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 My Granny's Attic Antiques and Collectibles & Custom Gifts - Antiques Collectibles Kitsch   How To Value Your Antiques & Collectibles Resources and Reference  Antique Glossary 2 

Definitions for Antique and Collectible Related Words - Glossary

 

I will be adding to this continually, so if there is a word that you are curious about please let me know and I will get it posted here eventually. I have tried to post words that you will not find in most places.

A GLOSSARY OF ANTIQUE TERMS AND WORDS

 

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EAPG:  Early American Pressed Glass or Pattern Glass. The discovery of a mechanical means for producing press-molded glass was very important. Prior to this discovery, all glass was cut by hand which made it very expensive and out of reach for the masses. There are 3 original methods for pressing glass 1) Block Molding, which is the easiest. 2} Split Molding, the mold is made up of two or more parts, each part is blown and fitted together to form 1 cohesive piece and 3) Font Molding- each piece is formed is identical to the next in shape and size. The U.S. patent office still holds many of the glass pattern designs as well as the blueprints for the machinery and techniques used. But many of these items were lost in a fire in 1836.

EPNS: is a plating of silver deposited on a core of nickel silver. Nickel silver is an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc; it contains no silver at all. A variety of metals were used as the core for plated goods - copper, britania, pewter, etc; whatever the base, the process is the same.

EPWN:  Electroplated over white metal.

EARTHENWARE:  Term for a type of pottery which is porous and requires a glaze.

ECUELLE:  A covered shallow bowl usually with two flat handles at the rim and a stand.

EDWARDIAN PERIOD: Post 1901 to approximately World War 1, but the actual demise of Edward the 7th was earlier in 1910/11.

EGG SHELL PORCELAIN: Thin bodied porcelain from the 1403-24 period of Yung Lo. Modern 20th century versions are made in Japan. (Please do not confuse this porcelain with the more modern day "Egg Shell" marks found on china, porcelain and dinnerware. There is no comparison, the ancient egg shell porcelain is razor-thin. The ancient porcelain was not marked with the English Egg Shell text.)

EGYPTIAN BLACK: Hard stoneware body heavily stained with manganese.

EIGHT IMMORTALS:  Legendary or historical individuals associated with Daoism and depicted on Chinese ceramics.

EIGHT PRECIOUS THINGS:  Symbols of the Chinese scholar, namely the musical stone, jewels, a coin, a pair of books, an opened lozenge, a closed-tied lozenge, and an artemisia leaf often represented on ceramics.

ELECTROPLATING: This process was introduced circa 1842 and is used in making silver plated wares. A layer of silver is electrically deposited on a base metal.

EMPIRE STYLE:  The style inspired by the civilization of ancient Rome celebrating the empire of Napoleon I, circa 1804-15. It typically features such motifs as palmettes, winged lions and sphinxes. The Second Empire style refers to the revival of Neo-classicism during the reign of Napoleon III, 1852 - 1870.

ENAMELS: Types of hard paints (made of metal oxides in an oil based mixture) used to decorate porcelain and pottery.

ENCAUSTIC:  Another word for inlaid. On encaustic tile, designs are recessed.

ENGINE TURNING: Process of turning a dried but unfired pot on a lathe to reproduce a relief pattern, often of an irregular basket work design. Probably introduced by Wedgwood about 1760.

EPERGNE: Centerpiece of one central bowl surrounded by smaller ones. The smaller bowls are usually attached to the central bowl in some way. Usually made of glass or silver, the epergne was very popular in the 18th century for holding sweetmeats and fruit.

ESCRITOIRE:  A cabinet with a drop down front that lowers to form a writing surface.

ETAGERE:  A two or three tiered table intended for serving food or displaying items.

ETUI: Small metal box that holds odds and ends.

EWER:  A large jug with a lip that is often part of a set with a basin. Ewers originally held the water that diner's used to wash their hands during meals prior to the introduction of the fork

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FAIENCE: Derived originally from Italy but was adopted in France at the beginning of the 17th century to describe tin glazed earthenware.

FAIRINGS: These were small ornaments made cheaply in Germany for the British market, in fact Germany made a large quantity of English souvenir ware. Fairings depicted comical household scenes, with a caption written underneath the scene, saying something like "Last to bed turns off the light" and "Coming home at o'clock in the morning". Fairings were sometimes very "risque", quite unlike the prim and proper Victorian's. Some Fairings were made in bisque or matte porcelain. These Fairings primarily showed children with dogs and cats, or children at play with other children. Some with text some without. Made in the 19th and 20th centuries.

FAMILLE COLORS: Known as; Noire - black, Rose - pink and Verte - green. Enamel colors used in souvenir Chinese wares. Gilding was sometimes added to heighten the effect.

FAST STAND SAUCE BOAT:  Gravy boat with an attached underplate.

FAVRILE:  A type of iridescent glass developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany using metallic colors.

FEDERAL STYLE:  American version of the Neo-classical style, popular from c. 1789 - c. 1830.

FINE SILVER: The element silver, pure silver.

FLAGON:  A jug with a lid, usually tall and cylindrical in shape. 

FLAMBE GLAZE: Glaze in which the kiln conditions produce variegated color effects. Later Flambe was made fashionable by Doulton of Staffordshire. Copper is used in the glaze to produce the effect which is often a deep red, flecked with blue or purple and with a crackle look.

FLATWARE OR FLAT SILVER: The generic name for knives, forks, spoons, etc.

FLIRTY EYES: Glass doll eyes that open and close and move from side to side.

FRIEZE: Long ornamental strip or band.

FRIT: The flux from which glass is made. An ingredient in soft-paste porcelain.

FUNCTIONAL OR UTILITARIAN POTTERY:  Are pieces used in everyday life such as mugs, jugs, dinnerware, kitchenware, etc.

 

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GADROON: Carved edge molded decoration consisting of a series of grooves, like a pie crust. You see this often on the edges of porcelain and china.

GAUDY DUTCH: Popular name for a brightly decorated Staffordshire type pottery produced from 1810 - 30 mainly for the USA market

GAUDY WELSH: Also known as Swansea Cottage and Gaudy Ironstone. Made in Swansea, Wales and Staffordshire, England. Very popular with the working class Victorian's. Gaudy Welsh is highly collectible, even more so than Gaudy Dutch which if anything is harder to come by.

GERMAN SILVER: A term used some years ago as interchangeable with Nickel Silver.

GILDING:  Method of applying a gold finish to a silver or electroplated item, ceramic or glass.

GIRANDOLE:  A candle holder or sconce with a mirrored back, designed to hang on a wall.

GIRL IN A SWING: Early porcelain figures mainly white, sometimes attributed to Chelsea workmen, circa 1750.

GOOGLY EYES:  Large round eyes on dolls that look sideways.

GOSS CHINA: Porcelain, primarily heraldic, produced in Stoke-on-Trent circa 1858.

GOTHIC:  Decoration in the style of Gothic architecture with gargoyles, pinnacles, trefoils, etc. the style was revived in the 1820s in Europe and the 1840s in America.

GREEK KEY: An ancient key-shaped decoration often repeated around the rim of an item.

GREYHOUND JUGS: Jugs with greyhound dogs as handles. The best were made at the Dyvatty pottery Swansea and were covered in a deep treacle brown glaze. Decorating the perimeter of the jugs are rabbits, pheasants, fruit and nuts. Staffordshire potteries also produced these jugs but the handles show smaller greyhounds and have less detail.

GRIFFIN: A mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head, wings and claws of an eagle. It was a popular motif in the Regency and Empire periods.

GRIFFIN MARK: See Rockingham pottery.

GROUND COLORS: The background colors of glaze.

GUTTA-PERCHA:  A fibrous, rubbery material used to make doll bodies and heads as well as golf balls in the late 19th century.

 

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HALLMARK: The official mark of a silver manufacturing company or other assay office stamped on articles of gold or silver to indicate their purity and to identify the maker.

HARD PASTE PORCELAIN: Also known as true porcelain. This is a term applied to Continental porcelain, usually Europe, but not Great Britain. Germany was renowned for its hard paste porcelain. Hard paste porcelain is made with kaolin (china clay), quartz and petuntse (china stone).

HAUSMALER: Means "home painter." Independent faience and porcelain painters of Germany. This term is also used for independent workshops.

HAUTE COUTURE:  Made-to-measure garments with the designer's label attached.

HEARTY GOOD FELLOW: Nickname given to a Toby jug in the form of a swaggering fellow holding a jug of ale.

HIGHBOY:  An American term for a chest-on-stand.

HINOKI: A Japanese wood in the cypress family.

HISTORICAL BLUE: Staffordshire Olde Blue and White transfer printed pottery with scenes of real places, famous people, also historical events.

HO HO BIRD: The bird of classic paintings on porcelain showing a Phoenix. The Ho Ho Bird looks somewhat like a peacock. Seen primarily in oriental scenes painted on porcelain and paintings.

HOLLOWARE / HOLLOWWARE: OR Hollow Ware - See Dinnerware

HOTEL WARE: A hard vitreous ware produced in three different weights and thicknesses.

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ICE GLASS: A glass with an uneven surface or rippling surface.

IMARI: Japanese porcelain with dense decoration. Imari is very decorative using the colors of iron red, blue, green, yellow and gold.

IMPASTO: Thick colors that are applied so thickly they seem to stand out in relief from the ornament.

INLAY: The decorative setting of one material into a contrasting one.

INTAGLIO: Incised design -vs- a design in relief.

IRONSTONE CHINA: Also called White Graniteware. Strong stone china, made by potteries such as Masons (patented by Mason in 1813) and J&G Meakin in England and Goodwin Pottery in America. Ironstone china was used in tableware and huge dinner services. It also graced many a dresser, it is so extremely heavy that it is thought to have contributed to the sagging often seen on dresser shelves. It was made by the slag from iron furnaces.

IRIDESCENT GLASS:  Glass with a lustrous appearance shot through with a range of colors.

ISTORIATO: Decoration on Renaissance Italian majolica, meaning ' with a story on it.

 

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JACKFIELD WARE: Area of Shropshire famous for it's black glazed china which was crafted in Victorian times. Sometimes patterned in bright enamel flowers and gilded.

JACOBETHAN:  A combination of the words "Elizabethan" and "Jacobean". Was the 19th century revival of motifs such as strapwork and grotesques found in the 16th and 17th century decorative arts.

JAPAN PATTERNS: Loose term to describe Imari type patterns used on English transfer ware in Victorian days. Brocade patterns using a lavish gilding process interspersed with deep cobalt blues and reds etc., made the most wonderful designs that are still avidly collected today.

JAPANNED or JAPANNING: Wares that have been painted and varnished in imitation of Oriental style lacquer work.

JARDINIERE: An ornamental pot or vase used for plants.

JASPER WARE: Fine grained, colored stoneware perfected by the Wedgwood factory in 1775. Jasper could be colored blue, lilac, green, black and beige. It was also copied by other potteries, but few achieved the standard laid down by Wedgwood.

JUGENDSTIL:  German and Austrian term for the Art Nouveau style. Named after the Munich-based publication Jugend.

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KAOLIN:  China clay which is a fine, white granite clay used to make hard paste porcelain.

KABUTO: A Japanese Samurai helmet.

KNOP: The rounded projection or bulge on the stem of a glass.

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