Glossary of Antique Terms
Acanthus leaf A long, narrow
feathery leaf derived from a plant indigenous to the Mediterranean,
found in ancient Greek & Roman, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical
art and architecture.
An ancient Greek motif based on the honeysuckle flower.
A horizontal section under the top of a table, on the bottom edge of
the façade of a case piece, or on the bottom edge of the front seat rail
of a chair. Sometimes shaped. Also known as a skirt.
A vase-shaped support. A row of balusters surmounted by a handrail
is called a balustrade.
An eggshell-thin porcelain with an iridescent clear glaze.
Another term for overlay glass.
A small projecting ornament that is oval
or round in form.
A silver-white alloy composed of copper, antimony, and tin.
An S-shaped leg, typically terminating in a pad, slipper, paw, scroll or
An ornamental device consisting of a
tablet, sometimes bearing a coat of arms, surrounded by an elaborate
A column-like support in the form of a
classical female figure.
A type of layered glass in which the outer layer is blown first and then
another layer is blown inside.
A small wheel attached to the bottom of
the leg of a chair, table or case piece to facilitate movement.
Typically made of wood, brass or porcelain.
A table made to stand in the middle of a room.
Decoration in low relief, achieved by
hammering the silver or silverplate from the outside. In the process of
hammering, the metal bulges forth slightly.
Silver that is 900 to 1000 parts (90%) silver.
A table with only two or three legs that must be secured to a wall for
A horizontal molding crowning a case piece.
Repeating pattern of diamonds.
A term describing wood that has been stained in imitation of ebony.
Decoration in high relief, achieved by hammering the silver from the
inside. In the process of hammering, the metal is pushed out to form the
ornamental motifs. Also known as repoussé.
Colored glaze used to decorate ceramics. Also applies to a colored
glass paste used to decorate metal or glass.
Decoration of thin lines cut
into the surface of silver.
Initials standing for “Electro-Plated Nickel Silver.”
Escutcheon Frame around a
keyhole in a drawer or cupboard door.
Étagère A set of shelves used
for the display of decorative objects. Sometimes made to stand in a
corner of a room. Usually the shelves graduate in size.
Fainting couch A Victorian day
bed or chaise lounge.
Festoon A garland of fruits,
flowers or leaves suspended from two points.
Flashed glass A type of layered
glass in which a thin outer layer is blown over the exterior.
Flat chasing Low-relief (slightly
raised) decoration on silver.
Flint -enamel ware Pottery
covered with a streaky glaze in colors of blue, green, and brown.
Fluting Parallel, vertical,
concave channels derived from a classical column.
Gadrooning A continuous band of
parallel narrow, bulging, ovoid forms.
Gentleman’s chair A large
armchair made for the gentleman in the Victorian household.
Gilding Gold decoration on
furniture, ceramics, glass or metal.
Girandoles A set of matched
candle fixtures made to stand on a mantelpiece, usually consisting
of two candlesticks and a candelabrum. Typically made of gilt bronze
or brass and hung with cut-glass prisms.
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