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English Antique Furniture Glossary

Aesthetic Movement
as a reaction to what many regarded as a growing philistinism in Victorian England, this movement developed in the 1870’s and 1880’s, emphasizing high art and refined tastes for antique furniture.
alligator bracket
an old shelving design that is still used today. Resembling the spiny scale pattern of an alligator’s back, the alligator brackets usually run the full length of a shelf or cabinet, allowing for great flexibility. Fitted strips of wood are set into corresponding brackets on either side, upon which a shelf is placed.
the process of aging a reproduction piece. This includes wood, hardware and other materials. Wood is often distressed and shaded, while brass is usually treated with a solution that alters the normally golden gleam to a duller silver that more closely resembles the aging process.
the part of a piece of furniture that runs just under the top or seat and attaches the legs (as in a chair or table). sometimes called a “skirt.”
a cupboard with closed doors that originated during the Renaissance. Today, armoire refers especially to a furniture piece that holds clothes. Often, the word is used synonymously with “wardrobe.”
Arts and Crafts Movement
a movement that flourished in Europe and the USA, the Arts and Crafts Movement was characterized most by its reaction against industrialism and mass-production; it began in the mid-19th century and carried on well into the 20th. Participants in the movement sought to revive old techniques and to emphasize artisanship and high-quality materials.
Art Nouveau
influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, this movement, the name of which means “new art,” began in the late-19th century and carried on into the early 20th century, emphasizing senuous shapes and organic forms. The movement took root in Europe and the USA; in Scotland, a version of it became known as the “Glasgow Style” or “Glasgow School.”
astragal moulding
a type of moulding usually used on glass doors, where thin strips of wood crisscross the glass in regular patterns.
bachelor’s chest
generic term applied to a small, usually Georgian-style chest of drawers.
the component of a pull that forms the plate attached to the surface.
ball-and-claw feet
feet carved in the image of a ball gripped by a clawed foot resembling that of a bird.
thick, turned column that is larger in the middle and often used as a component of a leg.
barley twist
a type of framing that usually consists of the image of a round, carved band winding around a column. Sometimes, the column is dispensed with and replaced by a second twist, which intertwines with the first. Barley twist is an abstracted version of the head of barley grass containing the grains.
Baroque Period
period of time taking place after the Renaissance during the 17th century.
barrel-top desk
usually a writing desk with a rounded face resembling a section of a barrel. The face retracts up into the structure of the desk and usually can be locked when closed.
barrister bookcase
a bookcase composed of stacking sections covered by glass doors that swing up and retract into the bookcase. Also known as a “lawyer bookcase,” this bookcase was invented by Otto H.L. Wernicke circa 1890 and popularized by the Globe-Wernicke company.
beaded edging
carved trim that is composed of half-bead shapes.
a pattern of usually satinwood inlay that resembls flowers in the shape of a bell.
usually the sloping edge of glass characteristic of antique furniture; sometimes used in other materials such as wood or metal.
Biedermeir Period
lasting from 1815 to 1848 in Germanic countries, the bourgeois style of this period became the German version of the French Empire Style, which began in France with Napoleon’s desire to revive the grandeur of ancient Rome. The Biedermeir style adapted many of the neo-classical aspects of the Empire style, including moulding, columns and other neo-classical designs. Biedermeir furniture was also influenced by English Sheraton furniture. The principle concern of Biedermeir design was comfort, convenience, and practicality, which extended to affordability. Thus furniture from this time period tended to feature more curves and upholstery and, although decorated with an assortment of inlays and carvings, was absent of excess or significant embellishments.
bird’s eye
a striking burl wood grain pattern that resembles birds’ eyes.
bobbin twist
similar to barley twist, the bobbin twist is a form of carved framing. Instead of winding bands, however, bobbin twist framing tends to resemble bobbins carved around a round, central column. Sometimes referred to as “bobbin turned.”
bonnet top
a curved cornice whose crest is split, with the sides curving upwards in the shape of a bonnet.
a shape applied to various furniture items, including chests of drawers, side tables and sideboards, that resembles the curve of a bow.
bowl star inlay
a type of inlay usually featuring alternating ebony and satinwood, and which appears as half of a star.
bracket foot
a foot that stems out from a furniture piece, usually a chest of drawers, which forms a square corner and usually features some type of shaping on the sides.
a design where the central section of a piece protrudes more than the sides, thus producing a kind of “broken” front.
a furniture piece usually placed on the wall featuring drawers and cabinets. Often used synonymously with “sideboard” and “server.”
bun feet
also called “ball feet,” bun feet resemble round, carved balls and usually have flat bottoms.
a piece of furniture designed for writing featuring a slanted face called a “fall” that opens to reveal a desk section. The fall rests on supports that sometimes automatically protract. Often used synonymously with “secretary.”
a feature of wood resulting from unusual growth that produces a striking grain.
cabriole leg
originating in East Asia, this leg type developed in England during the Queen Anne Period (1702-1714). Typically, cabriole legs curved in a serpentine shape and end in ball-and-claw feet. Still popular with Queen Anne Style furniture today, the cabriole leg features a strong knee that negates the need for a stretcher. Thus, when the leg became popular during the Queen Anne period, chairs, tables and other items that began to use cabriole legs also tended not to use stretchers. Also, the general shape and design of furniture in general took on a more sinuous shape in adaptation to the cabriole leg. The result was a style that remains distinct today as it was then.
caddie chest
typically, a small, straight chest of drawers with no moulding or carving but simply a square-shaped chest ending in feet, which are often splayed.
rattan woven into open-holed patterns for use in furniture, particularly in chair backs and seats.
canted corner
corners that, rather than being square, appear to have a section of wood cut out, thus replacing the ninety degree angle with a flat face.
card table
a small table, usually round or square and about 3′ x 3′, used for card-playing and other table games. The card table was esepcially popular in the 19th century, and very often features some folding design, one of which allows for the table to be used as a demi-lune when not used as a a card table, and the top flips open to double the counter surface area.
a round ball or flat-edged circle attached to the base or foot of a piece of furniture for the purpose of rolling it about.
chaise lounge
a long, usually upholstered chair with a high back in one corner. Chaise lounges tend to rest on legs, leaving an open space under them. Chaise lounges are particularly suited to reclining or laying down.
cherry wood
a light-weight wood with a soft, mellow grain used mostly in informal and country style furniture. Cherry often displays knots and other natural patterns, and its grain is similar to pine but the lines are not as pronounced and the pattern is softer and more sweeping.
a prototype to the chest of drawers, this is typically just a container with a lid. Often identified synonymously with coffers, chests differ in that they have flat tops, whereas coffers, which were designed for travel, have rounded tops to allow rain to run off. Chests were very popular in pre-Jacobean periods, and very few pieces besides chests survive from those times. This is because chests tended to be very sturdy and built of oak, which is a particularly strong, durable wood.
a sofa and chair design incorporating buttoned leather upholstery with brass brads. The Chesterfield style is renouned world-wide for its striking, sought-after elegance. Chesterfield sofas and chairs tend to have incredibly thick, plush cushions and are as comfortable as they are visually striking.
chest of drawers
a modification of the chest that saw its development in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. The development of jointed rather than nailed furniture allowed for more versatile, long-lasting designs such as the chest of drawers. Before jointed furniture construction (which saw the arrival of dovetails), furniture featured very thick planks nailed together, which were much more prone to warping and splitting than jointed furniture pieces with smaller planks.
a chest of drawers that is exceptionally tall, often as a result of a marriage betwen two chests of drawers, often from two different time periods.
Cheval mirror
features a mirror that swivels forward and backward on a stand, usually with a drawer below the mirror.
sometimes used to describe a high, narrow chest of drawers, the term also applies to furniture pieces similar to sideboards, except they tend to be of lesser length.
derives from the French “chinois” for “Chinese.” A style of furniture, art and design that uses Chinese or pseuod-Chinese symbols, motifs and design. Lacquer is common.
Chippendale Style
Named for the English cabinetmaker, Thomas Chippendale, who wrote The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director (1754), which was widely read and imitated. Chippendale chairs tend to have carved, pierced backs and sinuous arms. Other furniture pieces tend to feature decorative arches, fluting and rectilinear symmetry.
clerk’s desk
often resembling lecterns, these desks tend to be high off the ground with a slanted face that lifts to reveal a storage area. Clerk’s desks are high because they were designed to be used standing. In the past, it was common for a room to have many of these desks with clerks working all day at them, thus representing an interesting analog to offices and cubicle spaces today.
similar to a chest, coffers are a very old design used for general home storage most commonly in pre-Jacobean periods. Coffers, though often identified synonymously with chests, differ in that they feature a rounded top designed to allow water to run off. Along with chests, coffers are the most common furniture items surviving from pre-Jacobean periods because they were sturdily built and very often were made from oak, which is a particularly strong, durable wood.
often refers to a table fixed to a wall and supported by only two legs but also refers generally to any wall table.
an office furniture piece, usually featuring many drawers and cabinets and sometimes similar to a miniature desk, which sits behind the desk. Credenzas are very often used for holding computers and for this reason many people call them “computer desks.”
quite simply the crown or top of a piece; specifically, the apex, typically carved or adorned in some way.
often shortened to just “banding,” crossbanding is a form of inlay or veneer that forms a border around a furniture piece or parts of a furniture piece. Examples include drawer fronts with crossbanding or the top of a chest of drawers with crossbanding. Most often, the wood used for crossbanding is a different wood than the main wood, and typically differs in shade or tint from the main wood. The most popular woods used for banding in English furniture are satinwood and yew, with mahogany, rosewood and other types being less common. Banding of the same wood type is also used commonly.
a furniture piece used for storing dishes, utensils and/or food.
literally, “half-moon.” Refers to a shape of furniture, usually in tables.
dental moulding
decorative moulding comprised of a line of squares that resemble teeth.
an antiquing technique used in reproduction furniture that involves creating stress marks, stains and burns in furniture pieces to make them appear old. When combined with other antiquing techniques, skillful distressing can help to create an incredibly genuine appearance.
two interlocking joints produce these “dovetails,” which are triangular or squarish sections where the wood of one plank interlocks with another.
drawleaf table
a table design where sections or “leaves” of the table retract beneath the table surface when extra length is not needed. The underside of the table is usually lined with felt or some other soft material in order to avoid scratching the leaves. Drawleaf tables and other folding furniture originate in large part from the propensity of pre-Jacobean fine furniture to be collapsable or foldable, thus allowing nobles and their retinues to travel more easily between their various estates.
this term has been used to apply to a serving table but today the most common applications refer to a chest of drawers, a cupboard or cabinet for storing dishes (e.g. the Welsh dresser), or a bureau or dressing table with a mirror.
dropleaf table
a table where sections or “leaves” of the table drop to the sides of the table, leaving the table much smaller and allowing for a variety of uses. Wooden slides or gatelegs pull or swing out to support the leaves with raised. Dropleaf tables and other folding furniture designs owe their versatility to the habit of pre-Jacobean nobles of frequently moving between estates. They needed furniture that was collapsable, foldable or otherwise easy to handle on the move, so during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, as the nobles began to lead more settled lives, these tables were developed.
ebony wood
any number of wood types that have been ebonized, or significantly darkened to the point of blackness. Ebony wood is most frequently used as a decorative inlay.
Eclectic Revivalism
a trend in the Victorian Period to adapt older styles (as the Gothic, Tudor and Jacobean styles) to contemporary needs and tastes.
Elizabethan Period
named for the long reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), this period immediately preceded the Jacobean Period (1603-1625) and became the end of the long line of Tudor Monarchs (1485-1603). This time period saw a return to older, medieval and Gothic styles, while it also featured significant innovations in furntiure, including the continued perfection of recent furniture developments such as jointed-frame furniture, including the chest of drawers.
a wood type that typically displays a heavily striated grain. Elm somewhat resembles pine, with a grain whose shape and direction varies more greatly, and whose stripes can abound to an incredible extent. Elm is native to England.
Empire Style
a style that began with Napoleon’s wish to revive the grandeur of ancient Rome, the Empire Style spread to the international sphere, manifesting in Germanic countries as the Biedermeir Style, in England as the Regency Style, and in America (via England) as the Federal Style. The Empire Style represented the height of neo-classical furniture and interior design, with anthropologically correct models that reflected designs from ancient Greece and Rome. Interestingly, at one point in time the Empire Style was so influential in France that many citizens wore togas.
a secretary, usually of French influence.
in furniture, an ornamental or protective plate surrounding a keyhole. Escutcheons are similar to the backplates on pulls and vary widely in appearance and style.
the face of a bureau or secretary that falls down to reveal the desk section.
fan inlay
a particularly inlay (or veneer) pattern that resembles a paper fan and most often consists of a combination of yellowish- and green-stained satinwood. Fan inlay is a neo-classical pattern popularized in the Georgian Period (1714-1820).
the result of the process of staining and coating wood. Contrary to its popular usage, “finish” is not synonymous with “wood type”; in other words, there is no such thing, for example, as a “cherry finish.” Thus, wood types are distinguished by their grain and not by their coloration, as the stain used in the finishing process determines the color more than the wood type.
a piece of furniture conisting of a tilting oval or square panel set in a frame. Typically, the panel is pressed metal (usually copper) or woven thread. Firescreens were developed as a protective barrier between a person and a fire but evolved to take on a much more decorative purpose.
flame mahogany
a striking variation of mahogany that is also known as “quartersawn” mahogany, which is obtained by cross-cutting the joint where the limb meets the trunk. As the wood ages and develops a patina, the grain and complexion of flame mahogany tend to become more pronounced and are capable of producing a stunning appearance.
floating paneling
loose panels that are held to a piece of furniture by a tight frame. Floating panels are a particularly old method of furniture construction and thus are characteristic of pieces that possess both fine quality and great age.
a pattern of parallel grooves popularized in the Georgian Period (1714-1820) used to decorate a variety of furniture surfaces, including legs, corners, columns, and table edges.
French leg
similar to the cabriole leg, the French leg is a squarish leg carved in a sinuous pattern that curves out from the joint, back in at the middle, and out again at the foot, which ends in a flat surface.
ornamental railing, sometimes used for hanging curtains or other fabric, mostly seen on sideboards and servers.
gateleg table
invented during the Jacobean Period (1603-1625), the gateleg table is a variation of the dropleaf table. This table features two to four gates that swing out to support raised leaves. The appeal of the gateleg versus a normal dropleaf is that the gateleg provides greater support to the leave and offers a greater opportunity to showcase the framing. The latter of these advantages is especially compelling when barley twist framing is used.
Georgian Period
named for the first four King Georges, the Georgian Period lasted from 1714 to 1820. English furniture of the time was typically simple but not plain, with adornment but not extravagence or embellishment. The principle design of the period tended to rely on neo-classical models. The Georgian Period also includes the Sheraton and Regency Styles. Influential designers of the time include George Hepplewhite (b?-1786) and Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806).
a furniture-making company famed for its stacking barrister bookcases, founded in 1904 when Otto Wernicke joined his company with Globe Files Co.
hall tree
also known as a “hall stand,” the hall tree is a piece of furniture, usually three feet wide or less and less than a foot deep, designed to hold hats, coats and umbrellas. Hall trees often feature small drawers and seats, in which case they are referred to as “hall seats.” Hall trees are most often made of oak.
Hepplewhite, George
born some time in the 18th century, George Hepplewhite died in 1786. A household name in England during his time, Hepplewhite’s widow, Alice, published his Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer’s Guide in 1788, two years after his death. The first major design guide published since Chippendale’s Director, Hepplewhite’s Guide was extremely influential for cabinetmakers, upholsterers and customers alike for years thereafter. His Guide reflects a version of Robert Adam’s style that was popular in the 1780’s and typically features inlays and painting rather than carvings, a trend that was highly characteristic of Georgian Period furniture. Interestingly, no existing piece of Hepplewhite’s furniture has been identified.
herringbone veneer
a style of veneer, usually satinwood, composed of two very small, straight-grained sections of veneer, usually cut from the same timber, whose grain oppose one another at forty-five degree angles so as to bear a resemblance to the spinal pattern of a herring.
hunt cabinet
cabinets of a variety of styles and origins that bear intricately carved hunting scenes and animal trophies. Hunt cabinets very often feature strikingly lifelike, three-dimensional reliefs and figures. Techniques such as chip carving and texture carving are frequently used in hunt cabinets.
sometimes a synecdochical term for “Welsh dresser,” a hutch is the part of the Welsh dresser that sits on top of the base. Hutches are also found in some credenzas, cabinets and other furniture.
wood, mother-of-pearl, metal or other material set into a groove. Veneer, on the other hand, is overlaid on top of a surface.
inverted bowfront
like the bowfront shape, the inverted bowfront follows the curve of a bow but is concave rather than convex.
Irish wake table
a term that applies sometimes to all dropleaf tables and others specifically to gateleg tables. The Irish wake table would hold the body during the wake.
Jacobean Period
named for the reign of King James I (1603-1625), whose Hebraic name is Jacob, the Jacobean Period followed the Elizabethan period and preceded the English Civil War (1642-1651) and the Interregnum (1649-1660). In many ways, the Jacobean Period represents the beginning of modern Enlgish furniture, as it saw a time when many furniture designs were developed and perfected. Indeed, Jacobean craftsmen invented the gateleg table, which would become extremely popular in the 19th century.
ladies’ bureau
a small, narrow bureau, typically of light design and build.
ladies’ secretary
a small, narrow secretary, typically of light design and build.
ladies’ writing desk
a small, narrow writing desk, typically of light design and build. Ladies’ writing desks often feature a small hutch.
lawyer bookcase: see barrister bookcase.
leaded glass
glass that contains a high amount of lead oxide and as a result is very bright and clear.
an older term for “podium,” the lectern is similar to the clerks’ desk. Lecterns, however, tend to be narrower.
linen press
a cabinet, typically divided into two sections, with the top half composed of two doors and several interior shelves and the bottom half composed of drawers or more cabinet space. As the term indicates, linen presses in the past were often used to store clothing and linens but today they are more often used to house televisions and media consoles.
lion’s-paw feet
brass feet that were especially popular during the Regency Period (1800-1830) and which reflected Greek and Roman classical models.
loper table
a term used to apply to dropleaf tables.
a tropical wood with a soft, wispy grain.
elaborate decorative veneer patterns that form pictorial mosaics, typically using rare or exotic woods over more common woods; first recorded in the Italian Renaissance and later adopted by the 16th century in Germanic Europe and the Low Countries.
a combination between two furniture pieces that were not originally together. This is a very common practice in Welsh dresser, chest-on-chest, secretary bookcase and side table construction.
mortice-and-tenon joint
a joint formed by interlocking perpendicular pieces of wood. Dovetailed joints are a product of this technique.
the hard, shimmering substance that forms the inner surface of a mollusk shell. Highly prized as an inlay material, furniture pieces featuring mother-of-pearl tend to be of a very high quality.
this wood, native to England, displays a distinct, pronounced grain and is one of the strongest woods available to cabinetmakers.
occasional table
a table designed for special uses, such as card-playing, or as a specialized stand.
ogee feet
a type of shaped bracket feet, ogee feet differ in that they are shaped both on the inside and the outside, whereas shaped bracket feet are square on the outside.
oyster veneer
a highly prized veneer pattern obtained from cross-cut limbs. The favoured wood for this technique is yew.
pad feet
feet that end in distinct pads that extend slightly out from the leg itself.
invented during the Italian Renaissance to decorate floors, parquetry was first used on Northern European cabinets in the mid-17th century, veneered parquetry is similar to marquetry except that it employs geometrical shapes, the most popular of which are the cube, lozenge, trellis and dot trellis. Parquetry played a significant role in French Régence furniture as well as in 18th century neo-classicism.
partners’ desk
a desk, usually composed of two pedestals and a top, with seating and storage on both sides, thus allowing for two “partners” to both occupy the desk at the same time.
the visible character of aging that metal and wood take on after a long period of time. Wood tends to develop a more striking grain and complexion upon developing a rich enough patina.
pedestal desk
a desk composed of two pedestals and a top. The top and pedestals both house drawers and cabinets.
pembroke table
a dropleaf table featuring a drawer on one or both ends of the table, usually featuring round, fluted legs.
petite point
a style of fabric composed of tiny square cross-sections.
pierced backplate
a backplate “pierced” with decorative holes.
a wood somewhat similar to oak in appearance, with a smoother and less distinct grain.
plain twist framing
plain twist is very much like barley twist except the twined patterns more closely resemble flat planes wrapped about a round column.
planing: see spokeshaving.
plinth base
a flate base without feet and flush with the floor.
used as an analog to “cupboard,” more or less serving the same function.
a handle.
sawn from a quartered log so the annual rings are nearly at right angles to the face; produces the distinct tiger oak grain.
Queen Anne Period
named for Queen Anne’s regency (1702-1714), the Queen Anne period saw many innovations, inlcuding the development of the cabriole leg and the introduction of mahogany to English cabinetmakers.
pattern more or less identical with fluting.
Regency Period
named for the “regency” of King George IV (1811-1820), the Regency Period took place during the Georgian Period between 1800 and 1830. Representing the height of English neo-classicism, the Regency Style was actually the English adaptation of the Empire Style, which began with Napoleon and his spirations to the grandeur of Rome. The Regency Style grew so popular in America that an adaptation of it developed across the Atlantic, eventually becoming the Federal Style.
Régence Period
lasting from about 1710 to around 1730, the French Régence Period was named for the time when King Louis XV was too young to rule, so his uncle, Philippe d’Orléans, stood as regent (1715-1723). The Régence Period, a contemporary of the Queen Anne Period, was characterized by increasingly sinuous forms, informality, comfort, and whimsical design. This style also took inspiration from grotesque and arabesque ornamentation.
revolving bookcase
a small, tiered bookcase on casters invented during the Georgian Period.
Rococo: decorative style of the early to mid-18th century, principally in France, southern Germany and Austria. Rococo Style was characterized by naturalism and watery forms (e.g. the serpentine shape, lush floral carvings). Thomas Chippendale adapted some Rococo designs to his own style, and subsequently Rococo Revival became a Victorian cabinetry phenomenon.
a fine wood, usually red striped with black, used primarily for inlays and crossbanding.
dried, woven tuft plants used to make chair seats.
sabre leg: a leg, popular on 18th century chairs, that curves forwards.
usually a wood used for inlay, satinwood displays a small, fine, consistent grain.
Scottish chest of drawers
a large, highly stylized chest of drawers featuring spacious drawers and two decorative columns on either side of the face. Typically, Scottish chests of drawers have shaped drawer on one or more drawers.
secretary: see bureau.
a sinuous shape that takes its name from the S-shaped movement of serpents.
often synonymous with “sideboard,” servers tend to be higher and multi-tiered with open space.
Sheraton, Thomas
a highly influential designer of the 19th century, Thomas Sheraton was born in 1751 and died in 1806. Sheraton published several influential works, including The Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-book (1791-3), The Cabinet Dictionary (1803), and The Cabinet-maker, Upholsterer, and General Artist’s Encyclopaedia (1804). Sheraton’s highly stylized designs, which often featured innovative, multi-purpose furniture pieces, included square-backed chairs with reeded legs, Grecian couches, and the chair leg that curves forwards, known as the “sabre” leg. Sheraton’s designs included several of the Regency Style.
often synonymous with “server,” sideboards tend to be lower and single-tiered with a good deal of enclosed space.
skirt: see apron
spade feet
square, tapered feet that resemble the metal end of a spade or shovel.
splayed feet
thin, squarish-shaped feet that curv out slightly from the body of the furniture piece, and which are usually accompanied by a shaped skirt.
an ancient technique favoured by country- and rustic-style cabinetmakers instead of sanding; produces a somewhat rough, rutted surface (as on a table) rather than a perfectly smooth one.
the material used in or the result of the process whereby wood is chemically coloured as a step in the finishing process. Contrary to its popular usage, “stain” is not synonymous with “wood type”; in other words, there is no such thing, for example, as a “cherry stain.” Thus, wood types are distinguished by their grain and not by their coloration, as the stain used in the finishing process determines the color more than the wood type.
starburst veneer
a pattern resembling diverging rays of light. Typically, the veeners are cut from the same timber.
a piece of framing, usually horizontal and joining legs.
string inlay
very thin pieces of decorative inlay, usually satinwood or ebony wood.
swag inlay
inlay, usually light satinwood against a darker wood, characterized by curved lines hanging between two points, usually in floral or ribbon shapes.
swan-neck pull
pulls that dip sinuously from the left and right to form a handle in the middle. The dips resemble the swan necks for which the pulls are named.
a tall dresser or chest of drawers similar to a chest-on-chest, sometimes with a backsplash and mirror on top.
tear-drop moulding
moulding composed of a series of carvings that resemble a line of tear drops.
tear-drop pull
a pull in the shape of a tear drop.
textured carving
carving composed a multitude of small dots or markings that are employed to give the impression of three-dimensionality, often featured in intricately carved displays.
tiger oak
also known as quartersawn oak, this prized variety of oak displays distinct stripes like that of a tiger.
tongue-in-groove paneling
panels that are jointed by the interlocking of tongues and grooves. Tongue-in-groove paneling usually indicates sturdy, high-quality furniture, and is typical of antique furniture-making. When used in reproduction furniture, it especially signifies fine craftsmanship, as it is seldomly used today.
the ornamental application of gold onto another surface, especially leather; often referred to as “gold tooling.”
trestle table
a table, popular in England before 1450, the top of which rests on braced frames and can be disassembled for storage. Between the years 1450 and 1660, trestle tables were gradually replaced by those comprised of fixed frames.
Tudor Period
period of time ranging from the accession of Henry VII in 1485 and ending with the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.
turned framing
round framing that is shaped (“turned”) by a lathe.
synecdochical term for a cabinet or dresser with a mirror on top.
thin layer of wood specially glued onto another layer of wood. Typically, the veneered wood is of a higher quality than the wood beneath. Unlike contemporary conceptualizations of veneer work, the use of veneers in old times was recognized as skilled and elegant; the term did not acquire the generally pejorative sense until the 20th century, when mass-production furniture manufacturers used thinner veneers or wood substitutes like plastic or composite materials.
Victorian Period
named for the reign of Queen Victorian (1837-1901). Furniture of this period tended to feature a mix of older styles and was characterized by revivalism. Important movements included the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Art Nouveau Movement and Eclectic Revivalism.
imported into England from America and southern Europe, walnut has historically been a wood used principally in fine furniture. Whereas other woods like oak, elm and pine tend to have very pronounced grains, walnut is most identifiable not by the lines in the grain but by gradations in shading and a soft, swirly grain.
typically composed of a one- or two-door cabinet section with drawers at the bottom, wardrobes appear in a variety of designs and their principle function is the storage of clothes.
usually a small, straight table with a single drawer and a backsplash, washstands would have been set with a bowl, a water jar and a cup.
Welsh dresser
Welsh dressers are not unique to Wales but are nevertheless characteristic of Welsh interior furniture. These dressers usually feature a base on shaped bracket feet with drawers and cabinets as well as an open rack or hutch on top.
Windsor chair
a chair, usually oak, composed of an oval, spindle-framed backrest and turned legs adjoined to a slab seat by mortice-and-tenon joints.
writing desk
also known as a “writing table,” this desk may feature between one and six drawers, often contains a leather writing surface and is comprised of a large, flat top resting on four legs.
x-framed chair
an ancient chair design borrowed from Greek and Roman models, the x-framed chair was a folding chair adapted to the mobile lifestyle of the early English nobility, who frequently traveled between their estates.
yew wood
this wood, native to England, features a grain characterized by long, straight lines that end in soft, wispy curves. Spotting and significant differences in coloration are common. Yew is also the favoured wood type of oyster veneering.