Glossary of Terms – N


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 hand made nails started to be used from Roman times and were used for fixing locks and hinges before screws.

Nailsea Glasshouse 1788-1873 Bristol glassworks producing sheet and crown glass, household ware and bottles. All household wares were made in pale green and didn’t have any decoration. The flecked and festooned glass, jugs, rolling

pins, carafes and flasks, which is called Nailsea was made elsewhere.

Nancy School Late 19th Century French Art Nouveau design group with the idea of combining nature and art. It was founded by Emile Galle a French designer. Victor Prouve (1858-1943) the sculptor and designer was a member at the school, as well as

glass artists Auguste and Antonin Daum, and metal and cabinet maker Louis Majorelle.

Naking ware White and blue Chinese export porcelain made at Jingdezhen. The wares were shipped to Europe through the city of Nanking (Naijing) during the 18th and Early 19th Century. Often decorated with Chinese buildings and Landscape scenes, and occasionally with European influenced borders.

Nash, John (1752-1835) Architect whose building style epitomised Regency taste.

nashiji Japanese lacquer technique developed in the early 19thC. Flecks of gold, silver, copper or metal alloys were evenly sprinkled between layers of clear or coloured lacquer, creating a speckled appearance similar to that of aventurine glass. (Nashiji is Japanese for ‘pear-skin ground’.)

Naturalistic style Term generally used to describe a British furniture style fashionable c. 1840-65. It was characterised by flowing curves and leaves and flowers elaborately carved in deep relief- as well as luxurious, informal, deep-cushioned chairs.

nautilus cup Drinking cup made from the snail-like nautilus seashell, with silver or silver-gilt mounts. The cups were made in the 16th and 17th centuries, primarily in Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, although some British examples do survive. They were intended for display rather than use. The mounts are usually decorated with figures and shapes associated with the sea, such as mermaids.

Navajo rugs Rugs woven by the Navajo Indians in the south-west USA from the late 19thC. Early abstract designs were replaced by pictorial rugs in the early 20thC, but the 1930s saw a revival of traditional designs and the use of vegetable dyes.

necessaire Small case made of wood covered in leather or shagreen, or sometimes silver or enamel, designed to carry travel necessities, such as toiletries or sewing equipment. Necessaires were particularly popular in the 18thC and were also made in the 19thC.

necessary stool See close stool.

needle painting Silk and satin embroidered pictures painted with watercolour in parts and produced in quantity during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

needlepoint See lace.

nef Medieval table ornament in the shape of a fully rigged ship, usually made of silver set with precious stones or enamelled. It was used to hold a nobleman’s or guest of honour’s wine, eating utensils, or as a ceremonial salt container. The nef was much copied in silver during the 19thC.

Nelme, Anthony (d.1722) London silversmith who made articles such as candlesticks, teapots and pilgrim bottles, marked ‘AN’ or ‘Ne’. His son Francis carried on the business.

Neoclassical style Style based on the decorative forms of ancient Greece and Rome which dominated design in architecture, furniture and ornamentation in late 18thC Europe. The architect Inigo Jones used Classical themes in the early 17thC, inspired by the work of Italian renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (see palladian). In the mid- 18thC the true Neoclassical period emerged in France – following the excavation of Pompeii – and proceeded to spread throughout Europe. In Britain architect-designer Robert Adam was the main proponent.

netsuke Ornamental Japanese toggle worn at the waist above the obi or sash. A cord passed through holes in the base from which was hung an inro or a pouch. Netsuke were made from the 17thC in a wide variety of materials, but became redundant when the Japanese adopted Western dress in the 1870s. Most take the form of figures, animals or plants but there are some variations: Manju (rice cake) resembles a bun – either solid or pierced. Ichiraku is made from woven or braided metal, rattan palm or bamboo, forming a basketwork box or gourd. Kagamibuta is a shallow bowl with a decorated metal lid. Sashi netsuke are rod-shaped, up to 5 in (12.5 cm) long, typically depicting an insect or animal perched on a twig or branch.

netted glassware See reticulated.

Nevers A leading French centre for making faience from the 16thC. The first pottery was founded by three Italian brothers and produced wares in the Italian maiolica tradition. French styles with Chinese decoration date from the 17thC, with predominant colours of flat yellow, white, red and blue. In the late 17thC the potteries were famous for bleu persan ware, with Persian-inspired designs in light colours on a dark blue background. By the 18thC Nevers wares had been overtaken in popularity by those of rouen and moustiers. In the late 18thC, before a number of potteries closed, they were the main suppliers of faience patriotique – wares decorated with inscriptions and symbols of the French Revolution.

New Sculpture movement British movement c.1880-1910, concerned with naturalistic modelling, often in bronze, using the accurate lost-wax casting process.

Newcastle glassware Tyneside has been a major centre of glass-making since the 17thC, when a number of French and Italian craftsmen settled there, many of them skilled enamellers and engravers. Local manufacturers made large quantities of window glass, tablewares and ornaments, sometimes sending the products to Holland for decorating. During the 19thC Newcastle also produced pressed glass.

nickel silver white alloy of nickel, copper and zinc commonly used as the base metal for electroplating. The result is called electroplated nickel silver (epns). Being a similar colour to silver, worn areas are less obvious than when copper is the base metal. Nickel silver was also marketed as German silver and argentan.

niello Decorative technique on metal, often silver; an engraved design is filled with a black compound of sulphur and powdered copper, silver or lead and is fixed by heating.

nien hao See reign marks.

night clock A clock with pierced hour numerals and minute divisions which are illuminated when an oil lamp is placed behind the dial. Night clocks originated c. 1670, and are most common in Italy. A few were made in Britain before 1700. The clocks tended to catch fire and became obsolete after repeater mechanisms were invented in the late 17thC. See also projection clock.

night commode See close stool

noble The standard gold coin of medieval England, showing the king in a ship. Its face value was originally 6s 8d (33.33p)-one-third of £1 The noble was struck in large quantities from 1350. In 1464 it was redesigned as a rose noble, or ryal and revalued at 10s (50p). The coin remained in circulation throughout the 15th and early 16th centuries.

nocturnal A 16th and 17thC circular navigating instrument for use at night. The number of hours before or after midnight was measured by the difference between two pointers – one set to the date and hour on the instrument scale, the other directed at the pole star. Nocturnals are found in wood or brass; metal ones often have ‘teeth’ on the scale so the hours could be counted in the dark.

Noke, Charles (1858-1941) British ceramic artist and modeller at doulton and art director 1914-36. In the late 19thC he introduced two types of earthenware – Holbein ware, decorated with portraits, and Rembrandt ware, decorated with coloured slip.

Northwood, John (1836-1902) English glass-maker who specialised in cameo glass. From the age of 12 he worked for a number of glass-making firms in and around stourbridge, Worcestershire, eventually founding his own company. He won a £1000 prize for his copy of the portland vase, a 1stC Roman urn in cameo glass.

Nottingham lace lace with a machine-made net ground and embroidered white decoration, often in two thicknesses of thread, made from the mid- 19thC.

nulling See knurling.

Nuremberg Bavarian city that was a centre for German 16th- 18thC metal, ceramic and glass industries. The metal industry was noted for clocks, watches and scientific instruments, particularly weights, and for pewter with moulded bas-relief decoration. The city gave its name to the Nuremberg egg, a 16thC watch with a spring-driven movement which hung from a cord at the belt. Ceramic production in the 16thC centred mainly on Hafnerware stoves and tiles, and in the 18thC a wide range of tin-glazed earthenware. Glasswork included 17thC humpen-brightly coloured enamelled drinking vessels – and Schäpergläser, glasses decorated in black enamel which were named after their original designer, Johann Schaper (1621-70).

nursing chair Mid- 19thC term for a single chair used for breast-feeding infants, with a seat only 13-15 in (33-38 cm) above the ground.

Nymphenburg Porcelain factory founded outside Munich in 1747, which moved to Nymphenburg, Bavaria in 1761. Hard-paste porcelain was made from the beginning, but from 1757 its quality improved and it was used to make Rococo figures, including those modelled by Franz bustelli. The Nymphenburg factory also produced veilleuses and tableware and specialised in the production of cane handles and small boxes. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Nymphenburg mainly produced busts, reliefs and Classical figures, and tableware in sèvres Empire style. Early 20thC products include art nouveau tableware and figures.