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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
Eames, Charles & Ray – (Architecture, Furniture, Designer) (1907-1978) Important and influential designers of the Post-war Modern Era. They used technology with an artist's flair. In 1956, Charles and his wife Ray designed the famous Lounge chair 670 and Ottoman 671 to replace the overstuffed wingchair. It was made of laminated Rosewood with leather padding.
EAPG - (Glass, Term) Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG shortened term for Early American Pattern Glass) is clear or colored pressed glass made from around 1850 until about 1914 in matched sets. Machines for pressing glass were invented in the 1820's, but it was not until the 1860's that they were improved enough to mass produce matched table services. Sets of glassware all in the same pattern became very popular, and these sets often included sugar bowl, creamer, butter dish, goblets, tumblers, pitcher, fruit bowl, berry dishes, and sometimes relish dishes, salt and pepper shakers, cake stands, bread plates, compotes, celery vases, and many other household items. There were many hundreds of patterns of EAPG, some produced in extensive sets and some with only a few pieces. Many different companies produced EAPG, and some patterns were produced by more than one company, due to mergers, trading of molds, and copying. EAPG has been very popular with collectors for many years. Some of the popular patterns have been reproduced, so advice from an expert is recommended.
Earthenware - (Pottery) The oldest ceramic substance; pottery of baked clay too porous to use in biscuit state and requiring glaze; unvitrified pottery (see Stoneware). Earthenware is usually classified according to the glazing and decoration that is added to it like slipware, creamware, delft, faience, maiolica.
East, Edward - (Clocks) 'Watch-maker, Citizen and Goldsmith of London.' Born at Southill, Beds., 1602, he was famous first for his watches (watch-maker to Charles I), later for his clocks; the workmanship was always superb.
Eastlake, Charles Locke - (Designer, Architect) (1836-1906) An English writer, journalist and designer who trained as an architect. He wrote a book in 1868 call Hints on Household Taste. It was extremely popular and was responsible for taking the design debate beyond the realm of artist and architects. His book was reprinted in the United States many times. He coined the term Art Furniture Movement which rallied against mass produced furniture. Along with Bruce Talbert, Eastlake developed the Modern Gothic style, which is less florid than the Neo-Gothic Style. His book advocated the use of simple rectilinear forms with correspondingly modest decoration, consisting of low-relief carving combined with inlaid, incised or pierced motifs. Chamfered edges, ebonized or dark woods and elaborate metalwork and Eastlake specified that all decorative motifs should be stylized or geometrical not naturalistic.
Easy Chair - (Furniture) The term dates from the late seventeenth century or early eighteenth century as applied to a chair 'adapted for ease or repose'. In Sheraton's Cabinet Dictionary (1803) we read of a tub-shaped chair 'stuffed all over and intended for sick persons, being both easy and warm...'
Eaton Hall Chairs - (Furniture) As designed by A. Waterhouse for Eaton Hall in 1867. Circular seat; curved, padded back rails and arms which form a semi-circle; usually of mahogany; luxuriously upholstered; short, turned legs.
Ebeniste - (Furniture, French, Cabinet Maker) The French term for cabinet maker, literally meaning one who works in ebony, it came to imply one who worked in veneers.
Ebony - (Wood) Ebony is a common name for members of the Ebenaceae, a family of trees and shrubs widely distributed in warmer climates and in the tropics. The principal genus, Diospyros, includes both ebony and persimmon trees. Ebony wood, valued from ancient times, is hard and dark; it is extensively used for piano keys and in cabinetmaking, especially the black Macassar ebony of India and the East Indies. Several species (notably D. hirsuta ) that have wood striped with black or with shades of brown are called calamander wood or variegated ebony. Several other unrelated hardwoods are commonly called ebony. Of the many species in the family bearing edible fruit, the best known are the persimmons. D. virginiana is native in the United States E of the Mississippi. The Japanese persimmon ( D. kaki ) is cultivated in Japan and China, in the Mediterranean area, and in the warmer regions of the United States. The unripe fruit contains tannic acid, a powerful astringent. Soft and pulpy when ripe, persimmons are difficult to market. Large quantities are eaten on the tree by opossums, whence the name possumwood for the tree. Persimmon wood has a limited use in the manufacture of objects (e.g., golf club heads) requiring hard wood. The ebony family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , order Ebenales, class Magnoliopsida.
Ebonize / Ebonized Wood - (Furniture) Process of staining wood a dark black to look like ebony. Usually ebonized wood has a lacquered finish.
Echinus Molding - (Furniture) Quarter-round molding.
Ecuelle - (Silver) Continental type of silver porringer and cover, shallower than the English and with two flat, pierced handles. Huguenot silversmiths introduced the ecuelle into England.
Edo Period - (Japanese, Era) The Edo Period (1603-1868) also called Yedo or Yeddo and was the seat of Japanese Government. During the Edo Period shoguns of the Tokugawa family ruled by feudal military dictatorship. Edo is where Tokyo is today but the emperor’s residence remained in the former capital of Kyoto. In 1868, when the shogunate came to an end, the city was renamed "Tokyo" which means "Eastern Capital". The emperor eventually moved to Tokyo, making the city the formal capital of Japan.
Egg and Dart - (Molding) Also called Egg and Tongue, an Ovolo molding consisting of a repeating pattern of alternating eggs and arrowhead shapes. Very popular and commonly used Classical molding. First used in the 16th Century and was popular in the 18th Century on Neo-Classical Furniture, and for molding on classical style architecture.
Egg-shell Porcelain - (Porcelain) Porcelain of extreme thinness as first made in China at the beginning of the fifteenth century (the Yung Lo period) and again under K'ang-hsi, Yung Cheng and Ch'ien Lung (1662-1795). Certain nineteenth-century English factories-especially Minton-produced egg-shell wares.
Egyptian Black - (Pottery) Basalts
Elers, David and John - (Pottery, Silver) The Elers brothers, from Holland, are said to have been silversmiths originally, but by 1690 they were active as potters making red stoneware in London. In 1693 they moved to North Staffordshire and continued to make, at Bradwell Wood, the red ware with which their name is associated, until about 1698.
Embossed, Embossing – (Silver, Metal) Making raised designs on the surface of metal from the reverse side, strictly applicable only to hammered work. (Repousse)
Empire - (Period, French, Style) The style and period of the first Empire in France, say 1794-1830. The furniture was based on styles of antiquity, much use being made of wreaths and pateras, urns, winged figures, clawed feet, brasses, mahogany, rosewood.
Enamel - (Enamelware) Made by fusing a paste of powdered glass on to a base of metal, usually copper, bronze or gold. The basic technique: moistened paste is spread over the metal base, the object fired in a kiln and the heat melts the paste which adheres to the metal. The art of enamelling is of considerable antiquity and probably had its origins in Greece and/or Etruria between the sixth and third centuries B.c. The most important classifications are: (1) Cloisonne, in which the design is divided by metal strips, soldered on to the ground, forming small compartments, or cloisons, which are filled with enamel; (2) Champleve, in which small compartments are hollowed out of the ground, to keep the enamels separate; (3) Basse Taille or En Plein, in which the ground is first carved or engraved at a slightly sunken level which is 'topped up' with enamel; (4) painted enamels, in which pictures or designs are painted upon an undercoat of white enamel; (5) plique d jour, in which translucent enamel is strengthened by internal strips of metal-like stained-glass windows.
Encaustic - (Art, Decoration) A paint consisting of pigment mixed with beeswax and fixed with heat after its application. Burned-in color. The art of painting with a Encaustic substance. An Encaustic painting is produced with the use of this substance.
End Caps – (Furniture) Decorative or plain part of a castor that would slip over covering the end of a foot on a piece of furniture. Also called End Cups, they came in different styles. The Square Cup first came into use in 1760, Tapered Cup 1780-90, the brass cap 1780-1800, Lion’s Paw 1810-1830, Gilt Metal 1800-1840, Plain Toe 1800-1840.
Encoignure - (Furniture, French) French term for a corner cupboard. Popular for the greater part of the eighteenth century.
Engraved / Engraving - (Decoration) Decorating by cutting or carving into the surface of an object. 1. (Silver) Cutting lines into metal with a scorper or engraver. 2. (Prints, Books) A print made from an engraved block or plate.
Engraving – (Fine Art Print) A method of cutting or incising a design into a material, usually metal, with a sharp tool called a graver. One of the intaglio methods of making prints, in engraving, a print can be made by inking such an incised (engraved) surface. It may also refer to a print produced in this way. Most contemporary engraving is done in the production of currency, certificates, etc.
En Plein - (Enamel) Basse Taille or En Plein, in which the ground is first carved or engraved at a slightly sunken level then it is covered with tranclucent enamel
Epergne - (Glass, Silver, Porcelain, Tableware) Centre dish for the table, often having branches which support small dishes or baskets for sweetmeats, etc.; of silver usually, or porcelain.
EPNS - (Silverplate) EPNS stands for Electroplated Nickel Silver. Nickel silver over which a layer of silver is applied with electroplating. Nickel silver is a combination of nickel, copper, and zinc and it does not contain any silver.
Escapement - (Clocks) The means of control over the driving force of a clock or watch; the device that permits the power to 'escape' to the pendulum or balance. The first mechanical escapement was the Verge, said to have been quite well known by 1350, in which two pallets alternately trap and release a saw-edged tooth of the crown wheel (the escape wheel). Its worst feature was that it never left the pendulum free, whereas the ideal escapement is that which leaves the pendulum free for the greatest length of time. There were many attempts at improvement but not until 1671 did William Clement invent (or perfect) the Anchor escapement, so called because the curved arm and two pallets suggest the head and flukes of an anchor. This was a great step forward. There was less interference with the escape wheel. The wide swing of the verge escapement pendulum, which kept the pendulum short, was replaced by the long, slow-swinging pendulum moving through an arc of as little as four degrees, thus minimizing error and allowing for a beat of one second (and the second hand) and the evolution of the long-case clock. The only fault was the shudder or recoil caused by the jarring that accompanied the engagement of the pallets with the teeth of the escape wheel. Hence the next improvement, the Dead Beat escapement, a modification of the anchor escapement, in which the pallets bed 'dead' on to the escape wheel teeth and abolish recoil or jarring, thus making for greater accuracy. Invented by George Graham in 1715 the dead beat escapement is still in use today. It should be noted that clocks were often converted when a marked technical improvement was invented; but there will normally be evidence of the conversion.
Escritoire - (Furniture, French) Form of French writing cabinet. The term was used in the late seventeenth century for the forerunner of the bureau writing cabinet that came in at the end of the century. Also know as scrutoire or scriptor.
Escutcheon - (Hardware, Furniture) An Escutcheon is a decorative protective area around a keyhole. It can be a raised wood boss, or inlaid ivory or other woods or metal plate pierced for a key.
Espagnolette - (Textile, Furniture, Decoration, French) Gillot and his pupil, Watteau, made fashionable this decorative motif of the stiff lace collar worn by Spanish women. It developed into a pattern used by furniture designers and is to be found on Regency writing tables and chests of drawers.
Etagere - (Furniture) Decorative drawing-room table with one or two graduated tiers above main top, the separating pillars usually ormolu; of satinwood, kingwood, tulipwood, mahogany; legs, usually cabriole, sometimes straight tapered, ormolu-mounted.
Etruria - (Pottery, England, Factory, Town) The name Josiah Wedgwood gave to the factory (and village that grew up round it) he opened in 1769. He chose this name because he wished to revive the pottery-making art of the Etruscans.
Etui - (Silver, Porcelain, Decorative Arts, Box) Small box for the use of ladies; fitted with compartments to contain scissors and other personal objects; of pinchbeck often but also silver, porcelain, etc.
Ewer - (Silver, Ceramics, Glass) Usually with basin or dish. The most common form is the swelling vase shape with small mouth but largish lip and handle curving quite tightly to reach a higher point than the top of the vessel; the helmet shape is frequently encountered.
Ewery Cupboard - (Furniture) The ewer and basin stood on this low cupboard which contained toilet accessories.