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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
|Tabouret - (Furniture, French) A low seat or stool. Upholstered examples were often made to match a beroere chair.
Tabriz Carpets - (Floor Covering) Persian, of fine weave; Ghiordiz knot; fine, short wool pile. The best Tabriz carpets and rugs are of extremely high quality being noted for graceful designs of cnrved medallions and scrolls; animals and birds are sometimes incorporated. The main colours: red, blue, green, ivory. Five to eight stripe border. Beautiful silk carpets are sometimes encountered.
Taisho – (Japan Period) In Japan, during the years 1913-1926.
Takamakie - (Japanese Lacquer) "Raised Sprinkled Design". Makie in which the design is raised above the surface of the ground by one or more foundation layers that include a thickening agent, usually clay or charcoal powder. The powders are then sprinkled over the wet top layer of this raised design, given a protective coat of lacquer to keep them in place, and polished.
Tallboy - (Fruniture) A chest-on-chest that evolved out of the chest-on-stand in the early eighteenth century.
Tambour - (Furniture, Door) Narrow strips of wood glued side by side to stout canvas to form sliding doors in Hoosier cabinets and sideboards, and sliding roll-top covers on late eighteenth-century writing desks.
T'ang Dynasty - (Period, China) (A.D. 618-906) - See Chinese.
Tankard - (Wood, Silver, Glass, Pewter) Originally a drinking vessel of wooden staves hooped together, but now the term applies to a one-handled mug, drum-like, of pewter or silver, usually fitted with a lid.
Tantalus - (Decorative Arts, Household) A Tantalus, by an obvious analogy, is also the term for a type of drinks decanter stand in which the bottle stoppers are firmly clamped down by a locked metal bar, as a means of preventing servants from stealing the master's liquor. The decanters themselves usually remained clearly visible. However, a Tantalus can also come in a locking box form.
Tapestry - (Textile) A hand-woven fabric in which the pattern is woven on a loom. Of the two weaving systems, in the haute lisse (high warp) the loom is upright and the leashes are worked by hand, whereas in the basse lisse (low warp) the loom is horizontal and the leashes are operated by heddles and treadles. In the Middle Ages, Arras and Bruges were great tapestry centres; in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the French factories Gobelins, Beauvais, Savonnerie, Aubusson were supreme. Mortlake, a factory that flourished c. 1620-1700, is the only English manufactory that can be mentioned in company with the foregoing names.
Tarsia - (Furniture, Decoration) In the 15th Century Italians developed tarsia which is an intricate type od inlaid marquetry using different colored wood, mother-of-pearl, bone and metal.
Taws - (Game, Ceramic) Balls made of pottery and used in the game of carpet bowls.
Tazza - (Tableware, Glass, Silver) A tazza can be either a Shallow-bowled drinking cup used for wine in the 16th and 17th centuries or a salver or flat dish with a central foot.
Tea-caddy - (Kitchen, Wood) A small box for holding tea, known as a 'tea chest' until the late eighteenth century. Often made of fine woods and delicately finished, tea-caddies were made in various shapes, inlaid, plain, lacquered. Some caddies are divided into interior compartments lined with pewter (two usually; one for black and one for green tea); others were intended to hold canisters for different kinds of tea.
Tea-canister - (Kitchen, Glass, Metal, Pottery) Container for tea which was itself contained in the tea-caddy; made of glass, metal, pottery, occasionally silver.
Teak - (Wood) Dark brown wood from India and Burma; very strong and durable and heavy; it was used in the eighteenth century in England but its weight was a problem for shipping.
Teapot - (Silcer, Ceramics, Poecelain) The earliest known English silver teapot (1670) is inscribed `tea pott' ; but for this inscription the vessel would probably be taken for a coffee-pot, for there was no difference in their form at first. Towards the end of the seventeenth century a squat form copied from Chinese hot water pots of porcelain began to appear. During the first quarter of the eighteenth century a pear-shaped body with a high domed lid was usual; then a globular body and moulded base was the rule till the last quarter of the eighteenth century, when an oval body with a straight spout came into fashion. When porcelain came into favour in the second half of the eighteenth century it was of course quickly adopted for teapots.
Teapoy - (Furniture) At first in the mid-eighteenth century a small three-legged individual table on which tea was served; later the tea-caddy stood on it and later still, from about 1812, became one with it to form a pedestal table with lifting top in which tea was kept. Papier mache much used from the 1840's.
Tebo - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Decorator, England) Mr Tebo is a rather mysterious figure linked with the T° mark that has been found on porcelain produced at Bow, Worcester, Plymouth and possibly Bristol. Some figures so marked are remarkably well modelled.
Te-hua - (Ceramic, Porcelain, China) A type of Chinese porcelain made at Te-hua in Fukien Province; the best examples are of superb quality, extremely translucent. Sometimes known as blanc-dechine, the whiteness of this porcelain ranges from almost bluish chalk-white to cream. Small figures of Buddha and the like are typical and European figures are encountered. (Ming.)
Telephone Stand - (Furniture) A small table with the space for a telephone, a directory, and a seat or bench that is sometimes attached. Also called Telephone Set and Gossip Bench.
Temmoku - (Ceramic, Pottery, Japanese) The dark heavy body has an extremely thick black or blue-black glaze streaked with brown. Conical tea-bowls were the principal products, which were prized by the Japanese, who also copied the ware, and gave it the name temmoku.
Tenon - (Furniture, Joinery) See Mortise and Tenon.
Terracotta - (Ceramics, Pottery) Red earthenware. In Italian terracotta maens baked earth.
Term - (Furniture) Pedestal stand in the form of a human bust usually of a child or a woman.
Terre de Pipe - (Ceramics, Pottery, France) The term applies to the products of some French faience factories. The paste has a hard white quality and is covered with a very thin transparent glaze. In French terre de pipe means pipe clay.
Tester - (Furniture) A term used in the sixteenth century for the canopy of a bed. In the case of four-poster beds, the tester is the wooden ceiling supported by the headboard and the posts.
Thermometer – (Scientific Instrument) An instrument for measuring temperature, especially one having a graduated glass tube with a bulb containing a liquid, typically mercury or colored alcohol, that expands and rises in the tube as the temperature increases.
Throwing - (Ceramics, Pottery) Early term for turning a pot on a wheel.
Tiffany & Co - (Silversmith American) New York, New York - Founded by Charles L. Tiffany in 1837 with Charles L. Young under the Name of Tiffany & Young. They first stocked their store with Stationary, Chinese Bric-a-brac, fans, umbrellas, desks, and pottery. They bought most of their silver from John C. Moore. The name changed to Tiffany, Young & Ellis in 1845. In 1853 Charles Tiffany assumed control of the company and changed the name to Tiffany & Co. In 1851 Tiffany was the first company to adopt the English 925/1000 Sterling Standard. The United States Government later adopted the same standard.
Tiger-ware Jug - (Ceramics, Stoneware, German) English term for German salt-glazed stoneware jug as imported into England in the sixteenth century. These jugs are round-bellied and with a cylindrical neck. The name derives from the brown mottled glaze.
Till - (Furniture, Luggage) A tray or shallow drawer, especially as fitted in a medieval chest or in presses and cupboards in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A tray inside a trunk.
Tin Enamel or Tin Glaze - (Ceramics, Pottery, Decoration) Lead glaze, rendered opaque by the addition of oxide of tin, used on pottery. Delft, faience and maiolica are tin-enamelled.
Ting - (Kitchen, Bronze, Chinese) Ancient, three-footed or sometimes four, bronze cooking vessel. Usually circular in shape, with two handles standing up from the rim. Rectangular examples are known.
Ting Ware - (Ceramics, Porcelain, China) Porcelain of the Sung period made originally at Ting Chou, Chihli Province, and later (after 1127) in the district of Chi Chou, Kiangsi Province-hence the terms `northern Ting' for the earlier product and `southern Ting' for the later, though it is almost impossible to distinguish one from the other. The body is white with an orange-tinted translucency and the glaze may be cream or ivory white or, on a coarser ware, yellowish. Decoration is carved or impressed under the glaze. Vessels were fired upside down and thus the lip is unglazed and sometimes mounted with a band of copper.
Toasting Glass - (Glass) A firing glass, but there was a distinct type of toasting glass (early Georgian) made with an extremely slender stem that could be snapped between finger and thumb -for the special occasion. Because of their nature few if any have survived.
Toast-master Glass - (Glass) Drinking glass of ordinary appearance but with deceptive bowl that holds only a thimbleful of liquid. From about 1750.
Toby Jug - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) Pottery jug made in the form of a seated man holding a mug and a clay pipe. This is the basic form; there are, of course, variations. The first maker may well have been Ralph Wood. Genuine old Toby jugs have hollow legs and feet and are much lighter in weight than one might expect.
Toddy Rummer - (Glass) A large, strong, glass vessel in which hot toddy. was prepared; made from the 1780's; too heavy and awkward to drink from with any ease. The bowls usually engraved with considerable artistry and skill.
Toft, Thomas - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) Seventeenth century Staffordshire potter. Surviving pieces by Toft are few, mostly in museums, but are identifiable by his marked name and his style of slip decoration.
Togidashi Makie - (Japanese Lacquer) Flattened sprinkled design. Makie in which the lacquer is thickly applied over the sprinkled design, then repeatedly polished over the entire surface until the design becomes flush with the background.
Toilet Mirror - (Mirror) Mirrors for the dressing table seem to have been first made in England about the time of the Restoration; the fashion came from France. They were usually square in shape, decorated with stump-work, and were frequently supported by means of a hinged strut at the back. A mirror was normally included in the toilet sets that came in after the Restoration. See Mirrors for an introduction to the subject.
The toilet mirror, or dressing glass, mounted on a stand came into favour at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The framed glass swivelled between uprights and the stand or base was fitted with drawers and compartments to hold toilet requisites. The head of the mirror is usually arched in Queen Anne and George I examples and the favoured wood was walnut. The use of mahogany became usual about 1745 but the design changed but little till the classical revival when it became simpler and the frame and glass was likely to be oval or shield shaped. By 1800 the shape became squarish again but of greater width than height. The last quarter of the eighteenth century saw the introduction of the full-length cheval dressing glass.
Tokkuri - (Ceramics, Pottery, Lacquerware, Japan) Sake container or vessel used to pour sake. It comes in many, styles, forms and materials. The most common material ceramic, but they can also be made of lacquer ware or metal. Japanese names for different forms are, Tsuru-kubi, Mentori, Rosoku, Henko, Kaku-bin, Uri (Ankoda), Hisago, Rakyou, Kabura, Dachibin, Kinchaku, Tawara, Katakuchi, Karakara (Yukanbin), Katasuki, Kamo (Duck). The favorite styles of Tokkuri anr Bizen, Iga, Imari, Mino, and Shigaraki. Another word for Tokkuri is Choshi, Choshi are usually made of metal and have a handle.
Tompion, Thomas - (Clock, Maker) (1640-1713) The greatest of English clockmakers; son of a Bedfordshire blacksmith, he so prospered as to die a rich man and be buried in Westminster Abbey. The date of his coming to London is not known, but he entered the Clockmakers' Company in 1671 (when he was thirty-one) as a fully qualified craftsman. He was not one of the great innovators; his pre-eminence lies in his all-round excellence, his exquisite craftsmanship, his natural good taste. His cases are usually simple and clean-lined and beautifully proportioned.
Tongzhi – (Chinese) Emperor Tongzhi was emperor of China during the Qing Dynasty from 1862 to 1874
Torchere - (Lighting, French) A similar piece of furniture to the gueridon but taller.
Tortoiseshell - (Decoration) The shell or scales of the tortoise has the useful property of becoming plastic when heated and retaining a desired shape when cooled. The history of tortoiseshell ware is long in Japan, with pieces among the treasures at Shosoin. During the Edo period, however, methods of joining pieces became known, and a variety of complex techniques became possible. Layering, carving and inlay techniques became characteristic of Tokyo products, including eyeglass frames. Its use as a furniture veneer was common in Holland and some other European countries during the seventeenth century, but in England it was little if at all used until after the introduction of Boulle furniture. It was used as decoration on many small items, like tea boxes, lorgnettes, etc.
Touch - (Pewter, Mark) Pewterer's mark usually the maker's initials.
Tournai - (Ceramics, Porcealin, Belgium) Porcelain first produced at this Belgian factory in 1751; in 1752 the name of Manufacture Irnperiale et Royale was adopted. Excellent Sevres-like porcelain was made; during the nineteenth century the wares of Chelsea and Worcester were imitated a lot. Crossed swords with four tiny crosses are a common mark, as is a tower. There is a class of modern fakes, very thin in the body, that is marked with a large tower.
Towel Bar – (Household, Utilitarian) A Towel Bar is a rack specifically made to hang a towel on. It can be hung or attached to a wall and are sometimes incorporated into a piece of furniture. They can be made from metal, wood, glass, or ceramic. Some are very decorative.
Toyokuni III, Utagawa - 1786 - 1865 (Japanese, Artist, Woodblock, Print, Ukiyo-e) Utagawa Toyokuni III, also known as Utagawa Kunisada, was the most popular, prolific and financially successful designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. In his own time, his reputation far exceeded that of his contemporaries, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi.
Trademark - (Mark) In 1266 A.D., English bakers were ordered to mark each loaf of bread so that if a faulty one turned up, "it will be knowne in whom the faulte lies." The bakers' marks were among the first trademarks.
Train - (Clock) Horological term for the series of wheels and pinions which, geared together, form the mechanism of a clock or watch; examples are chiming train, going train, striking train.
Transfer Printing - (Ceramics, Pottery, Porcelain, Decoration) This technique of decorating pottery and porcelain seems to have been an English invention and is largely confined to English wares. It dates from the 1750's. The method involves inking an engraved copper plate and taking a paper print from this; while the ink is still wet the impression is transferred from the paper to the ware; the paper is then soaked off and the coloured design fixed by firing. (See Bat-printing.) Early users of the process: Battersea Enamel Works, Bow, Worcester, Sadler & Green of Liverpool.
Transferware - (Decoration) Underglaze printing is intricate, and remains much the same as it was centuries ago. A design is created on a piece of paper, and then carved onto a copper plate. It is heated with oxides to produce the blue color, and wiped clean of the excess. The pattern is then transferred to a piece of tissue paper, and the tissue is transferred to a blank ceramic piece. The piece is immersed in water so the tissue will float away, leaving the intricate pattern behind. The piece is then glazed and heated in a kiln, producing a finished product. Transferware pottery and earthenware comes in a verity of colors with blue being the most popular and common, there is red, brown, purple, black, etc.
Transylvanian Rugs - (Floor Covering) From Transylvania but originating in Asia Minor and of intriguing interest to the specialist with their seventeenth century dark fields and arabesques and colours in spandrels and corners, then their eighteenth century Turkish and more simplified designs. Most common later specimens have ivory fields and motifs in red and brown, threestripe border and coarse weaves.
Tray - (Furniture) Sheraton in his Cabinet Dictionary (1803) defines trays as `boards with rims round them, on which to place glasses, plates, and a tea equipage', but in medieval times the tray, or `voyder' as it was then called, was used mainly for the removal of dirty dishes and scraps from the dining table. Few trays survive from earlier than the mid-eighteenth century. Pierced or lattice-work rims were popular. In the first edition of Chippendale's Director (1754) there are several designs for 'tea-trays or voiders'. Later in the eighteenth century much more ornamentation (such as marquetry) is introduced. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries papier m&che trays and trays of japanned metal were manufactured in quantities in Birmingham. Trays of silver survive from the end of the seventeenth century, some superbly chased and engraved.
Treaty of Portsmouth - (Event) The negotiations to end the Russo-Japanese war began at Sagamore Hill when President Theodore Roosevelt invited diplomats on both sides, Russia and Japan, to his home in Oyster Bay. Negotiations continued at and near a naval base in Portsmouth, because it was federal property and cool in the summer. Delegates also went back and forth to Oyster Bay to confer with TR. TR set up the final settlement, and the treaty was signed at the US Navy base in Portsmouth. Thus the accord is called the "Treaty of Portsmouth". Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his work in the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. This made him the first American to win a Nobel Prize in any of the categories.
Treen - (Household, Utilitarian, Woodenware) Articles of wood, small domestic objects such as bowls, spoons.
Trencher - (Household, Utilitarian, Woodenware) Plate of wood, and later of pewter.
Trencher Salt - (Ceramic, Glass) Small open salt cellar introduced in the second quarter of the seventeenth century; often in sets.
Trestle - (Furniture) A Trestle is a portable support consisting of solid shaped ends secured to massive feet and usually held in position by stretcher beams. Trestles have been used since the middle ages for furniture that can be disassembled. Mostly on Trestle Tables.
Trestle Table - (Furniture) A Trestle Table is a long table top supported by trestles, the normal dining table from the Middle Ages until the introduction of the joined table in the sixteenth century. The trestle table was a prime example of mobility and ease of transport. It was extremely popular through the end of the 17th Century and has remained somewhat popular since then.
Tric-trac Board - (Game) Tric-trac is a form of backgammon; boards, very decorative some of them, survive from the seventeenth century.
Tridarn - (Furniture) Welsh variety of the three-stage cupboard or press; the top stage is open and is often removable.
Trifle - (Pewter) Common pewter, 83 parts tin to 17 antimony.
Tri-lobe - (Decorative Motif) Similar to a Trefoil. Three clover leaf-like lobes usually seen in a repeating patterns.
Tripod - (Furniture) Three-footed support which came into use for English furniture in the early eighteenth century.
Trivet - (Hearth Accessories) Metal stand on which to place a pot or kettle or other vessel beside the fire. The usual form has three legs and a projecting handle and often a curved top, but four-legged examples with rectangular tops are to be found, and a quite different type is the hanging trivet which is attached to the top bar of the grate.
Trompe l’Oeil – (Fine Art Style) A French term literally meaning, "trick the eye”. Sometimes called illusionism, it is a style of painting, which gives the appearance of three-dimensional or photographic realism. It flourished from the Renaissance onward. The discovery of linear perspective in fifteenth-century Italy and advancements in the science of optics in the seventeenth-century Netherlands enabled artists to render object and spaces with eye-fooling exactitude. Both playful and intellectually serious, trompe l’oeil artists toy with spectators' seeing to raise questions about the nature of art and perception.
Troy - The Troy system is used in quoting the price of Gold, Silver, Platinum, and other precious metals. Units of measure used are Grain, Pennyweight, Troy Ounce and Troy Pound. 1 Avoirdupois (system of measurement used in the United States) Pound equals = 14.58333 Troy Ounces
Truckle Bed - (Furniture) Small bed which could be pushed under a larger bed.
Trusses - (Musical Instruments, Piano) The Trusses are the proper name for the legs of the piano.
Tsuba - (Weapon, Japanese) Sword-guard, often elaborately decorated.
Tsuikoku - (Japanese Lacquer) Carved black lacquer. Method of decoration in which the design is carved into black lacquer that has been built up out of many thin layers.
Tsuru-kubi - (Japanese) Sake vessel form. Narrow at the neck with bulbous base and flat bottom.
Tsuishu - (Japanese Lacquer) Carved red lacquer. The design is carved into red lacquer built up out of many thin layers.
Tulip Wood - (Wood) A heavy hard wood, light-coloured with reddish stripes, from the West Indies and Brazil. Used in England for marquetry and veneer in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Tumbler - (Glass) A straight-sided, stemless drinking glass, formerly with a rounded base.
Tunbridge ware - (Furniture, Decoration) Place-name given to a marquetry veneer so microscopic and detailed it has been called the `English mosaic'; from late eighteenth century though some would say from the late seventeenth century; but the early evolution of the ware is obscure, with the nineteenth century the heyday. Designs are frequently geometrical; the elongated triangle, the diamond and the parallelogram are typical. Many, many woods were used, the important thing was that they be colourful and have attractive graining.
Turkey Work - (Textiles) Upholstery, cushions and carpets knotted, in the manner of Turkish rugs, to form a pile. Turkey work was practised and so-called in England from the early sixteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century.
Turned Chair - (Furniture, Decoration) Chair of which the members of the legs and back consist of turned work.
Turner, John - (Ceramics, Pottery, Stoneware, England) Staffordshire potter of Stoke and Lane End, active 1755-82, noted for his white stoneware, cream-coloured earthenware, and his jasper particularly. He was a founder member of the New Hall Porcelain Company. The Lane End factory was continued by his sons, John and William, until the early years of the nineteenth century.
Turner, Thomas - (Ceramics, Porcelain, England) Proprietor of the Caughley porcelain factory.
Turnings - (Furniture, Decoration) Lathe-turned wood.
Turquerie - (Style, Decoration) Objects in the Turkish style of Chinoiserie.
Tutenag - (Metal) Zinc; but see Paktong.
T&V Limoges France - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Mark, Decorating Factory) Tressemann & Vogt Porcelain Decorating Factory Limoges, France (1881 - 1907) Gustave Vogt’s Father John Vogt was in the Porcelain Decorating and Export Business. In the early 1870 John took over the decorating studio in Limoges. In 1881 he took on a partner Tressemann or Tressemanes. Their partnership lasted 16 years until 1907. After 1907 until 1919, the company was known as Porcelaine Gustave Vogt. Martial Raynaud bought the company in 1919.
Tyg - (Ceramics, Glass) A many-handled drinking vessel. Usually three handles.
Tz'u Chou Ware - (Ceramics, Stoneware, China) Stoneware made at Tz'u Chou (which is now in Chihli Province) since the Sung dynasty. The porcellaneous body is pale grey or yellowish-grey, with slip decoration usually, and covered with a transparent glaze. The sgraffito technique (incising the design through the slip on to the body) was also used. Both technically and artistically Tz'u Chou wares are of a high order.