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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
|Oak - (Wood) A hard and heavy wood, the most common species in England being the common oak and the sessile-fruited oak. Native and imported oak was practically the `universal timber' for furniture until the Restoration and remained in use in country districts in England throughout the eighteenth century for `yeoman' and farmhouse furniture. The `age of oak' 1100-1660. In the United States the White oak was the most popular oak used and the "Golden Oak" age was from 1880 - 1920.
Objets d'Art - (Term) Valuable small items that cannot be classified under other headings.
Occasional Table - (Furniture) Any small table that is portable and is intended for many uses.
Occupied Japan - (Period Japan) A mark on items exported from Japan post WWII. Supposedly, 50% of all items made in Japan during the occupation of American Troops after WWII (1945 - 1952) had to be marked with Made in Occupied Japan. However, I have not been able to verify this fact. The most popular Occupied Japan collectible is pottery, but I have seen items marked Occupied Japan as varied as a silk scarf to multi-tool knives.
Oeben, Jean Francois - (Furniture, Cabinetmaker, France) (?-1763)One of the greatest of French cabinet-makers who made furniture for Louis XV; particularly esteemed are his superbly made bureau, elaborately fitted with secret drawers and locking devices. Oeben is said to have died a bankrupt (a small marquetry table of his sold at Christie's in 1958 for 34,000 guineas), but his widow continued the business, which thrived when she married his former assistant, Riesener.
Ogee Bowl - (Glass) A favored shape for the bowl of drinking glasses in the second half of the eighteenth century. The bowl curves out from the stem, then in a little and then out again at the rim, like an elongated S.
Ogee Bracket Foot - (Furniture) Bracket Foot that is made in a cyma reversa curve. It has a vertical profile in the form of an S-curve, convex above and concave below.
Ogee Molding - (Furniture) A molding consisting of a double curve, convex above and concave below. Also called Cyma Recta.
Okawachi - (Ceramics, Japan) Japanese porcelain factory near Arita; founded in the mid-seventeenth century; made stoneware and porcelain.
Okihirameji - (Japanese Lacquer) Positioned flat flake ground. Hirameji in which the flakes are individually set into place by hand rather than sprinkled.
Old Hickory Company - (Furniture, Manufacturer, United States, Indiana) The Old Hickory Company is a well-known manufacturer of quality "rustic furniture", the Old Hickory Company was begun in 1892 in Martinsville, Indiana. Most of its products were made of peeled or unpeeled tree branches and woven rush type seats and backs. They also used mortise and tenon joinery in their pieces. Its products are identified by a three line brand "Old Hickory Co./Martinsville/Indiana". Some later piece bear paper labels instead of the brand; the firm closed in 1965. It has since reopened under the same name.
Olivewood - (Wood) A close-grained wood of greenish yellow color that was used for parquetry, particularly during the late Stuart period.
Omnium - (Term) A Whatnot
O'Neale, Jeffrey H. - (Ceramics, Decorator) Eighteenth-century ceramic artist and miniaturist who worked at Chelsea and later as an outside decorator did a lot of work for the Worcester porcelain factory.
Opalescent Glass - (Glass)(1) A type of late nineteenth century art glass, made by covering a gather of colored glass with a layer of colorless glass containing bone ash and arsenic. The glass (parison) was inflated in a mold to produce raised decoration. When the parison was reheated, the raised areas became opalescent. (2) A type of glass resembling the iridescent gemstone opal, which was developed by Fredrick Carder (1863-1963) at Steuben Glass Works in Corning, New York.
Opaline - (Glass) Semi-translucent milk white glass which glows when held up to light.
Opaque-twist - (Glass) Glass Stems (See Latticino.) Came into favor about 1745 and stayed there till the end of the century.
Opera Glasses - (Scientific Instruments, Optical) Opera Glasses are a small pair of Binoculars used by women attending the opera and plays. They helped to bring the audience closer to the actors, facilitating a greater sense of intimacy and making the theatre experience that much more special. Opera glasses have been a visible part of theatre-life since the early 1800s. As well as being advertised for loan in theatre playbills in the second quarter of the 19th century, the term 'Opera Glass' was used 'as the title for no fewer that four theatrical and musical periodicals'. They came in many styles from the small binocular type and some had folding handles for holding them up to your eyes. The bodies of the glasses were also decorated with many different types of materials from mother-of-pearl, silver, and leather.
Orange Tongzhi – (Porcelain Chinese) Orange colored glaze used on porcelain. Although very little porcelain was actually made in Jingdezhen during the Tongzhi period (1861-1875), the reason being the Taiping rebellion (1851-64) which devastated the city and the porcelain industry. The Imperial factory was sacked in 1855 and did not reopen until 1874, nineteen years later.
Ormolu - (Metal, Bronze) Bronze, or brass of high purity containing an admixture of zinc, cast in ornamental forms and gilded; the use particularly favoured by the French for furniture mounts, clock-cases, vases, candlesticks, chandeliers.
Or Moulu - (Metal, Decoration) A gilt made from a fusion of finely ground gold with mercury, which came to mean the gilded metal itself, `ormolu'.
Orrery - (Scientific Instrument) A mechanism representing the motions of the planets round the sun, invented by George Graham, c. 1700, and named after Charles, Earl of Orrery, for whom a copy of the invention was made.
Ottoman - (Furniture) A backless upholstered sofa in what English cabinetmakers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries supposed to be the Turkish manner. Usually the ottoman is long and low but sometimes the term is used to describe what is little more than an upholstered stool.
Ouchak Rugs - (Floor Covering) From the great weaving centre of Ouchak in Asia Minor; valuable specimens can be found dating back to the sixteenth century. The earliest have medallion and Turkish scroll designs; `White' Ouchaks with white or ivory ground date from the seventeenth century. Can be very coarse (sixteen to seventy-two knots) but extremely durable and of carpet size.
Outside Decorators - (Ceramics, Decoration) Independent specialists in the decoration of porcelain to whom the factories sent their wares in the `biscuit' state for painting, enameling and gilding. Some Outside Decorators purchased the undecorated porcelain; others solicited work.
Over-glaze - (Ceramics, Decoration) Decoration applied to pottery and porcelain after glazing.
Overlay Glass - (Glass) See Cased Glass.
Ovolo - (Furniture, Decoration, Molding) A convex molding of which the section is a quarter circle. The popular term is 'quarter-round'. Ovolo moldings with egg-and-dart enrichment was a favored ornament on furniture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Owl Jug - (Ceramics, Earthenware, Stoneware, Pottery) Jug in the form of an owl; the detachable head is a cup. Made in earthenware (and stoneware) from as early as the mid-sixteenth century in Germany, and a popular Staffordshire product of the eighteenth century.
Oyster Veneer - (Wood) Veneer made up of discs (cross-sections) of wood cut from branches of trees and laid together as parquetry. Finely grained light-colored woods were used.