. 986 fine gold.
duchesse A French term for a day bed with a curved back. A duchesse brisée is a version made in two or three parts – including a foot end with a low, curved back and sometimes a stool in the middle to extend the length.
duelling pistols flintlock or percussion pistols dating from the 18thC, usually in pairs.
Duesbury, William See derby.
Dufrene, Maurice (1876-1955) French designer of furniture, metalwork, carpets and glass in art deco and modernist styles who specialised in lavish, custom-built pieces and interiors.
dumbwaiter A mobile stand with two or more tiers of circular trays around a central column on a tripod base with castors. Dumbwaiters were designed to be placed near a dining table for self-service, and introduced in Britain in the 1720s.
dummy board Cut-out image of a human figure, such as a pedlar, maid or footman, or animal such as a cat, in painted wood. They were possibly used as fire screens in late 17thC Britain, but by the mid- 18thC were purely ornamental. Reproductions were made in the mid-19thC and in the 1920s and 30s.
dump 1 Heavy glass doorstop, also known as a door porter, made of scrap molten glass which would otherwise have been dumped. Bottle factories often made doorstops as a sideline. 2 See holey dollar.
duplex See escapement.
Dux See royal Dux.
Dwight, John (c.1637-1703) Pioneering London potter who produced the first identified British stoneware in the 1670s. By the beginning of the 18thC, he had developed a greyish (or mouse-coloured) SALT-GLAZED STONEWARE and introduced the first fine red stoneware to Britain. Dwight’s influence spread quickly to Staffordshire with the elers brothers who had worked with him.