Frequently Used Art and Antique Terms

(This is very much a work in progress and I am going (roughly) alphabetically, so those of you who are Zuber-curious, be patient!)

A classic Aubusson carpet
Aubusson - (o-bess-on) Wool tapestries and rugs woven in the Aubusson commune (yes, yes, a commune--but no drugs or cult-like leaders, um, I'm assuming) in Creuse, France, starting in the 15th century. The designs for Aubusson tapestries are frequently based on engravings, often with a central figure or figures surrounded by verdure (greenery, the occasional bird, a far off ruin: the school-photo backdrop of its day). The rugs, flat weaves, are typically done in pastel tones and often feature a central medallion framed by garlands.

Basalt - A black igneous rock. In 1768, Josiah Wedgwood developed "Black Basalt," a line of fine porcelain based on recently unearthed Etruscan pottery which proved to be a huge commercial success and is still manufactured to this day.

Bergére - (bear-gere) A French term for an upholstered armchair (it sounds so much more grand, their way, doesn't it?), in a carved wooden frame, first popular in the 18th century. The wood is typically painted or gilded, and might be fruitwood, beech or walnut. The armrests are closed, meaning they are incorporated into the sides of the chair.

Bibliothèque - (bib-le-o-tech) est la bibliothèque? For anyone who took French 101, that sentence is probably seared into your brain for life (along with such useless phrases as "zut alors!" but I digress...). Bibliothèque is french for library, and is sometimes used to describe a large book case...particularly if one's being pretentious.

Blanc de Chine - (blank-dee-sheen) French for "Chinese white." Refers to a type of porcelain made at Dehua in the Fujian province. Blanc de Chine was often used for religious purposes. Thus, the subject matter is frequently Buddhist deities, such as Guan Yin (also written as Guanyin), the goddess of compassion.

A Bohemian glass vase
Bohemian glass - Decorative glass and crystal, produced since the 13th century, from the regions of Bohemia and Silesia, now part of the Czech Republic. The most famous style from this region emerged in the Baroque period and utilized gem-cutting techniques.

Bombé - (bom-bay) A rounded, almost swollen form, characteristic of the Rococo period, the most common being the bombé chest.
A bouillotte table with its bouchon.

Bouillotte - (boo-yacht) was a gambling card game very popular during the time of the French Revolution. It was also played in America and is thought to have influenced the rules of poker. A bouillotte table, on which the game was frequently played, has a raised metal band, or gallery, around the top, into which was fitted a bouchon, or leather insert.  Today, it is very rare to have a bouillotte come to auction with its bouchon.

A bouillotte lamp originally sat in the middle of the table. The candelabrum base was dish-shaped, in order to accomodate gambling tokens.  The shade was adjustable so that it could be lowered as the candles burned down (because who wants to see those mounting debts in such a harsh light?).

Breakfront - A descriptive term for a piece of furniture, such as a bookcase, in which the center section protrudes relative to the side sections.

Bureau plat - (bure-row plat) French for writing table. A bureau plat is characterized by its rectangular shape, flat top and drawers in the frieze (ie, shallow drawers just below the flat part). Older bureau plats typically have a leather surface, which would absorb the indents from a quill pen better than a wooden surface could.

Bureau de dame
Bureau de dame  - A French 19th century desk or writing table--tiny by today's standards, and often heavily ornamented.

A calyx krater
Calyx - Calyx krater for our purposes: a vessel, first produced in 6th century BC Greece, that was used to mix water with wine, characterized by its low handles.

Cameo Glass - Etched colored glass, first seen in Rome, in 30 bc as a cheaper alternative to etched gemware (as in: "Honey, I just broke the Onyx calyx, can you run to the basement and get me a glass one?") Experienced a resurgence in popularity during the Art Nouveau period, when makers such as Gallé and Daum went to town on the stuff.
Campaign desk
Campaign Desk – A desk used by an officer during a military campaign. Though typically custom made, most campaign desks have certain hallmarks in common, specifically, the ability to be broken down into smaller pieces, as well as brass handles to facilitate movement.

Canapé- (kan-a-pay) A canapé is basically a settee, or small couch, first popularized during the Louis XV period. Petite in scale, canapés are typically upholstered, with a wooden frame and arms, and often come with a pair of matching chairs.

Canterbury - An English magazine rack, typically mahogany, with slats to hold papers and wheels for mobility.
A Capodimonte plate
Capodimonte -also written Capo-di-Monte (meaning head of the mountain) is porcelain from the Capodimonte Porcelain factory in Naples, which dates back to the 18th century. Capodimonte is characterized by its moulded figures, polychromatic color scheme and profusion of...things: decorative flowers, cupids, rosy cheeked maidens, cherubs--you know, understated.

Capriccio –  (ka-pritch-e-o) A painting, typically of a landscape, that represents both real and imaginary features. (Such as ruins, Italian artists were very keen on ruins).
Cartonnage - (kar-ton-aj) A French term, taken from the word carton, or pasteboard. Cartonnage may refer to papyrus covered with plaster (think Egyptian mummy). It may also refer to paper or fabric covered boxes, first popularized in 18th century France, still made by crafty types today, replete with lace and ribbon, and coveted by little girls everywhere.

Cartouche  (car-too SH)- An oval or oblong design with a convex surface and scroll details. Used to frame text or a picture.

Cellarette Small, moveable wine coolers. Cellarettes were typically stored under the middle of the sideboard and rolled out when needed. Cellarettes declined in popularity when sideboards with built in wine coolers were introduced in the 18th century and then, of course, the refrigerator was the coup de grace.
Champlevé - A enamelware technique that was big with the Celts, but--of course-defined by the French. In fact, champlevé translates into "raised field"  (or really, "field raised", which simply makes the term extra confusing, because with champlevé,  the enameled areas are actually lower than that of the metal surface. (Picture little pits of color dug into metal and you'll do just fine.)

Chenets - (she-nay) Andirons (those iron bars that support the logs in the fireplace). Interestingly, the origin of the word stems from the French word for dog, which is chien, as andirons with dog heads are perennially  popular.

Cheval - The word means horse in French, the term is used to describe rectangular objects with a specific kind of support that are on legs. For instance, a cheval screen, which is a rectangular fire screen (see the example on the chiffoniere, below) and a cheval mirror, which is a tall, stand alone mirror, often on wheels.

An English Regency Chiffonier
Chiffonier - (shuf-un-neer) One of my favorite names, because the word is French for rag, yes, rag, as in this piece of furniture is where you put all your junk. I'm serious. A favorite of hoarders everywhere since the 18th century, a chiffonier is a tall, narrow chest of drawers--that is, in France. In England, during the Regency period, chiffoniers looked quite different (see left). Mais bien sur, because English junk is wider than French junk, n'est pas? (And ours would, I think, be Buick sized.)

Chiffionnière with
cheval screen!
Chiffonnière - (shif -un-nyair) A French work table, popular during the 18th century, characterized by at least two rows of shallow drawers. How is this different from the very similar sounding word above? Well, this one goes out to all the ladies--cause we need a place to store our odds and ends too. (Apparently, not as big a space as a guy, given that ours were smaller...which means these furniture makers had clearly inhaled a few too many strong chemicals in their day if the thought that thing would suffice).

Chinoiserie - A French term meaning, "Chinese-esque," which says it all. Chinoiserie pieces reflect European interpretations of Chinese art and design: sometimes done well; sometimes as authentic looking as Charlie Chan.
Cinnabar vases
Cinnabar - The ore of Mercury, characterized by its red color and frequently used in Chinese lacquerware. Toxic when burned--Mercury poisoning--cinnabar should, um, not be collected by pyros.
Cloisonné vase

Cloisonné  (kloi-za-ney) - From the French word meaning, "to partition." Cloisonné is enamel work on a metal base in which the colored grounds are separated by thin metal bands.

 Cold painted - A decorative technique in which bronze, porcelain, glass or stonewear is painted, typically with oil paint, after the item has been cooked, as it were. The result is a lovely item that will nonetheless be more susceptible to wear and tear. 
An ebonized commode

Commode - A low cabinet or chest of drawers, circa 1700 France, designed to be about the height of the dado rail. Commodes  always have stubby legs, usually have gilt detailing and sometimes have a marble slab top (bonus points if the marble top originally matched the room's fireplace surround). In the 1800s, the Brits took the term "commode" and started using it for the piece of furniture that housed the chamber pot, a euphemism that continues to this day, as in, "if my husband ever takes any of my design books into the commode with him again, so help me god, I'll hit him over the head with them."

Coquillage - (coke-e-aj). A French term used to refer to pictures and assemblages comprised of seashells. 

Corbel - A piece of stone that juts from a building to support additional weight (think: wall bracket for a building's exterior). Interesting ones appear at auction sometimes to be used as decorative objets...or as stylistic props in a Restoration Hardware catalog.

Coromandel -(cor-ro-man -del) - A style of lacquerware, originally developed in China, typically seen on screens and chests, featuring figures and scenes in intaglio designs. Usually the background is black or dark red and the design is polychromed. Coromandel screens first became popular in Europe in the 17th century. The name, curiously, is Indian, because the port of Coromandel is where the screens were loaded off of Chinese vessels and onto European ones.

Coromandel screen

Creamware - Cream colored earthenware, first developed in Staffordshire in the late 1700s as a cheaper alternative to Chinese porcelain. The most famous creamware manufacturer was Josiah Wedgwood, who, ever the sage marketer, shipped some off to Catherine the Great, then called it "Queen's ware."
Dutch delftware
 in the Imari taste
Delft - A city in southern Holland, known as the birthplace of Vermeer. It's also--and more relevantly here--known for its Delft blue pottery, or Delftware, which was produced from the 16th century onward. When the Dutch East India Company began importing porcelain from China in the 17th century, thus beginning the craze known as Chinamania, it was only a matter of time before items were manufactured in the Chinese taste, as well as with more traditional Dutch themes (including windmills, of course). Production peaked in the late 1800s.

Diptych - (dip-tick) Two flat plates or tablets joined by a hinge. E.g. "I tried to hide behind my diptych coromandel screen, only they saw me. Next time, I'm getting a triptych."

Drabware - Joseph's technicolor dreamcoat. No, I'm kidding. Yet another Wedgwood earthenware product, characterized by its oatmeal color. Drabware was manufactured by Wedgwood from the 1820s-1860s, only to experience a resurgence in popularity in the 20th century thanks to Al Gore's Martha Stewart's love of earth tones.
A drypoint by Whistler
Drypoint - An intaglio printmaking technique, in which an image is incised onto a plate with a needle. Traditionally, the plate was copper, but today, plates of acetate or even plexiglass are used. The needle is often diamond tipped. Drypoint etchings are characterized by a softer, heavier line when compared to engraving, although the techniques are frequently combined. Drypoint lines--that is, the printed lines you see on the paper--are produced by both the etched line and the burr: the transplanted plate material (think of the dirt that would mount on the sides if you dug a ditch: that's the burr). Because the burr dissolves after several prints (just the way that mounded dirt might dissolve but your ditch would remain), drypoint is a delicate technique suitable for smaller editions.

Dumbwaiter –  No, not the guy who mixed up your order last night: a three tiered side table with a tripod leg, placed near the dining table to hold utensils or food. Dumbwaiters proliferated in the 19th century with the rise of the bourgeoisie, who could tended to have fewer servants than the upper classes.

Églomisé(egg-glo-mis-say) is short for verre églomisé, which literally means “glass gilded.” It is when the back side of a piece of glass is gilded in gold or silver leaf. The result is a mirror-like, reflective finish, which is then engraved. Églomisé can be combined with reverse painting on glass for a soft-focused effect (is your head spinning yet?).

Egyptian Revival settee
Egyptian Revival- Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt sparked an renewed interest in Eqyptian motifs, in part because the little leader took a scientific expedition with him. Description de l'Egypte, the ensuing publication, was released in a series from 1809-1829, prompting a fascination with ancient Egypt and the creation of furniture similar to this settee, left.

 Encoignure - (ahn-kaw-nyr) Any type of furniture--armoire, cabinet, cupboard--designed to fit in a corner.

An Art Nouveau encrier
Encrier (an-cree-ei) Inkpot or inkstand.

A Durer engraving

Engraving - Simply put, a line incised into a hard, flat surface. The surface can be silver or gold. Engraving can also be done on copper or other hard metals as the starting point for printing an image or illustrations. Traditionally, the lines were achieved by hand using a burin, a hard metal tool with a wooden handle.
Engraving is an extremely difficult technique to master; many engravers started as goldsmiths, and it is thought that the practice began because, in the era before photography, goldsmiths wanted to create a quick record of their work. Because it is so hard to learn, engraving rapidly lost ground to etching, when the latter technique gained popularity in the 16th century.

Étagère – (ā- ta-jere) A light, backless shelf, which first appeared on the scene in late 18th century France, similar to an English what-not (and what do you put on a what-not? Why, bric-a-brac, of course!). Étagères typically have several shelves and were often designed to be placed in a corner.

A Schirmer etching
Etching - The process of using a strong acid on unprotected metal to create pictures or words. In the traditional technique, which dates to the Middle Ages, a metal plate, typically of copper, zinc or steel, is covered in wax. A needle is used to expose the bare metal. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid, also called a mordant (French for biting). The acid then eats the lines into the metal. The plate is then cleaned, inked and put into a printing press, where several hundred copies could then be made. Because the process of etching is more similar to drawing, it quickly surmounted engraving in popularity, though the intaglio techniques are frequently combined.

Etruscan Revival necklace
Etruscan - The English term for an ancient Italian civilization that existed around modern day Tuscany before it was subsumed into the Roman Empire in 1 BC. In the mid 1700s, ruins were discovered in Pompeii. The ensuing excavations led to an Etruscan Revival movement in art and design--and some very beautiful gold necklaces!

Étui - (ā-twee) - A small ornamental case or bag designed to be carried in one's purse. Étuis held tweezers, scissors, needles, hairpins, make-up pencils--useful things like that.
An etui case (top)

and a classic faience bowl

Faience - (fahy-ahns) A French term for tin-glazed earthenware pottery produced in Faenza, in northern Italy. The term, however, is often used to describe any tin-glazed earthenware. (Delftware, for instance is Faience, but not vice versa.) The most famous style of Faience is Majolica, which we'll get to a bit later. For now, know that Faience is characterized by its shiny glaze and strong colors, especially cobalt blue.  

Famille - (fa-mee) French for family. Refers to the color classification of Chinese porcelain. There are four main classifications: Famille jaune, noire, rose and verte. Of these, rose and verte are the most frequently seen.
Pembroke -  A small drop leaf table. The name is from the 9th Earl of Pembroke, an amateur architect.

  • Famille Rose - French for "rose family." A style of Chinese porcelain characterized by its soft colors, including, yes, pink. Because pink was not a color traditional seen in Chinese pottery, Famille Rose is often cited as an example of the European influence on Chinese manufacturing--in other words, the Chinese saw what was selling in Europe and then modified their production accordingly. The height of the Famille rose period was between 1730 and 1790.
A famille verte plate
  • Famille Verte - (fa-mee ver-t) French for "green family." A style of Chinese porcelain that dates back to the Kangxi period (1662-1722). Famille verte stems from the traditional Wucai, or "five colors," style. Besides several shades of green, Famille verte often features iron red.
A fauteuil
Fauteuil - (fau-toy-e) French for armchair. A fauteuil has a wooden frame and an upholstered seat and originated, like so much of their fancy furniture, in the 18th century (no wonder the revolution was approaching...). Unlike a bergere, a fauteuil has open armrests, similar to a dining chair.  

Favrile glass - A type of iridescent glass developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the 1890s. Favrile glass was used for decorative vases and bowls, as well as for Tiffany's famous stained glass windows.

Fresco - A mural painting done on plaster. The word comes from the Italian word, affresco, meaning "fresh," because the pigment was applied when the plaster was wet. Frescos were popular during the Renaissance, the most famous example being the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  

Garniture - (garnet-chur) A descriptive term meaning something that garnishes, an embellishment.The term is frequently used to describe a mantle clock and the tazze, vases or obelisks that accompany it.
A gateleg table

Gateleg table - A type of furniture first seen in England in the 16th century. The table has a fixed section and one or two leaves, which fold down when not in use.

Gesso - (jess-o) A white paint mixture. Popular in Italy, gesso is comprised of some sort of animal binder (ie rabbit skin glue), chalk, gypsum, and sometimes, pigment. Gesso was traditionally used as the base for gold or silver leaf, and so will often appear in descriptions of items with this type of decoration.  

Gilt bronze - Literally, gilded bronze, a decorative technique popular in France during the 17th and 18th centuries. Gilt bronze is created when mercury and high carat gold are mixed in an amalgam and applied to a bronze object. The object was then fired at a high temperature. The mercury burned off and the gold stayed behind, and volia! just the kind of grand and shiny object that set Marie Antoinette's heart aflutter. (Did she have a heart? After all, the workers who made this stuff all died of mercury poisoning...seriously.)
A gilt-bronze clock

Now--and this is going to get confusing--gilt bronze is also referred to as bronze-doré -- (door-ay) "bronze gilded" -- as well as ormulu --from the French word or, "gold," and moulu, "pounded." No true gilt-bronze/ bronze-doré/ ormulu was made in France after 1830, because mercury was outlawed (told you I wasn't kidding). A better technique was ever found, however, so the real stuff is worth much more than all the later substitutions--just don't melt and inhale.

 Giltwood - Wood with gold leaf applied to it, a technique known as gilding. (No mercury necessary, no gristly deaths.)
Three piece girandole set

Girandole - An ornamental candlestick, typically with a fringe of glass beads and often with a mirror in the back. If the word "girandole" is perplexing, it is because it is the French version of an Italian word, girandola. Girandoles were first seen in the latter half of the 17th century, becoming quite the rage in the 18th century France. Often, girandoles were designed to be attached to a mirror, and so a mirror with built in candlesticks is sometimes described as a girandole mirror.
Guéridon - (gear-re-don) A small table, nearly always circular, supported by one or more columns. Popular during the reign of Louis XIV, and, for that matter, popular now. Often guéridons have stone tops and brass or gilt-bronze embellishments.

Guilloché - A decorative term describing a repetitive engraving technique. The technique is done by a machine, invented by a man named Guillot, hence the name. Guilloché is frequently seen on enamel pieces.
A classic Heriz rug
Heriz - (her-reez, rhymes with breeze) A popular and famous style of Persian carpet, originating in Heris, East Azerbaijan. Heriz rugs are known for their durability, and are characterized by strong colors--lots of reds and blues. The pattern is characterized by a central medallion
An Imari plate
Imari - A style of Japanese porcelain popular since the 17th century. Imari was actually made in the town of Arita, but exported from the port of Imari (ports often influence names: see Coromandel). There are actually many types of Imari, but Europeans gravitated toward one in particular: Kinrande, which is white, cobalt blue, red and gold. Gradually, the English porcelain companies began making their own versions, most famously Royal Crown Derby.
A Roman intaglio portrait,
carved in amethyst

Intaglio - In Printmaking:  A group of printmaking techniques, including etching, engraving, drypoint, mezzotint and aquatint, in which an image is made by first incising it into a copper or zinc plate. The intaglio method was developed well after the woodcut, but has been around since the 15th century. In jewelry: when a hardstone (usually semi-precious) has been cut into on its flat side, then engraved with an inscription or image.

Japanned - A descriptive term describing the European imitation of Asian lacquerware in which a piece of furniture is lacquered black  and decorated, usually with gold. Japanning developed in England and became very popular with the court of King George III. As it became all the rage, teapots, trays, mirrors, you name it, were decorated in this technique.

Jardinière - (jar-din-air) -Derived from the French word for garden "jardin," in the antique world, the word refers to large decorative pots used for flowers. (In cooking, it means something prepared with spring vegetables. The French also use it to refer to several type of beetles known for attacking herbs.)
A pair of Wedgwood Jasperware vases

Jasperware - A type of stoneware first created by Josiah Wedgwood and first produced in 1774. The name stems from a Greek word that sounds much like the Hebrew word, yashpeh, which is an opaque type of quartz. Jasperware has a matte finish and white decoration. 

A Kerman carpet
Kerman- A type of Persian carpet, named for a city in southeastern Iran where they have been produced for centuries. Historically, Kerman (or Kirman) carpets are famous for being of very high quality on account of the wool, the skill of the craftsmen, the dying technique and the unique weave. Kirmans are characterized by intricate, all over floral or medallion designs, such as the notable "vase design". The most collected Kermans are Ravar or Lavar.

Lacquer - A varnish that produces a hard, durable finish. Traditionally, lacquer came from either the resin of a tree (China), or the red resin secretions of the Lac insect (India), hence the name. When the resin is applied, most often to wood, the result is a hard, usually shiny, long lasting finish that resists water, deterioration and abrasion. Today, lacquers are produced using synthetic materials. Lacquering is the first step in creating ebonized, Coromandel or Japanned furniture.

Lithograph - Simply put, a copy. Lithography is a printing technique that dates to 1796. Designed to be an inexpensive method for reproducing pictures, lithography traditionally involved applying wax (or similar) to a stone plate, inking that wax, and applying that image to paper. Because this technique lends itself to many reproductions of the same image, look for lithographs that are both signed and numbered by the artist.

A lyre chair designed

by Duncan Phyfe

Lyre arm - A descriptive term for the scrolling line of a chair or sofa back, inspired by Greek designs and popular during the Federal period. Lyre designs, which utilized a more literal interpretation of the instrument, were famously used by noted furniture makers Thomas Sheraton and Duncan Phyfe. Sheraton also used the design as a table support, known today as a Lyre table.

Contemporary pieces of Italian Majolica
Majolica - (ma-joll-i-ka) A general term for European tin-glazed pottery, often festively colored over an earthenware body. The name is derived from the Italian word "Maiolica," which might, in turn, stem from the Latin word for the island of Majorca. Majolica dates to the Renaissance period, when such items were household luxuries reserved for the wealthy elite.

A mahogany side cabinet

with satinwood marquetry
Marquetry - The art of adding veneer to furniture and other objects as a form of decoration. Marquetry and its close cousin, parquetry, which specifically refers to a geometric design, are often comprised of different kinds of wood, but can also be done with bone, mother of pearl, ivory, tortoiseshell, even metal such as brass and pewter. The art form began in 16th century Florence and continues to this day.

 Mezzotint - A drypoint method of printing and considered something of a breakthough at the time (mid 17th century) for it is the first tonal method of printing. Half tones (mezzo means half in Italian)
were achieved by creating tiny pinpricks in the metal plate, allowing for more grays, shadows and nuances.

 Micromosaic - Just as it sounds, small  mosaics featuring little teeny weeny bits of tesserae (pieces) comprised of glass or enamel. When you think micromosaic, think Italian, as indeed the Romans developed the art form, which was then revived during the Renaissance. Purchasing a micromosaic of an Italian landscape was de rigueur during one's Grand Tour. Brooches and other forms of jewelry were also popular.

Nacre - (nay-ker) Mother of pearl, or the inner layer of the shell of several types of mollusks, including oysters and mussels.

A pair of Old Paris vases
Old Paris -Porcelain that was created in the famed city between 1700 and 1870, often gilded and always beautifully painted. Old Paris is not associated with a specific manufacturer and is often unsigned. The porcelain shape, or "blank," might be from Limoges or Sèvres.

Ormulu - Gilded bronze. Please see "gilt bronze" for more information.

A Palissy ware plate with fish, circa 1851.
Palissy ware - Ceramic art developed by Bernard Palissy, a French potter who lived from 1510-1590. Two hundred and fifty years after his death, his molds were found and works reproduced, sparking a mid -19th century craze for his snakes, vipers and other three dimensional creepy crawlies.

Parcel-gilt An item, simply, that is only partially gilded (though the term is indeed "parcel."

A Pembroke table
Pâte-sur-pâte-  A French (what else?) term meaning “paste on paste.” This method of porcelain decoration involves creating a white relief design, built up in layers, on an unglazed, solid colored form. Similar to Jasperware (see above), but a mold is not used, so the finished form tends to be more transparent.

Patinated- A work of art or furniture coated with a patina. Patina is simply the signs of age: the green that naturally occurs on copper and bronze (also called verdigris), the nicks on the legs and surface of a table. Some patina can be chemically induced, sometimes to fake a piece, sometimes to restore the results of overcleaning or match a replacement part to its older counterpart. 

Pembroke table - A small drop leaf table designed in the early 18th century by the 9th Earl of Pembroke, who was an amateur architect.

A pier mirror and table
Pier glass  - Pier glass is a rectangular piece of glass that is placed between two large windows. When the glass is encased in a frame (rather than being mounted directly into the paneling), it is known as a pier mirror. Often, a table was designed to be placed here as well, and this table may or may not have glass mounted behind the legs. This is known as a pier table
Pietra dura - also Pietra dure (pi-et-ra dur-a / dur-ay) The Italian technique, dating back to Roman times, of using cut, fitted and highly polished stones to create a picture.
 Récamier - (ray-com-ee-a) A day bed or partially backless couch with a high head rest and low foot rest named after Madame Récamier, a fashionable Parisian woman and royalist sympathizer who lived in the late 18th/ early 19th century. How did she come to have a sofa named after her? A famous portrait by Jean Louis David did the trick.


  1. really terrifically informative post. I am working on a game whereby people mix and match antiques and your helpful terms will add some colour to my 'board game' creation. Plus you are a very pretty woman and if I knew you personally I'm sure I'd be smitten.

  2. I'm glad you like it, as it's motivating me to get through the second half of the alphabet. Thanks!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great post! Couldn't leave it till I read it all :)Waiting for the 2nd half!