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|Maciel Silver Company - (Silversmith) Manufactures of high quality silver hollowware located in Mexico City - Mark - Maciel Sterling Mexico
MacWhirter, John - (Artist, 1839-1911) John MacWhirter was a noted Scottish landscape painter who was born near Edinburgh in 1839. He studied at the RSA Schools and was one of the best students of the time. MacWhirter was one of the first British painters to employ an impressionist style. Soon after graduation, MacWhirter had paintings accepted for exhibition by both the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. He exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy for nearly 40 years. He was noted for his ability to depict peaceful and poetic landscapes. He also traveled widely throughout Europe, the Middle East, and America. He has been the subject of a number of biographies, and his work is widely represented in the major collections of Britain, the United States, and Europe
Made in US Zone - (Mark, Period, Germany) Made in US Zone is a mark on an item or article manufactured in Occupied Germany during a period from 1945-1949.
Magazine Rack – (Furniture) a rack or case for displaying and holding magazines.
Maguire, Helena J. - (Artist England) (1860 – 1909) Helena J. Maguire specialized in watercolor paintings and was an illustrator for children’s books. She is known for painting playful kittens.
Mahogany - (Wood) A dark close-grained hardwood of the Swietenia mahogani tree which are indigenous to Central America and the West Indies. It can vary in color from red to a rich dark brown. It was first discovered by the carpenter on the Sir Walter Raleigh's ship in 1595. The first mahogany began to be imported from Jamaica in quantity in the early eighteenth century. Three varieties of mahogany were used in the eighteenth century. 'Spanish' (or 'St Domingo') was used from about 1725 to about 1750, when the 'Cuban' and then the 'Honduras' varieties came into use. Some of the Cuban timber is finely figured and marked with a curly or wavy grain. The Honduras timber is generally inferior in color and figure to the other two, but it is lighter in weight and softer in texture. It was at first used in England, then spread to France and with the Empire Style it spread to the rest of the Continent. From the point of view of design, mahogany was responsible for two main innovations. One was that the great width of the boards enabled table tops, for instance, to be made in one or two sections instead of several (as was necessary with walnut); the other was that the great strength of mahogany permitted slender and delicate work (fretwork, splat work, etc.). Mahogany remained in popular use well into the nineteenth century. The 'age of mahogany' was from 1720-70.
Maigelein - (Glass, German) Early German drinking glass in the form of a low palm cup (without handles) and with a 'kick' (a cone of glass drawn up inside-as with many modern wine bottles).
Maiolica - (Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware, Italy) Earthenware with a tin-enamel glaze as made in Italy in the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The sixteenth century was the great age of maiolica. The name is said to derive from the island of Majorca, whence Spanish lustre-ware was exported to Italy. Painted decoration consisted mainly of cobalt blue, yellow, purple, green and iron red, together with combinations of these. The use of lustre was an important development, as was the istoriato style of painting. Of the many Italian maiolica centres Faenza (see Faience) was one of the earliest and most important; others were Forli, Siena, Orvieto, Florence, Ravenna, Deruta, Urbino, Castel Durante.
Majolica - (Pottery, Earthenware) term with this spelling was given to pottery decorated in relief beneath a coloured glaze and manufactured at various English factories in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Makie - (Japanese Lacquer) "Sprinkled Design" Method of lacquer decoration in which the design is drawn in lacquer and sprinkled with powders before the lacquer hardens. the powders are usually metallic primarily gold and silver, occasionally tin and lead; but they may also be colored lacquer or charcoal.
Makri Rugs - (Floor Coverings) Made in coastal districts across from the Island of Rhodes, and exceedingly rare, with their end arches and fields divided into coloured panels, and their bright eightpointed stars, leaves, latch-hooks. Red, blue, yellow, green and white. Coarsely woven with forty-five to sixty-five knots to the square inch.
Malling Jugs - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) Tin-enameled pottery jugs, globular in shape, as made, probably in London, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; these jugs, with their splashed or mottled glaze, are the earliest known examples of delftware (q.v.) in England. The name derives from West Malling, Kent, where one of the first specimens was found.
Mandarin Duck - (Bird, Symbolism) The Japanese and the Chinese hold the Mandarin duck in high esteem. In these countries, they serve as an emblem of happiness and of joy. A pair of mandarin ducks is the symbol of martial fidelity often depicted together with lotus, as a rule in a pond scene. Mandarin ducks like to perch in trees.
Manheim Gold - (Metal) Alloy of copper, zinc and tin.
Manton, Joseph - (Arms, Gunsmith, England) Late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century British gunsmith deemed one of the greatest gun-makers of all time. His improvements to the flintlock included the elevated rib above the barrel, the gravitating stop, and the recessed double breech. Many features of the double-barreled shotgun have not changed since Manton's time. His brother, John, was also a great gunsmith.
Manwaring, Robert - (Furniture) Chair-maker and author of The Cabinet and Chair Maker's Real Friend and Companion (1765).
Maple - (Wood) This indigenous tree is often called sycamore in England and plane tree in Scotland. The white wood takes a good polish. It was used in marquetry and as veneer in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The 'bird's eye' maple is an American wood (the sugar maple), and much superior with its fine grain and texture and figuring.
Marble Top - (Stone, Marble, Material) Marble slabs for table tops were in use in the sixteenth century but it was not till the early years of the eighteenth century that they became at all common in England. Though marble was quarried in England most slabs for use with furniture were imported from Italy and the Englishman of the eighteenth century making the Grand Tour would look for a choice slab as he would for choice pictures. See Scagliola.
Marbling - (Furniture, Ceramics, Pottery, Decoration, Technique) (1) Wood treated to look like marble had a vogue at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth. For veneer, holly burrs cut from the trunks of old trees and then stained were used with other colored woods, more straight-forward was the 'marbling' of paneling and fireplace surrounds by painting the wood. (2) Marbled slipware decoration on English pottery was popular in the eighteenth century (Chinese potters practiced it during the T'ang and Sung dynasties) and consists of combing 'slips' of contrasting colors to produce the appearance of natural marble.
Marieberg - (Ceramics, Pottery, Porcelain, Sweden) Swedish (Stockholm) ceramics factory which produced faience from about 1760, soft-paste porcelain from about 1766 (when Pierre Berthevin from Mennecy became manager), and some hard-paste porcelain from about 1777. The factory closed in 1788. Particularly admired are the small well-modelled creampots with covers, fluted spirals and delicately painted bouquets of flowers; also the statuettes and the rococo candelabra. The most common mark is 'mB'.
Marot, Daniel - (?1660-1720?) - (Furniture, Designer) French architect and furniture designer who entered the service of William, Prince of Orange, and later accompanied him to England, where he worked for a few years in the 1690's. His designs for furniture and complete interiors in the Louis XIV style had a considerable influence on his contemporaries.
Marquetry - (Furniture, Decoration) Marquetry is the decorative process of cutting, fitting and inlaying veneers of various shaped pieces of woods (bones and ivory) in a darker veneer ground forming a mosaic for application to the carcass of a piece of furniture. It may be floral, arabesque, figurative or other pattern. Sometimes the edges of the pieces are held briefly in a flame to give the wood a darkened color thus giving dimension to the decoration. This form of furniture decoration was first used Germany and the Low Countries. It was introduced from there to England in the 1670's and to France in the 1700's. Floral marquetry was in vogue at first but towards the end of the seventeenth century and in the early years of the eighteenth century a type of veneer in which two contrasting woods only were used, called arabesque or seaweed marquetry, came into fashion. A revival of marquetry took place in the second half of the eighteenth century. If the pattern is geometrical, it is called Parquetry. Marquetry should not be confused with Inlay.
Marquise - (Furniture, French): A small sofa; a love-seat.
Marsh, William - (Furniture, Cabinetmaker, Welsh) Cabinet-maker and upholsterer to the Prince of Wales and later George IV; Marsh and his partners supplied furniture for Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion.
Mary Gregory Glass - (Glass) Colored (dark blue, ruby, amber, green) ware, usually with white enameled brush-work figures of children at play or flower paintings. Of Bohemian origin but now bears name of American artist famous, in the nineteenth century, for portraits of children on glass.
Mason - (Ceramics, Porcelain, England) Family of potters active during the first half of the nineteenth century. The father, Miles Mason, probably worked at Liverpool before setting up a porcelain factory at Fenton in about 1800; William, Charles and George are the other members of the family which made an extremely hard porcelain, 'ironstone china', bone-china and earthenware. The Chinese manner of decoration was much favored. Enormous vases are typical. Apart from the names 'Mason' and 'Fenton', the usual mark is a crown.
Matched Wood Veneer – (Wood) Wood veneer cut in successive sheet and then the sheets may be halved or quartered and the pieces placed in striking configurations on the piece of furniture. Also called Mirror Wood Veneer.
Matchlock - (Arms) The earliest form of gun ignition, probably invented during the second quarter of the fifteenth century, perhaps at Nuremberg, it consisted of an S-shaped piece of iron pivoting on its side which when swiveled inserted a glowing fuse into a powder-filled touch-hole.
Matrix – (Fine Art) On a Lithograph it is the surrounding paper border. Surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained. Currier & Ives Lithographs are known for having information in the matrix.
Matt - (Term, Metal, Silver) A rough surface. The term is sometimes applied to an unpolished or unfinished area of a metal object, but as regards silver, much seventeenth-century silverware was decorated by burring with a metal punch to produce a matt surface.
Mayhew, John - (Furniture, Cabinet-Maker) William Ince and John Mayhew Cabinet-makers whose book of designs, the Universal System of Household Furniture appeared in parts during the period 1759-63. Their style is a mixture of rococo and Gothic elements in elaborate symmetrical patterns. Ornate chair backs are a feature. Cabinets, stands, mirrors, sconces are frequently decorated with fauna and tendrils.
Mazarine - (Silver) Originally a bowl or cup, but now a pierced silver dish used as a strainer for fish dishes.
Mazer - (Woodenware, Silver) Broad bowl of maple wood sometimes mounted on and/or with silver or pewter. Last made in the sixteenth century.
Medallion - (Furniture, Floor Coverings, Decoration) A circular or oval disc decorated with objects in relief; also a portion of a decorative design (as in carpets) which is specially treated.
Meigh - (Ceramics, Pottery) Family of potters active at Hanley from the late eighteenth century; best known are the jugs they made under the influence of the Gothic revival in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Meiji Period - (Japan Period) In Japan, during the years 1868-1912.
Mei Ping - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Chinese): A form of Chinese porcelain vase with squat body; small neck and mouth, supposedly intended to hold a single spray of the prunus blossom and for this reason sometimes called 'prunus vase'.
Meiren – (Term, Chinese) Meaning Beauty or Beautiful Woman
Meissen - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Germany) Europe's first and most important hard-paste porcelain manufactory, situated some twelve miles from Dresden, Saxony, Germany, founded in 1710 and named the Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufacture. The first years were largely experimental. Two classes of ware were made, true porcelain and red stoneware, both the invention of J. F. Bottger. By about 1714 the factory was in commercial production. Bottger died in 1719 and the venture might well have collapsed had not the King (Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland) appointed a Commission to reorganize and enlarge the factory. Progress was almost uninterrupted from 1720 to 1756 (the year the Seven Years War broke out); a disturbed period followed and by the time the factory management was reconstituted (1763-t) Meissen faced serious competition from other European factories, particularly from Sevres. The so-called 'Academic Period' followed (1763-74) and then came the period of Marcolini's management (1774-1814). In the nineteenth century the decline was unspectacular.
Until 1733: Shapes at first followed those of contemporary baroque silver. Painted decoration was undistinguished until 1720 when Johann Gregor Herold, enameller and miniaturist, came to Meissen. As Art Director, Herold was responsible for painted decoration and the colors -evolved and he soon gave the factory a brilliant palette. Underglaze blue, though never particularly successful at Meissen, dates from about 1725, as do most of the famous ground colors, yellow, blue, green, lilac, grey, crimson-purple. Some of the finest painted decoration was done in the Chinese and Japanese styles; but landscapes and harbor scenes are also notable. Figures were made, animals, grotesque human figures such as dwarfs, but this was the great period of painted decoration; modeling came into its own with the advent of Kandler.
1733-63: Johann Joachim Kandler came to Meissen in 1731 and was appointed chief modeler in 1733. With him the baroque (although by this time giving way to the rococo) found expression in terms of porcelain. He almost invented the 'figure' and that it later became the 'Dresden figure' was no fault of his. He drew inspiration from many and diverse sources and his figures range from Harlequin to street trader, shepherdess to artisan, gallant to Olympian god, court lady to monkey band. His earliest work is his best. Though he adapted himself to the rococo style he was never happy in it.
Modeled and molded relief decoration was introduced to table wares and vases. Scrolls and basketwork patterns became more and more elaborate as the influence of the rococo style grew stronger. What began as border decoration (on plates, for example) spread over the entire surface. Molded flowers had a vogue; the lips and handles of jugs and coffee-pots carried scrolls and flourishes. Tureens in the form of vegetables and animals were made in the 1740's and 50's. As regards painted decoration, chinoiseries remained popular. Formal Oriental flower patterns had a vogue until c. 1740, when more naturalistic European flower painting came into favor. At about this time, too, pastoral scenes deriving from Watteau and other French painters were introduced, and later, in the 1750's, mythological subjects.
1764-74: The Academic Period. Michel-Victor Acier, a French sculptor, was appointed chief modeler, jointly with Kandler, in 1764. Herold retired in 1765. The old order was giving way to a new neo-classicism. Symmetry, and rather stiff symmetry at that, replaced the rococo curve. Painted decoration became more and more naturalistic. The prevailing styles of Sevres were followed. Lace decoration (lace dipped in slip and then applied to a figure; during firing the material burned away leaving the mesh design on the ware) dates from c. 1770. This was all very well but, clearly, the great days were over. 1774-1814: Count Camillo Marcolini was appointed Director in 1774. He did what he could to revive Meissen's prosperity, but circumstances (not least in the form of Wedgwood's wares) were against him. The Thuringian factories imitated (and under-cut) Meissen; Meissen imitated Sevres. Topographical decoration was good but uninspired. The financial position the factory was precarious; Marcolini sold much defective white porcelain that had accumulated over the years in order to raise money.
The nineteenth century: The classical style lasted until about 1830. The influence of Wedgwood is to be discerned. Lithophanes were a popular novelty introduced in 1828. The rococo style was revived between 1835-70 and Dresden figures were produced in enormous numbers. The export trade to England and the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century was big business. Most of the 'Dresden' china to be found in antique shops today is late nineteenth century. (Many experts apply the term 'Meissen' to eighteenth century products of this factory, and the term 'Dresden' to wares produced after 1800.)
Crossed swords are the famous mark, first used about 1724. A dot between the hilts signifies the Academic Period; a star between the hilts was applied during the Marcolini management.
Melas Rugs - (Floor Coverings) From south-west Asia Minor, with narrow fields and broad main stripes. Red, yellow, ivory, blue, mauve; and coarsely loose with sixty to eighty Ghiordiz knots to the square inch.
Mendelsham Chair - (Furniture) A type of Windsor chair as made at Mendlesham in Suffolk in the early nineteenth century. The back usually has a straight top rail and a narrow upright splat.
Mennecy - (Ceramics, Porcelain) Soft-paste porcelain made at this factory between 1735 and 1785, at first in the style of Saint-Cloud and later in the style of Sevres. Kakiemon patterns are a feature of early wares. The factory transferred to Bourg-la-Reine in 1773. The usual mark is 'DV'.
Menuisier - (Furniture, French, Maker) French term that corresponds to the English 'carpenter'. One who worked in plain or carved woods lacking veneers for furniture, also timber and paneling for the building of houses.
Meriden Britannia Company - (Silver Company American) Meriden, Connecticut. Organized in 1852 by Horace C. and Dennis C. Wilcox of H.C. Wilcox & Co., Other founders were Isaac C Lewis of I.C. Lewis & Company; James A. Frary of James A. Frary & Company; Lemuel J. Curtis; William W. Lyman of Curtis & Lyman and John Munson. Meriden Britannia Company was organized for quantity production, Their first products were Britannia hollowware's. By 1855 they were also offering plated silver hollowware, flatware and German silver items. They added Pearl-handled wares in 1861. In 1862 the Rogers Brothers who had been making and selling plated silver forks, spoons and other items were bought and moved to Meriden. Their 1847 Rogers Bros. Trademark became an important addition to the Company.
Meshed Rugs - (Floor Coverings) Persian rugs usually incorporating a large central medallion and floral designs; red, blue and white are the principal colors supported by yellows and greens; multi-striped (as many as eight) border; Senna knot usually.
Metric - (Measurement) The System of measurement used in the in just about every country except the United States The world uses the Metric system for weighing commercial goods. Units of measure used are Gram and Kilogram.
Metronome - (Musical Instrument) A device used to mark time by means of regularly recurring ticks or flashes used indicates the exact tempo of a piece of music at adjustable intervals. An instrument for denoting the speed at which a musical composition is to be performed. Its invention is generally, but falsely, ascribed to Johann Nepomuk Maelzel, a native of Ratisbon, Bavaria, Germany (1772-1838). It consists of a pendulum swung on a pivot; below the pivot is a fixed weight, and above it is a sliding weight that regulates the velocity of the oscillations by the greater or less distance from the pivot to which it is adjusted. The silent metronome is impelled by the touch, and ceases to beat when this impulse dies; it has a scale of numbers marked on the pendulum, and the upper part of the sliding weight is placed under that number which is to indicate the quickness of a stated note, as M.M. (Maelzel's Metronome) j=>=6o, or i=72, or =108, or the like. The number 60 implies a second of time for each single oscillation of the pendulum numbers lower than this denoting slower, and higher numbers quicker beats. The scale at first extended from 50 to 160, but now ranges from 40 to 208. A more complicated metronome is impelled by clock-work, makes a ticking sound at each beat, and continues its action till the works run down; a still more intricate machine has also a bell which is struck at the first of any number of beats willed by the person who regulates it, and so signifies the accent as well as the time.
Metropoli Silver Company - (Silver Manufacturer) Metropoli Silver Company was located in Mexico City, Mexico, it is unknown if they are still in business but they were in operation in the 1940s. Specializing in Sterling Hollowware.
Mezza-Maiolica - (Ceramics, Pottery) A misnomer (the term means half-maiolica) sometimes applied to lead-glazed earthenware decorated in the sgraffito technique.
Mikawachi - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Japanese) Japanese ceramics factory which made porcelain of fine quality from the middle of the eighteenth century.
Milk Glass - (Glass) Opaque white glass, usually made opaque by adding tin oxide or arsenic to the batch of glass. Made first in England in an attempt to imitate porcelain. The most desirable has intricate designs - in most cases hand painted - and was made during the last half of the nineteenth century in England, France, Germany and the United States. Originally called opal ware in England, Lattimo in Italian, and Milchglas in Germany.
Millefiori - (Glass) (Italian='a thousand flowers') The term applies to a technique of Roman glass mosaic in which bundles of slender glass rods of varied colors were fused together in a cylinder which was drawn out while still plastic and afterwards cut into transverse sections. The process was revived by Venetian glassmakers in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and again in France and England in the nineteenth century. Commonly used in paperweights.
Ming Dynasty - (Chinese) Chinese Dynasty that lasted from 1368 to 1644
Minton - (Ceramics, England) The Minton factory was founded in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire by Thomas Minton in 1796. Earthenware pottery was made first, but soft-paste porcelain was produced probably as early as 1798. It is said that he was the inventor of the very popular and prolifically produced Willow pattern. In 1817, Minton took his sons into the business and the firm traded as Thomas Minton & Sons. In 1821, Minton began making hard paste porcelain. Porcelain was not produced in any great quantity at Minton in its early years, but about 1825, several Derby artists took employment with the firm and output-and quality-increased. The design of the first porcelain was simple sprigs of flowers, but with the addition of Leon Armoux to the factory, the wares became much richer. Sevres provided a recurring inspiration that extended to the marking of many pieces. These ornate and sometimes enormous wares were always marked to show the quality of the factory. They made majolica, pate-sur-pate, and Parian wares as well. The father died in 1836 and John Boyle entered the firm which then became known as Minton & Boyle until 1845 brought a new partner, Michael Hollins, and a new style. Parian ware was a noted product from about 1845; and Marc-Louis Solon, who had been with Sevres, introduced the celebrated pate-sur pate technique. Minton Hollins & Co. In 1883, the present style of Mintons Ltd was adopted. Art Nouveau was adopted in the 1890's. It is generally agreed that Minton made some of the best porcelain produced in England during the Victorian period. This factory still thrives today and indeed they still produce porcelain of fine quality. Marks: include the letter 'M', the Sevres-like mark, the name 'Minton' impressed or transfer-printed.
Minyao – (Porcelain Chinese) "Peoples wares". Chinese commercial porcelain made for trade, export and local markets, made at all other kilns and occasionally on Imperial command at the Imperial porcelain kiln, in Jingdezhen, Jiangzi province.
Miquelet Lock - (Weapons, Guns) An early form of flintlock developed in Spain perhaps as early as 1587.
Mirrors - (Furniture, Glass) In ancient China and in classical antiquity mirrors were of polished metal. This was still generally so in the Middle Ages in Europe, for, though the method of backing glass with a metallic substance to make it reflect was known, the imperfections and distortions due to impurities in the glass ruled out a satisfactory reflection. Hand mirrors of gold, silver or bronze, enriched with precious stones, were the treasured possessions of the very wealthy in medieval times. By the fifteenth century mirrors were usually of steel or crystal. Venetian glass-makers claimed to have perfected glass mirrors in 1507; this was a monopoly they held for a long time but by the early seventeenth century craftsmen from Murano (near Venice) were coming to England to instruct the natives in the making of looking-glass plates. By the 1620's Sir Robert Mansell had got the English glass-making industry on a sound footing, mirrors were being made in considerable quantities, and hanging mirrors began to play a part in the decorative domestic scheme of things. A considerable manufacture was set up at Vauxhall c. 1665.
During these early years mirrors were made from blown cylinders of glass that were slit open, flattened and polished, and the backs silvered with tin and mercury. It is worth remembering that in the 1670's a 'large' mirror would not be more than three feet in length. By the 1680's the English were claiming they made the best mirrors in the world; by the beginning of the eighteenth century foreigners were beginning to agree. The relatively low cost of the English product during the first half of the eighteenth century was a factor that amazed the visitor.
Many materials were used for frames from the last quarter of the seventeenth century: various soft woods that lent themselves to carvings, veneers of walnut, laburnum and olive wood, marquetry, japanned woods, tortoiseshell, ivory, silver. Most mirrors were square or rectangular till the end of the seventeenth century when the taste for tall mirrors- came in. This greater height meant the use of two or more plates of glass. The arched crest became popular. Over the mantel mirrors grew larger and larger. The pier glass (tall and narrow to occupy the space between windows) came in at the beginning of the eighteenth century and was usually of carved wood gilt, decorated in gesso. The architectural style of mirror dates from about 1725 and remained in vogue until the straight line gave way to the curve in the 1740's. Thereafter (until the classical revival) the frame-maker could give full expression to his virtuosity, whether in the rococo, the Gothic or the Chinese styles. The classical influence of Adam made itself felt in the 1760's and was dominant till the end of the century. The circular convex mirror became popular in England about 1800 (they had been made much earlier in France).
Mission Style Furniture - (Furniture) Design style that grew out of the Arts & Craft Movement. Called Mission because of its exposed construction, simple lines, rectilinear style, plain materials like oak and leather or canvas. The finest Mission Furniture was produced by the Stickley Brothers factory, the Elbert Hubbard and his quasi-socialist community of the Roycrofters, R Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School, and on the West Coast, Greene & Greene and Arthur and Lucia Mathews.
Miter Cut - (Glass, Cut) On a glass blank the main design would be outlined with deep V-shaped cuts. These are called Miter Cuts and can be straight or curved. During the American brilliant period designs became more elaborate, cutters added curved shapes to make their designs more graceful or dynamic. When the curved cuts meet, as in this example, it is sometimes called a "Gothic Arch". The tiny parallel cuts within this example of curved miter are called "crosshatching".
Modillion - (Furniture) Series of projecting brackets below the cornice or in the pediment-as found on eighteenth-century furniture designed in the architectural manner.
Mohair - (Material, Hair) Strictly, a fine camlet made from the hair of the Angora goat; but the term was used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to denote a kind of silk used for upholstery and hangings.
Moon Cakes – (Chinese Food) Moon Cakes are a delicacy consumed during and around the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are round or rectangular. They have noodle-like dough on the outside, and the insides are filled with one or more of the following: sweetmeats, bean paste, lotus seed paste, melon seed, all sorts of nuts, and duck egg yolks. The Chinese have made porcelain and lacquered containers to store moon cakes in since the Ming Dynasty. They can be a single container with a lid or they can be two or more containers that stack. Mid-Autumn Festival is the most widely celebrated festivals in Chinese culture. The festival falls on the fifteenth of the 8th lunar month. This festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and it operates as a unifying agent for every family comparative to that of Thanksgiving in the United States. On this day, every family member who has moved out of the house for school or work returns to their parents' house to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival. It is thought that Moon Cakes were derived from the ancient "Chu-Ju" or honey cake in the 3rd century B.C.
Mongol or Yaan Dynasty - (Chinese Period) From A.D. 1279 until 1368 foreign rule; the drama, the novel; bamboo painting reaches its peak; Western Europeans arrive in China. The earliest known examples of underglaze blue painting on porcelain date from the end of the Yiian dynasty, as does shu fu porcelain.
Monks' Bench - (Furniture) Combined table, settle and chest.
Monopodium - (Furniture) Solid three- or four-sided table pedestal, often mounted on feet, popular during the Regency.
Monstrance - (Silver, Religious) Vessel, often of silver or gold and richly decorated, in which the Host is exposed.
Monteith - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Silver, Glass) Punch bowl with scalloped rim which is frequently removable.
Moore, James - (Furniture, Cabinetmaker) Cabinet-maker who from 1714 to 1726 (the year of his death) was in partnership with John Gumley. Moore was presumably proud of his gilt gesso furniture for he incised his name on some pieces. He was employed at Blenheim by the Duchess of Marlborough and supplied furniture to William Kent's designs for Kensington Palace.
Moorfields Carpets - (Floor Coverings) The most esteemed of early English carpets, as made by Thomas Moore at Moorfields, London, from about 1760. Loosely knotted (about twenty to the square inch) in the Turkish manner, Moore's carpets were commissioned by Robert Adam (q.v.) and wealthy owners of grand houses of that time. They are very scarce and very expensive.
Moriage - (Ceramics Porcelain) Type of raised decoration on porcelain. Slip clay is applied onto a porcelain piece much in the way a cake is decorated. In fact, moriage is often described as having the appearance of dried cake frosting. It can separate in between ridges and has a textured (not smooth) feel. It is also porous in nature. Sometimes the slip clay is colored before application; mostly it is bisque colored.
Mortar and Pestle - (Utensil, Glass, Wood) A Mortar is vessel that is made in a bowl form, which is made for use with a Pestle. The Pestle is made in a rod shaped form and usually has a ball shape end. It is used to mash herbs, grains, etc. Mortar and Pestle were made from very early times when they were usually of stone or wood. Bronze was the normal metal used from the Middle Ages. Examples from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are quite common; they were not made much after the middle of the eighteenth century.
Mortise and Tenon - (Furniture) A Mortise and Tenon is a cavity cut into a piece of timber, or other material, to receive the end of another piece called a tenon, which is made to fit it. The mortise is the receptacle, the cavity, which should be an exact fit to take the tenon or tongue. Dates from the sixteenth century.
Mortise Lock - (Lock, Hardware, Furniture) The mortise lock came into use in the middle of the eighteenth century and brought with it another kind of door furniture, this being the plate to accommodate the door handle, the escutcheon and (sometimes) a smaller handle to operate the bolt.
Mosaic Glass - (Glass) Opaque ware, of dark purple and white swirled appearance. Also known as 'purple marble glass'.
Mother-of-pearl - (Material, Decoration, Shell) A substance forming the inner layer of some shells. It was probably first used in the East as a decorative inlay. It became popular in Restoration England (1660-1688) for the ornament of furniture when it was used in conjunction with bone and ivory. In the second half of the eighteenth century, it was used freely on boxes and tea-caddies and in the nineteenth century on trays and papier-mâché furniture. It was also used in English Boulle work.
Molded Pedestal Stem - (Glass) Glass made in Silesia; rivaled the products of Bohemia, particularly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and is noted for the engraved glass made during the eighteenth century. See Silesian Stem.
Moldings - (Furniture) As separate members, strips of different patterns and shapes used to surround panels, etc. ; in the solid, the shaped decoration given to an edge of a cornice, a lid, etc.
Mounts - (Furniture) Metal mounts to protect weak or vulnerable parts of furniture probably had their origin in ancient times but the French furniture-makers, or more correctly the fondeurs-doreurs, of the Louis XIV period developed the decorative mount of ormolu.
Mounts - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Silver) Silver-mounted examples of Chinese porcelain are known from the fifteenth century onwards, and from the seventeenth century onwards European pottery was sometimes mounted in silver or pewter. Ormolu mounting for porcelain was introduced during the eighteenth century. As only the finest wares would be considered worth mounting such specimens are expensive as a rule.
Moustache Drawer Pull - (Furniture, Wood) A heavily carved wooden drawer pull in the form of a large moustache. They were commonly in use during the 1880 - 1900. The favorite carved decoration was acorns and oak leaves or fruit.
Moustiers - (Ceramics, Pottery, France) An important French faience manufacturing centre from about 1769, at which date the Clerissy factory was founded. Other factories were established in the area later, but none achieved the high standard or success of the Clerissy family. Pictorial painted decoration in monochrome blue is notable.
Movement - (Clock) The machinery, the 'works', of a clock or watch.
Mudjar Rugs - (Floor Coverings)Brilliantly tinted and often containing as many as ten colors, with characteristic main stripe of border made up of squares round diamonds with roses within, like tessellated tiles. Red selvage. Forty-five to sixty-five knots to square inch.
Mullions - (Furniture, Architecture) A mullion is a structural element, which divides adjacent window units. A mullion may also vertically divide double doors. In cabinetry, the term "mullion" refers to any vertical member on a cabinet face that separates adjacent elements, usually doors, or drawers. This same element is also called a "mid-stile”.
Muntin - (Furniture) Upright between panels.
Muranashiji - (Japanese Lacquer) Uneven Aventurine. Nashiji in which the gold flakes are not evenly distributed across the ground, but applied in cloud like concentrations.
Murano - (Glass, Italy) Island near Venice to which the glass-houses of that city were transferred in the thirteenth century owing to the danger of fire. Venetian glass is often called Murano glass.
Murrhine or Murrine - (Glass, Stones, Mosaic) Early mosaic ware from the East which found, in the form of bowls and cups, much favored with the Romans; thought to have been made of precious or semiprecious stones, but perhaps of colored glass.
Music Cabinet - (Furniture) A cabinet that was use to store sheet music or records, it can take many forms.
Musket - (Firearms, Guns) Heavy firearm (14-20 1b.) which probably originated in Spain, whence it was introduced into the Netherlands and then into France and England (by the end of the sixteenth century). Out of favor by 1650, but the term has remained to describe any portable long-arm gun.