Bachelor chest - A small straight front chest of drawers with a fold-over top. The name derives from bachelors having small sets of rooms where limited space allowed the fold-over top to be used for writing.
Blind door - The doors of a bureau cabinet that has wooden panels and not mirror plates.
Bobbin turned - Sections of turning, used on tables and chairs, that are ball or bobbin shaped.
Bole - A clay in liquid form that can be used over gesso before gilding. Bole can vary in colour from red, yellow and grey.
Bonheur du Jour - A small late 18th Century ladies writing table often with a superstructure fitted with drawers.
Boulle Work - A process of inlay that derives from a technique perfected by the Parisian cabinet maker Andre Charles Boulle (1642-1732). This decoration is a form of marquetry in brass and tortoiseshell or horn, the patterns are cut out of the two materials previously joined together in one operation. Earliest examples date from areound 1680 in France. Very little Boulle was made in England, however many reproductions of this type work were made in 19th century France. Generally speaking ormulu mounts are associated with Boulle work.
Bunfoot - As the name implies, a foot in the shape of a ball or bun. Originally of Dutch or German origin, its use spread to England in the late 17th century. It is still used today as replacement feet primarily on chests, either period or reproduction.
Cabriole leg - A form of chair or table leg which appeared in England from France in the early 18th century. It is in the shape of a long slow "S", the outward curve of the knee sometimes decorated. Many of the earlier examples ended in stylized goat feet with later examples ending in pad feet, slipper feet or claw and ball feet.
Candleslides - Small rectangular wooden slides found below the mirror or blind doors of bureau cabinets. Candlesticks placed on these slides provided light for working and extra reflected light into the room.
Canted - The term used to describe a right angle comer that has been cut off. Canted comers are often fluted.
Cheval Mirror - A free-standing adjustable mirror standing on a four legged frame. The mirrors first known as "horse dressing glasses" first became possible in the late 18th century when technical advances made it possible to cast single plates of glass six feet in length so that it was possible for a mirror to reflect the full height of a person standing close to the mirror. The French gave the name "cheval", their word for horse, to this type mirror.
Commode - A French term used to describe an important piece of cabinet furniture with drawers made to go against the wall. The commode was first seen in England during the reign of George II and illustrated in the Director in the mid-18th century. Commodes that were japanned, inlaid and painted were a feature of late Georgian furniture.
Crossbanding - A decorative treatment to the main veneer. The banding is laid with -the grain at right angles to the main veneer. Originally as a protection to the expressive main veneer, it later became a decorative device.
Drop-in seat - A padded seat upholstered with horse hair (17th and 18th Centuries) and overlaid with hessian and a final cover. The wooden framework that forms the base of the seat has webbing nailed across it. The seat pad then rests on strips of wood fitted to the inside seatrails of the chair.
Feather banding - A decoration edge to a plain veneer. Often used with a crossbanding, the narrow veneers are laid in the form of arrow feathers or chevrons.
Finial - Normally a turned tapered spire found on the top of bureau cabinets. Placed at the front comers they are often made of the predominant timber which is lathe turned. Other examples can be found that are carved and gilded.
Gesso - A preparation of chalk worked into a paste with a binder used as priming before gilding wood to be used in furniture or other decorative work.
Giltwood - A soft wood, normally carved or decorated, that is covered with gesso, bole, size and overlaid with thin gold leaf.
Japanning - The European imitation of oriental lacquer. Gesso is used to create raised surfaces overlaid with shellac.
Joint stool - So called as the elements are joined together with mortice and tenon joints. Ile plank top and joints held in place with pegs. The legs are turned on a lathe.
Kettle stand - A small table, circular or square for holding a tea kettle or hot water urn.
Lacquer - The sap from the RHUS VERNICIFENA tree which is collected like rubber and purified; colour is added, and when dry is waterproof and can be carved.
Library Chair - Also called a "Gainsborough". Easy chairs with square padded-backs, padded arms and seats. The arm supports and legs are in polished wood.
Lyre End - The support for a sofa or writing table of the Regency period in the form of a classical stringed instrument.
Mahogany - (Swietenia Mahogani) A hard durable wood with close straight grain, -light red to dark brown, almost black at times. Originally from the Spanish West Indies and later from Honduras. Popular from circa 1720.
Marquetry - The process of veneering with shapes, often scrolls, leaves, flowers, birds and insects. This process was perfected by Dutch and German craftsmen and became popular in England from the middle of the 17th Century reaching its height during the reign of William and Mary throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
Mortice and tenon - A joint in which the projecting tongue (tenon) is inserted into a rectangular cavity (mortice) and held in place by pegs.
Moulded front chest - Influenced by the Dutch these chests have applied sections of mouldings to the front often in geometric shapes.
Needlework or needlepoint - Made with cotton, wool or silk thread. The pattern is drawn onto a canvas backing and the threads drawn up and through the canvas and the reverse.
Oyster veneers - Small branches are cut across the grain to produce roundels of veneer which are laid in patterns often outlined with boxwood stringing.
Parcel gilt - Gilded decoration used in conjunction with plain timber, ie part gilded.
Parquetry - Small sections of square or rectangular shapes of veneer; ie parquet
Patera - Paterae in the plural, are round or oval inlaid or overlaid panels of classical
origin, often made in different coloured timbers or carved and painted.
Patination - The effect on furniture of waxing and handling. A rich, mellow, deep -shine which is found and valued on antique furniture. DO NOT REMOVE IT.
Pembroke Table - A small centre standing table of rectangular or rounded form. Usually with two flaps above a drawer they are supported on turned tapered or square tapered legs, often on castors.
Pier Table - A semi circular or rectangular table, the height of the chair rail placed on the pier wall between two windows.
Refectory table - A dining table with the top made of sawn planks. The legs are normally turned on a lathe and often carved.
Robert Adam - 1728 - 1792. Born in Fife, Scotland he was influenced by his travels abroad and became a leading architect and designer in the Neo Classical style.
Shellac - Lac is produced by insects who secrete the resin. It is collected from the small branches of trees and called "stick lac". After cleaning it is called "seedlac," further refining creates shellac. Shellac is also the basis of french polish.
Side hung drawer - A groove in the side of the drawer allows it to move in and out as its weight is held by a rectangular piece of wood fixed to the inside of the chest.
Splat - The section of the back of the chair between the upright supports. Splats can be in the solid form, sometimes curved, pierced and carved.
Stretcher - Stretchers are turned or squared pieces of timber that join the legs of chairs, tables, and cabinet stands.
Stringing - Thin lines of contrasting woodinlaid around or between other veneers.
Sunburst - Inlaid semi circles or radiating and differing timbers. Usually inlaid to the bottom drawer of a chest on chest during the walnut period.
Thomas Chippendale - ?1718 - 1789. Bom in Ottley, Yorkshire, he published "The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director" in 1754. His premises were in St Martins Lane, London from where he conducted a large cabinet and furnishing business.
Tripod table - The circular or square top, carved or with a gallery on a turned stem supported by three legs.
Veneer - The method of decorating the exterior of furniture with a thin slice of a quality timber. Veneer cutting was a skill developed on the continent of Europe and became fashionable in England from circa 1650. Veneer was originally cut by hand using a saw, later, during the 19th Century it was cut by machine.
Walnut - Walnut has been used for European furniture making since the 16th Century. A rich golden brown, it was valued by furniture makers in England from circa 1650. Virginia walnut, also called black walnut or red walnut was used as a substitute for mahogany, circa 1730.
Windsor Chair - So called as they are said to have originated from the Royal Windsor Forest, the greatest production of these chairs was around High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. Made of ash, elm and yewwood.