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                                Glossary of Antique terms  A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

                                Damascening - (Metal, Decoration) Metal decorated by inlays of gold and/or silver wire, the design being undercut into the surface to be decorated and the precious metals hammered into the grooves. This form of decoration is of great antiquity and is often found on weapons.

                                Dance Card  - (Paper) They served two purposes, to be used at the dance to list in order the dances of the evening and to be kept as a memento of the Ball. Dance cards or "Ballspenden" which literally translates as "ball-donates" have been a part of Viennese culture for nearly two hundred years. Today, especially in Vienna, Ballspenden has come to represent the party favor or dance card that a lady used to record who she would dance with at a ball.

                                Dance Card Case - (Collectibles) The dance card, no matter when it was made, generally consisted of a decorative case which opened to reveal a "book" that listed the various dance titles and composers with a blank line which would be filled in with the name of the person with which the lady intended to dance. Listed in the card could be from 10 and up to 20 or more dance titles. Attached somewhere to the case was a pencil with which to write a name. A decorative cord was attached to the case so that the entirety could be attached to the lady's ball gown. Generally, the "case" that holds the card, especially with European dance cards, reflects the sponsor of the ball with some object depicted in miniature.
                                Dance Card Case

                                Daniel, H & R Pottery - (Ceramics, Potters, England) Family of Staffordshire potters, the most notable being Henry Daniel (1765-1841) who founded the firm of H. & R. Daniel in the early nineteenth century and made stone china and creamware and some porcelain.

                                Daoguang – (Chinese) Emperor Daoguang was emperor of China during the Qing Dynasty from 1821-1851.

                                Darly, Mathias - (Furniture Designer) A man of many talents and trades including those of designer and engraver. His publications include A New Book of Chinese, Gothic and Modern Chairs (1751), A New Book of Chinese Designs (1754) and The Compleat Architect (1770). He engraved most of the plates for the first edition of Chippendale's Director.

                                Davenport - (Furniture) A small writing desk, intended for the use of ladies, comprising a chest of drawers with a sloping top. Date from about 1800; the earliest examples are high and square and sometimes have brass galleries. The desk portion can extend on a train. Often the drawers pull out at the side and the other side will be fitted with dummy knobs.

                                Davenport - (Ceramics) The ceramics factory founded at Longport by John Davenport in 1793; pottery only made at first, but good quality porcelain, and 'stone china' for a larger market, produced from the early years of the nineteenth century. The printed name 'Davenport', often with an anchor, is the usual mark; the crown appears after 1830 (the firm made lavish services for royalty). The factory closed in 1882.

                                Day-bed - (Furniture) Dates from Jacobean times; was popular during reign of William and Mary when it usually had caned seat and back. The back rest often adjustable.

                                Deal - (Wood) Term given to two varieties of the Scots pine, yellow and red deal, used for the carcass of veneered furniture; the yellow was in use until the middle of the eighteenth century, the red after that. Deal is also a piece (or a number of pieces) of sawn pine or fir wood measuring more than 7 in. wide and not more than 3 in. thick.

                                Dean, Walter Lofthouse - (Artist American 1854-1912) Walter Lofthouse Dean was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1854. An experienced sailor, he cruised and painted extensively along the New England coast, particularly along Cape Ann, Massachusetts. He was know primarily as a marine painter and lived in Boston, Massachusetts and East Gloucester, Massachusetts during his lifetime. He studied at MIT and the Académie Julian, Paris, with Lefebvre and Boulanger in 1883. He exhibited in Boston from 1879-1909, the Corcoran Gallery in 1907-08 and he won a medal at the St. Louis Expo in 1904.

                                Decanter - (Glass, Bottle) A Decanter originally called bottles, is a glass vessel with a matching stopper, usually with no handle. Decanters are used for serving wine, sherry, brandy, and other spirits that have been emptied from their original bottle, thus decanted. Decanters were being made in 1677 and the word first came into use in 1701. The ordinary form between 1675 and 1750 has a narrow neck and globular body. Shortly before 1720, a form with sloping shoulders and shorter neck was introduced. Early decanters were rather plain when compared to the 19th century decanters. Most of the finest decanters date from 1790-1820. The type of spirits and the popular fashion determines the shape and size of the bottle. The eight basic shapes are Bell-Shape, Claret Jug, Club Shape, Globular Shape, Shouldered, Ship’s Decanter, Square Shape, and Tapering.

                                Décor - (Style) Dutch for Art Nouveau

                                Delft - (Ceramics, Earthenware, England) Tin-enamelled earthenware made from the mid-sixteenth century, first at Norwich and then at Lambeth and Southwark in London, and then, from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century, at Bristol, Wincanton, Liverpool. Though the first makers were probably Dutch or Flemish, the name delftware was not given to the ware until well into the seventeenth century, by which time Delft in Holland was a famous pottery centre.

                                Delft - (Ceramics, Earthenware,Holland) Tin-enamelled earthenware made at Delft from before 1600 but notably from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. The ware was an attempt to copy Chinese and Japanese porcelains at first and decoration was in the Oriental manner; but later European subjects were used and the baroque and rococo styles are to be observed. Marks divide into two classes, those based on the signs of the breweries in Delft that housed the first great potteries such as De Blompot (the Flower Pot) and De Vergulde Boot (the Golden Boot), and marks which represent the initials of the potter, 'a.x.', 'x.s.', 'M.r.' A clearly marked piece, especially if it has the name 'Delft', is probably modern.

                                Derby - (Ceramics, Porcelain, England) The origins of porcelain-making at Derby are obscure; some authorities suggest the year 1745. By 1756 the enterprise was under the direction of William Duesbury and John Heath. In 1770 the Chelsea factory was purchased; in 1776 (or 1778) Bow was the victim, being closed down. About 1780 Heath went bankrupt and Duesbury continued as sole owner till his death in 1786 whereon his son, another William, took over and ran the factory until his death in 1796. But the latter had thoughtfully taken a partner in 1795, and this partner, Michael Kean, married his widow and continued the business for some years. William Duesbury III was briefly at the helm, for a time with a partner, William Sheffield, but then the concern passed into the hands of Robert Bloor and stayed there until Bloor's mind failed him about 1827. James Thomason took over the management, later jointly with Thomas Clarke, and kept things going till the factory closed down in 1848. The extant Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company was established in 1877.  Early Derby shows the influence of Meissen via Chelsea and then Meissen direct. About 1770 bone-ash was introduced into the paste. Figures were a specialty, at first based on Meissen originals, then on Sevres (the notable biscuit figures) ; many have 'patches' under the base, due to the fact that the figures were placed on pads of clay (three, sometimes four) in the kiln. Painted decoration of a high order was characteristic right up till the end of the eighteenth century. Japan patterns were favored, and revived successfully by the Crown Derby Company. It is usual to speak of a deterioration after the turn of the century. Note that strictly speaking 'crown Derby' are wares produced by the Crown Derby Porcelain Company. Marks are rare on early Derby, but 'n' and 'Derby' have been observed, a 'n' with an anchor running across it (ChelseaDerby?); the crown seems to date from the late 1770's, with various devices beneath it-an anchor, a 'n', a cross with dots, the monogram 'nx' (Duesbury & Kean), a 's' (Bloor). The Meissen mark is often found.

                                Derbyshire Chair - (Furniture) See Yorkshire Chair.

                                Deruta - (Ceramics, Pottery, Italy) Pottery centre on the Tiber in Umbria, Italy, famous for its wares since medieval times. During the first half of the sixteenth century maiolica produced here was of excellent quality. Deruta lustre wares are notable.

                                Desk - (Furniture) The feature of a desk is that it has a sloping front to support a book or writing materials, and until the first half of the seventeenth century the desk (pure and simple, as it were) was the only piece of furniture made specifically for writing. As distinct from the desks in university and cathedral libraries, the domestic desk as a personal possession was a small portable box with sloping lid until the introduction of bureaux in the last quarter of the seventeenth century.

                                Dessert Glass - (Glass) Glasses for dessert were made from the beginning of the eighteenth century. Those with deep bowls were intended for such sweets as ice-cream and custards, whereas those with shallow saucer-like bowls were for such sweetmeats as could be picked up in the fingers. The scalloped rim was popular.

                                Dessert Set - (1) (Flatware)  of desert flatware consists of a knife and fork (normal size teaspoon) the size is slightly smaller then dinner size flatware. The desert fork can be a pastry fork that has 3 tines rather than 4 tines, with one of the tines being wider than the other two. (2) (Ceramics) A desert set consists of pedestal desert stand and matching plates.

                                Diamond Air Trap - (Glass) Decoration consisting of bubbles of air trapped in the glass in a diamond-shaped pattern. This is achieved by blowing a gather of glass into a mold with projections of the desired diamond design. The raised channel in the first layer of colored glass gives a piece its external pattern. A second layer of clear glass is gathered then blown in. This second layer bleeds through to the first, which traps pockets of air into the indentions giving satin glass its complex appearance. This technique was patented by W.H., B. & J. Richardson of England in 1857.

                                Diaper - (Textiles, Decoration) (1) A fabric woven in a small pattern consisting of lines crossing diamond-wise enclosing a space filled with simple ornament. (2) This pattern used as decoration.

                                Dishrowe, Nicholas - (Furniture Maker, United States) (?1612-72) One of the earliest American furniture makers; born in Essex; emigrated in 1630's; worked and died at Hartford, Conn.

                                Dished Corner - (Furniture) Depression near corner of table-top to hold counters (or a candlestick).

                                Dish-top - (Furniture) Table top with raised rim.

                                Divan - (Furniture) Low, cushioned seat of Eastern origin; a backless sofa deriving from Eastern styles and intended to be placed against a wall.

                                Doccia - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Italy) Porcelain factory near Florence, Italy, founded about 1735; made soft-paste porcelain at first but a harder paste was introduced towards the end of the eighteenth century. The wares of other factories were much copied at Doccia, particularly those of Capo-di-Monte. The mark often includes the name 'Ginori', which family were associated with the factory from the beginning.

                                Dole Cupboard - (Furniture) Term applied to a food cupboard as was to be found in churches in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for storing food to be doled out to the poor.

                                Dolls - (Dolls) Wax. First made in England at end of sixteenth century, the base usually of wood or metal; in the early nineteenth century papier mache, and later, composition bases were used. The best wax dolls have a flesh-tinted colour, glass eyes inset, and hair (human) of head, eyelashes and eyebrows inserted hair by hair. China. Few pre-nineteenth-century examples survive. Most nineteenth-century china dolls were made in France and Germany. Two outstanding makers, both French, were Jumeau and Bru. Wooden. Made from very early times; some that have survived look like skittles. Good hand-carving indicates quality. Ball-and-socket joints are a quite recent innovation. General. The first 'walking' doll, the first 'talking' doll, the first with eyes that opened and closed, all made in the 1820's. Weighted eyes introduced in the 1870's. Dolls were formerly called 'babies' but not till the nineteenth century were actual baby dolls made.

                                Dolls' Houses - (Dolls) The earliest English examples that survive date from the first half of the eighteenth century.

                                Dolphin Foot - (Furniture) The head of a dolphin as terminal for legs of furniture was used in the eighteenth century, and the head and body were used for decorative effect in late Georgian and Regency times.

                                Donaldson, John - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Decorator) (born 1737) Edinburgh Porcelain painter, a noted miniaturist whose work on Worcester vases is highly esteemed. He also did some work at Chelsea.

                                Don Pottery - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) A factory at Swinton, Yorkshire, founded about 1790 and continuing, mainly under the direction of the Green family, till the 1890's. Creamware of good quality was made, pierced work in the manner of Leeds, also stoneware and china.

                                Double Open Twist Turning - (Furniture, Decorative Arts) The Double Open Twist Turning is made by pierced carving after turning the member. It forms two separate but intertwined spirals.

                                Doulton Burslem & Doulton Lambeth - (Ceramics, England) In 1878, Sir Henry Doulton purchased Pinder, Bourne and Company of Burslem. Queen Victoria knighted Henry Doulton in 1887 for his innovations in the ceramic art. In 1882, the company became Doulton and Company, Ltd. In 1882, a second factory was built in Burslem, which continues to produce the famous figurines, jugs, and tablewares. It added porcelain production and earthenware production to its offerings in 1884. Also in 1884, Doulton added decorated porcelain to the other production lines. Doulton figures were made at the Burslem plants from 1890 until 1978. Stoneware production ceased at Lambeth in 1956. Although many of the pieces produced in the 19th century bearing these early marks, are priced beyond the reach of the average collector. During the 1870's pieces designed by noted Lambeth School artists such as sculptor George Tinworth (1843-1913) and Hannah Barlow (1851-1916) and her sister Florence, were fired in the Doulton kilns and drew the favorable attention of art critics, the general public and even Queen Victoria who ordered pieces sent to Windsor Castle. Having attracted the attention of the royal family, the factory was granted a Royal Warrant by King Edward VII in 1901. This resulted in the company adopting bold new markings featuring a crown and lion and a new name, Royal Doulton. Ceramic wares produced at Vauxhall and then at Lambeth, the driving force behind the business of Doulton & Watts being John Doulton (1793-1872). Typical are relief decorated stoneware jugs, salt-glazed stonewares, particularly ornamental pieces; but, of course, even more typical are the sanitary products of this well-known firm.

                                Dovetail or Dovetailing - (Furniture) A Dovetail is a cabinet-maker's technique of joining two pieces of wood together at right-angles by means of bedding the end of the first member (comprising small, cut-out tenon shaped like a dove's spread tail) into prepared cavities in the end grain of the second member. There are two basic types of dovetail. The 'through' dovetail in which the ends of the tenon go through to the far side of the cavities and are visible on the outside of the second member. On a 'Lap or Stop' dovetail the tenon stop short a little way from the far edge of the second member and are invisible from that side as the cavities are made exactly to fit. Through Dovetailing was used before the 17th Century and Lap or Stop dovetailing was introduced on quality work from the 17th Century.

                                Dowel - (Furniture, Joinery) A headless pin or peg which serves to fasten two pieces of timber together by piercing some distance into the connected members.

                                Dragon - (Oriental Symbolism) The dragon is the imperial emblem of the Emperors from the Han period, the coat of arms being two dragons contesting the fiery pearl. There is a theory that during the Yuan and Ming periods decoration of a five-clawed dragon was for imperial use only. Certain objects have had the fifth claw carefully removed, thereby downgrading the status of the piece, perhaps because these objects had been stolen from palaces. Four claws indicate a prince, and three or less an official.

                                Dragonware - (Oriental Ceramics Porcelain) Dragonware is the term given to a style of raised decoration that depicts an oriental dragon.  Most dragonware is moriage, but not all moriage is dragonware. Dragonware can be moriage or non-moriage. The non-moriage types can be coralene, molded in relief, heavy gold overlay, or applied enamels.

                                Dram-glass - (Glass) A short drinking glass with, often, the lower half of the bowl solid. Made from the latter half of the seventeenth century-for strong waters. Also called dram-cup, dram-pot, dram-dish, joey, ginette.

                                Draw Table - (Furniture) The earliest form of extending table. The leaves lie beneath the main top and when pulled out are made to rise and come flush with the main top by means of tapered bearers. From Elizabethan times, and still one of the most reliable of extending table forms.

                                Dresden - (Ceramics, Earthenware, Germany) The English name for Meissen. Best used for later Meissen, the nineteenth century figures particularly. Throughout the centuries there have been many potteries at or near Dresden, notably Bottger's faience manufactory established at Neustadt in 1708.

                                Dresser - (Furniture) Originally aboard or table on which food was dressed; later, (1) a table from which dishes were served, and (2) a provincial side table, usually surmounted by rows of shelves (3) Current use of this name is a piece of case furniture with drawers to store clothing in a bedroom.

                                Dressing Box - (Furniture) A box for toilet requisites, often with a mirror in the lid.

                                Dressing Table - (Furniture)  Dressing tables are listed as a distinct variety in inventories of the middle of the seventeenth century. In the early Georgian period, tables of knee-hole pedestal type often had a drawer fitted with compartments and a mirror, and by late Georgian times small tables with a hinged box lid were made in quantities.

                                D.R.G.M. – (Mark, German) D.R.G.M. is Often mistaken for a manufacturer’s mark, the initials stand for Deutsches Reichs Gebrauchmuster (translation: in-use model). It can be found on many different types of items from toys to corkscrews

                                Drinking Glasses - (Glass) Two main classes, (1) beer glasses, usually of tumbler shape, and (2) stemmed glasses intended for wine, ale and cordials. The evolution of the English wine glass from the late seventeenth century is extremely complicated, but, simplified, the trend is from capacious bowls and short stems to smaller, slimmer bowls and longer, more sophisticated stems. Decoration on stems from 1680 to 1725 includes the true and inverted baluster, often with enclosed 'tear', and many variations and combinations of the knop. Air-twist stems were an important development of the late 1730's; and opaque-twist stems came into favour in the next decade, followed by colourtwist stems. Cut and faceted stems date from about 1745, hollow diamond patterns being much used till c. 1770, then fluted patterns till c. 1800, when raised diamond patterns and prismatic cutting came in.

                                Drop Front Desk – (Furniture) A Drop Front Desk is a desk that is hinged at the bottom, has a fall front that is used for a writing surface and is usually slanted. Also Known As - Fall Front Desk and Slant Top Desk

                                Drop-handle - (Furniture) Pear-shaped handle of the late seventeenth century.

                                Drop-in Seat - (Furniture)  The removable chair seat dates back to the early eighteenth century.

                                Drop-leaf Table - (Furniture) A table with one or two hinged leaves as extensions that are braced to make the table larger.

                                Dropped Seat - (Furniture) Chair seat shaped to fit the body.

                                Drum Table - (Furniture) See Rent Table.

                                Dry Brush – (Fine Art Watercolor) Applying relatively dry inks or water paints lightly over a surface, creating an area of broken color -- the new color having attached to the high spots but not to the low, so that traces of the paper or under color remain exposed. This may be done by holding the brush so that the side of its bristles lies flat against the paper, or by pulling it rapidly across the surface. In oil painting, dragging stroke or scruffing is the name given to this effect. In Japanese art tradition, calligraphic dry brush strokes are called kasure.

                                Dubois, Jacques - (Furniture, Maker, French) Eighteenth-century French cabinet-maker noted for his lacquered furniture. His son, Rene, was also a maitre-ebeniste and made furniture for Marie Antoinette. The two are often confused (the son used the father's stamp).

                                Duchesse - (Furniture)  According to Hepplewhite (his Guide, 1788) a duchesse was formed of 'two barjier (bergere) chairs of proper construction with a stool in the middle'. It is a couch with tub-shaped ends, usually removable, linked by a square stool.

                                Duesbury, William - (Ceramics, Porcelain, England) (?1725-86) An important figure in the evolution of English porcelains. The son of a Longton (Staffordshire) potter, he was, in the early 1750's, running an outside decorator's business in London, and by 1756 he had control of the Derby factory. He purchased the Chelsea concern in 1770, and also took over what was left of Bow.

                                Duelling Pistols - (Weapon) As distinct from ordinary twin or ornamental sets, these lack over-bright or over-heavy ornamentation and have perfect balance so that they will 'come up' accurately when fired according to the strict rules of the duel.

                                Du Lac, Georges - (Artist, France, Watercolor) Georges Du Lac 1906 - 1968 is an artist from France known primarily for watercolor or gouache works of art. He is a listed known artist whose works have sold at auction.

                                Dumb Waiter - (Furniture)  A stand with tier of circular trays from a central stem, probably an English invention where it was in use as early as the 1720's. Three trays are normal, though some, examples have four, and they grow progressively larger from top to bottom.

                                Duncan Phyfe - (Furniture, Cabinetmaker)  Duncan Phyfe is not a style; he was a furniture or cabinetmaker maker. The style of furniture produced in the Duncan Phyfe shop was characterized by carved or reeded legs and neoclassic motifs. It is considered by art historians as more of an adaptation and refinement of Adam, Sheraton, Hepplewhite, and Empire is of than a style itself. The Fife family moved from Scotland in 1784. Duncan's father opened up a cabinetmaking shop in Albany, NY. Duncan Fife was first mentioned as a furniture "joiner" at 2 Broad Street; registered in the 1792 New York City Directory. He relocated, expanded, and changed his name to Phyfe two years later. Duncan Phyfe is the only cabinetmaker in America whose name is linked with various styles of furniture: central pedestal drop leaf breakfast tables, double pedestal banquet tables, reeded leg sofas, window benches, Martha Washington sewing stands, lyre back chairs, etc. His pieces incorporated decorative carving, turning and formed motifs associated, but not unique to his shop are: reeding, thunderbolts, trumpets, rosettes, acanthus leave, water leaf, palm leaf, lion's foot, dog foot, eagle wings, drapery swags, wheat ears, the saber leg, urn turned posts, curved or diagonal cross bars on chair backs and the lyre. A pioneer of the industrial revolution, at one time Duncan Phyfe employed over a hundred workers at his cabinetmaking shop. Although the number of pieces produced there was enormous, only about 20 marked or labeled pieces have been found. His work and work attributed to his shop has been widely reproduced.

                                Du Paquier, Claude - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Italy) Arcanist and founder of the Vienna Porcelain Factory. Porcelain made at Vienna under his directorship (1717-44) is sometimes called 'Du Paquier porcelain'.

                                Durrie, George Henry Harvey - (Artist USA 1820-1863) George Henry Harvey Durrie was a Landscape, genre, and portrait painter. Best known for his wintry rural scenes. He began his career painting portraits around New Haven and Bethany, CT, and from 1840-42 traveled between Connecticut and New Jersey. Durrie turned to landscape painting in the mid 1840s. His winter landscapes became popularized at the end of his life through Currier & Ives" distribution of hand-colored lithographs of his images in the 1860s. Durrie's work continued to be adapted by Currier & Ives after his death, ensuring his legacy.

                                Dutch Foot - (Furniture) Broad term used to describe the type of foot that terminates the a cabriole leg. It is characterized by many different profiles which determines the type and name of the Dutch Foot. They have little or no carving, and a flat circular or ovoid bottom.

                                Duvivier - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Decorators, Belgium)  Family of Belgian porcelain painters who worked in England. William came to England about 1743 and worked at Chelsea; his son, Henri Joseph, born at Tournai, learned the craft at Chelsea and later returned to his birthplace to practise there. Fidele Duvivier, cousin of Henri Joseph, did work for various English factories-Chelsea, Derby, Worcester, Pinxton, New Hall.

                                Dwight, John Belgiam - (Ceramics, Stoneware, England) (?-1703): In 1671 John Dwight of Fulham was granted a fourteen-year patent for making stoneware and he seems to have been the first to produce in England a semitranslucent ware that approaches porcelain. A few superb busts and figures survive (a measure of their excellence is that they have been attributed to Grinling Gibbons). Dwight also made red ware, Cologne ware (a grey earthenware imported from Germany for domestic use), and various stonewares decorated in relief. His Fulham factory remained in the family till 1863.

                                Glossary of Antique terms  A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z
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