Antiques Glossary - D
Author: Jim Coyledagger
Short, pointed, bladed weapon usually double-edged for
thrusting, parrying and stabbing.
The first practicable photographic process, invented by the
French painter and theatrical designer Jacques Louis
Daguerre (1789-1851) in 1839. It produced a positive image,
formed of tiny globules of mercury, on a silver-coated
copper plate. The daguerreotype could only be reproduced by
being rephotographed, and exposures took up to 30 minutes.
It was eventually superseded by the calotype process.
The term for a matching pair of Japanese samurai swords or
sword and dagger, popular from the 15thC, made up of the
words dai (long) and sho (short).
Process of setting fine pieces of contrasting metals into a
metal body, such as the blade of a sword or a casket, for
decoration. The technique was originally developed in
Damascus in the Near East and was adopted in Europe in the
17thC. Gold, silver or copper wires were inserted into fine
grooves cut into an iron, brass or bronze body and then
hammered into the surface. European craftsmen tended to
apply the decorative metal superficially on a crosshatched
or 'toothed' surface which easily became worn away. This
method was known as 'counterfeit' or 'false' damascening.
A reversible fabric used for table linen, curtains and
upholstery. Damask was originally woven in silk and later in
linen, wool and man- made fibres. Its characteristic
appearance is due to the upper and lower surfaces of the
same weave forming the pattern and tonal variation. Damask
with silver, gold or coloured metallic threads running
through it is known as damassin. Most damask, coloured red
or plum, was imported from Italy until the late 17thC, when
production began in Britain. Red and blue damask was popular
for window curtains and upholstery throughout the Georgian
period. The Dutch pioneered linen damask for luxury
tablecloths and napkins in the 15thC, but from the 17thC,
Germany and Ireland became increasingly important centres.
Glass factory run by brothers Auguste (1853-1909) and
Antonin (1864-1930) Daum in 1875 in Nancy, France, and known
for art nouveau and art deco vases and mushroom-shaped
A small desk, usually with a sloping writing surface and
four drawers set sideways into the case beneath. The first
record of the design is of a desk made for a Captain
Davenport, probably for use at sea, in the late 18thC. There
are many variations of the basic style.
Porcelain and earthenware factory founded by John Davenport
at Longport, Staffordshire, in 1794. bone china was
introduced c. 1800, and the tea services which often closely
imitated derby in decoration. Ornamental articles, however,
were more individual to Davenport, featuring both monochrome
and multicoloured landscapes and skilfully painted flowers
and fruits. Production declined from the 1870s and the
factory closed in 1887.
A term known from the 16thC for an upholstered couch or sofa
with a sloped backrest at one or both ends used for
reclining on during the day.
de Lamerie, Paul
(1688-1751) Dutch silversmith who became the leading London
silversmith of his time, and who, in 1716, was appointed
goldsmith to King George I. De Lamerie's early work from
1713 includes domestic silverware in queen anne and huguenot
styles. In the 1730s, he launched a more flamboyant Rococo
style, especially in large cast and embossed pieces. In the
1740s he returned to more restrained decoration. His work
includes flatware, wrought silver items and wine cisterns.
de Morgan, William
(1839-1917) Leading British ceramics designer whose work was
inspired by William morris, with whom he set up a pottery at
Merton Abbey, London. De Morgan's most characteristic work
includes his early tiles and pottery with lustre decoration
and ceramics influenced by hispano-moresque colours and
designs. He also ran a studio pottery in Fulham, London,
from 1888 to 1907.
Radical early 20thC Dutch design group of artists and
architects, founded by architect Theo van Doesburg, 1917.
The group had a lasting influence on 20thC design, partly
through its connection with the German bauhaus school, where
van Doesburg lectured, and also through the success of
abstract painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). Mondrian's
paintings, using blocks of primary colour and straight
lines, epitomised the group's aim of producing revolutionary
art. The angular, sculptural, painted-wood 'Red Blue' chair
of architect-designer Gerrit rietveld, who joined De Stijl
in 1918, sums up the group's challenge of the accepted early
20thC design principles of simplicity, fitness for purpose
and logical construction.
The sale of an item or items that were originally donated to
an institution such as a museum or gallery in order to raise
Pine and other soft coniferous woods used for the carcass of
furniture or for cheap country furniture. The name is from
the Dutch deel (part of), as the wood for a carcass is sawn
Glass bottle with matching stopper used for serving wine at
the table, and for spirits.
(1823-91) French ceramics artist noted for his brightly
coloured earthenware and naturalistic motifs inspired by
Japanese, Chinese, Turkish and Egyptian art. In 1861 he
introduced his bleu de Deck - a turquoise glaze. During the
1870s Deck produced JAPONAISERIE' style plates and vases,
and in the 1880s worked in porcelain using flamb? glazes. In
1887 Deck became administrator at sevres.
(1880-1971) French glass artist who produced art nouveau and
art deco decorative wares and was a leading exponent of
translucent p?te DE VERRE glaSS.
The centre for tin-glazed earthenware in Holland from the
mid- 16th to mid-18th centuries, which profoundly influenced
the course of European ceramics. Delft potters and
decorators finally established the move away from Italian
maiolica styles and colours towards the blue and white
colour schemes and decorative techniques of chinese export
porcelain. Factories elsewhere in Europe followed suit. By
the mid-17thC, Delft was making vases, plaques, tiles for
wall panels, house and shop signs, and table services. The
addition of a lead glaze, known as kwaart, enhanced the
brilliance of the colours and gave a glossier finish closer
to that of Chinese porcelain than achieved on English
delftware. In the 17thC enamel colours brought IMARI-style
decoration and the FAMILLE-verte palette. Delft noir used
polychrome colours on a black ground. Delft dor?, a
Japanese-style decoration in red, blue and gold, was
introduced in the 1720s Gradually, an individual Dutch style
emerged, incorporating landscapes based on the paintings of
contemporary Dutch artists, and Oriental designs were
adapted to vases and ornamental ware in typically European
shapes. The rise of meissen and s?vres, and the emergence of
English creamware, contributed to Delft's decline by the end
of the 18thC. The industry was revived in 1876, producing
blue and white wares, lustreware and a product known as 'New
The name given to British TIN-GLAZED EARTHENWARE. Following
the Dutch lead, British maiolica in the Italian style was
introduced in the mid to late 16thC, principally at
Southwark and Lambeth in London. But it was the emulation of
the delft approach to Oriental styles, with Dutch-style
landscapes, and from 1690, the use of a second, lead or
kwaart glaze, that characterised delftware. Barrel mugs,
jugs, wine bottles, chargers and bowls were typical
products. The body of English delftware was softer, the
finish less glossy, and the products less refined than their
Dutch counterparts. Most delftware was decorated in blue and
white, although high-temperature colours broadened the
palette in the early 18thC, especially at the bristol
potteries. liverpool and Dublin were also major producers,
with a substantial output of transfer-printed tiles from
1750. Delftware production declined with the development of
the more refined creamware towards the end of the 18thC
The original della Robbia family were 15thC Florentine
potters and sculptors, producing maiolica ware. Their work,
notably that of Luca della Robbia, inspired artist-potter
Harold Rathbone to found the Delia Robbia Company of
Birkenhead in 1894 which produced tiles, plaques, bottles
and vases in arts and crafts style using sgraffito
techniques under a coloured transparent lead glaze.
(1790-1853) Clock-maker noted for his pocket watches, marine
chronometers and the construction of the 'Big Ben' clock in
London (which was completed by his stepson, Frederick). Dent
was in partnership with John arnold 1830-40 and then worked
on his own.
See decorative motifs.
A city renowned for its porcelain. Derby's first factory
making soft-paste porcelain was founded c. 1750, and
concentrated mainly on figures, vases and cabinet-ware.
Derby figures can be identified by three unglazed patches on
the base, and earlier glazed figures often have a dry edge.
Early examples were some of the finest ever modelled in
Britain. In the 1770s Derby pioneered the use of unglazed
biscuit models in Britain. William Duesbury, initially an
outside decorator for the factory, took over as director in
1756, producing articles quite openly in imitation of
meissen porcelain. Characteristic Derby ware of the period
includes ink sets, potpourri vases and salts decorated with
landscape scenes set with tiny figures. Duesbury acquired
the chelsea porcelain factory in 1770 - the products were
known as Chelsea-Derby until the factory's closure in 1784 -
and Bow in 1775. The product range broadened dramatically,
and a stronger china body incorporating bone ash was
introduced. s?vres took over from Meissen as the main source
of inspiration, with neoclassical decoration and rich ground
colours of claret and turquoise. In the 1770s, too, the
'Japan' patterns inspired by imari porcelain, which became
strongly identified with Derby for the next two centuries,
were introduced. Most memorable of all is the work by
artists such as Thomas Steele, Zachariah Boreman, William
'Quaker' pegg and William Billingsley, whose work included
exquisitely painted flowers, fruit and Derbyshire
landscapesbone china replaced soft-paste porcelain in the
early 19thC, but from 1811 the emphasis shifted to
inexpensive products, and quality declined. The factory
closed in 1848. Crown Derby Porcelain Co. was set up in 1876
and produced decorated and gilded bone china
Small pocket percussion-lock pistol invented by US gunsmith
Henry Deringer (1786-1868).
System introduced 1842 enabling British craftsmen and
designers to take out patents on their original designs.
Registered designs are marked with a symbol or number - a
diamond-shaped mark was used 1842-83 and thereafter the
letters RD followed by up to six digits were used. The marks
are not a guide to the date of manufacture as they relate
only to the design, which might continue for many years
A set of crockery, usually porcelain, for eating and serving
desserts, comprising fruit comport(s), sweet sauce and sugar
tureens, and dessert plates. The fashion for having a
special service separate from the dinner service began in
the second half of the 18thC -sometimes to the point of
setting a separate table for dessert - but had died out by
the end of the 19thC.
Literally translated as 'German flowers' -referring to
painted floral decoration which was widely used at porcelain
and faience factories throughout Europe. The style was
introduced at vienna in the 1720s but perfected at meissen
c. 1740 and later used at worcester, Bow and chelsea. The
lifelike flowers, based on contemporary botanical
illustrations appear as single blooms or in loose bunches,
and replaced the more stylised indianische blumen. A version
that incorporated a shadowing effect is known as ombrierte
Blumen (shadowed flowers).
Group of German businessmen, artists, craftsmen and
industrialists who, 1907-34, were influential in setting
high standards in industrial design.
A flat-weave floor covering made in India, typically from
pastel-coloured cotton. It is the Indian equivalent of the
Persian (Iranian) and Turkish kilim, although these are
usually made of wool. The majority of dhurries were made in
Indian jails, and began to be exported cheaply and in
quantity to the West from the 19thC. However, pre-20thC
examples are now quite rare and valuable. See indian jail
See angle BAROMETER.
The 'face' of a clock or watch on which the time, calendar
or astronomical information is registered. The term can
refer to the whole face or to the individual discs or rings,
such as the calendar dial, on which the periods of time are
inscribed. Dials first appeared c. 1350. Previously, hours
were recorded by a single strike of a bell. A dial plate is
the metal plate in a clock or watch which is attached to the
front plate of the movement, and to which the metal chapter
ring or enamel dial is fixed.
Considered the most valuable precious stone. Diamond is the
hardest known naturally occurring substance, and refracts
(bends) light and disperses colour very strongly. These
qualities give the stones great brilliance and fire
especially since the 17thC when diamond cutting was
developed and improved. The value of a diamond depends on
size, colour and the number of flaws. Completely colourless
stones are rare; most diamonds are slightly tinged with
yellow or brown. Rare red, blue and green shades are known
as fancy diamonds or fancies. A diamond's colour and clarity
can be altered by HEAT TREATMENT.
See decorative motifs.
See cage cup.
Any of various devices used for cutting out, forming or
stamping a material. In coins, for example, the designs on
each of the two sides of the blank are struck simultaneously
by a pair of dies or punches, either by hand or machine;
usually the more complicated obverse die, or pile, is fixed
on a solid base, while the reverse die, or trussel, moves up
White cotton, simple tabby-weave fabric sometimes patterned,
used for bed and window curtains from the late 17th to early
19th centuries and as a dress material in the early 19thC.
It was imported from India before production started in
Lancashire in the 18thC.
With yingqing, the earliest Chinese porcelain wares, dating
from the song dynasty (960-1279). Dishes are the most
common, but some bottles, ewers and vases have been
excavated from burial grounds. Many forgeries have been
produced in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
See dress sword.
French decorative furniture style which peaked during the
Directoire government (1795-9). The style was a simplified
and austere version of the Louis XVI style. Minimal
decoration was used, and Republican symbols - such as the
cap of liberty and the fasces (a bundle of rods bound around
an axe) - appear frequently on furniture, faience and
textiles. The Directoire style merged into the empire
1 A long single-edged knife, traditionally used by Scottish
Highlanders and still worn by officers of Scottish regiments
of the British army. 2 A short dagger with either a straight
or curved blade, carried by naval officers in the late 18th
and early 18th centuries.
Hollow, waisted cylindrical ring of pierced, chased or
fretwork silver used to support hot dishes and to protect
the surface of tables and sideboards. Dish rings were made
from the early 18thC and are erroneously known as potato
Medicine cupboard about 9-13in (23-33 cm) high with shelves
and racks on the inside of the doors.
Trade term for a work of art, normally a piece of furniture
in obvious need of repair. The term is also used to describe
a wood surface which has become rough and uneven through
age, or which has been made to appear older than it is.
A long couch or sofa without back or arms and often set
against a wall. The word 'divan' is Turkish, and both the
divan and the ottoman seat (from which the divan developed)
are based on Turkish state furniture.
Dixon, James, & Sons
Sheffield firm of silversmiths, established in 1806, which
became the leading maker and exporter of britannia metal and
electroplated wares to the USA in the mid-19thC.
dog of Fo
Stylised Chinese Buddhist lion (Fo means Buddha), in Chinese
mythology one of a facing pair of temple guardians. They are
found as modelled figures in painted decoration on
porcelain. The Japanese version is called shi'shi.
18thC term for a fringed napkin, named after a London linen
mercer by the name of Doily. From the 19thC the term was
applied to the circles of decorative cotton or linen placed
on serving plates beneath cakes and sandwiches.
Marks found on some dolls identifying maker's name, batch or
style number, size or diameter of head, trademark and
sometimes the number of components used to make the doll.
Such marks are normally only found on dolls made by the most
famous and established manufacturers. Where the marks appear
on the body varies according to maker and type of doll.
Marks on bisque dolls, for example, are usually found on the
back of the head. In addition, official registration or
patent marks may appear, as follows D?pos? or Deponiert -
patent application registered, France and Germany, late
19thC; Brevet? or Bt? - French for patented; SGDG (sans
garantie du Gouvernement) - without government guarantee,
from 1850; DRGM (Deutsches Reichsgebrauchsmuster) - German,
patent registered, from 1909; Ges Gesch (Gesetzlich
Geschutzt) - German, patent registered, from the end of the
19thC; PAT and PATd - patented, Britain and USA, from the
end of the 19thC.
Blown glass cylinder, one end of which is domed, while the
base is trimmed straight to allow it to stand upright. Domes
were used in Victorian times to protect collections of
stuffed birds or animals, arrangements of wax fruit and
other displays, and as protective covers for automata and
Collective term for all door fittings, including
door-knockers, handles and knobs, door-stops, hinges,
letterboxes, finger plates and decorative emblems or
escutcheons. Door furniture tended to be purely functional
until the late 18thC when, in accordance with the rise of
the interior design concept, ornate Rococo and neoclassical
examples earned their place as ornamental accessories. See
See ingrain CARPETS.
Loosely applied nickname for Spanish or Spanish-American
16th-19thC gold coins, in particular the dobla escudo.
A Chinese palette outlined in underglaze blue, the design
then glazed and enamelled by filling parts or all of the
pattern with translucent famille-verte colours; formerly
spelt tou-ts'ai. See wucai and sancai.
Ceramics factory founded by John Doulton (1793-1873) in
Lambeth, south London, 1818. The factory's success in the
first half of the 19thC was based on its stoneware chemical
and sanitary products. In the 1860s, a close association
with students from the Lambeth School of Art led to the
development of Doulton studio art wares. Artists included
Arthur, Hannah and Florence Barlow, John Broad, Mark
Marshall, Frank Butler and George Tinworth. In 1872 Doulton
launched Lambeth faience (underglaze-painted earthenware).
Later came silicon ware (a vitrified, unglazed stoneware),
and marquetry ware, made of marbled clays in chequerwork
patterns. In 1882 Doulton launched a high-quality porcelain
range at its Burslem factory and from 1900 was known for its
tile panels and porcelain figures, particularly its art deco
See edinburgh tapestry company.
Short-stemmed, small-bowled glass with a heavy foot, used
for drinking spirits. Types of dram glasses known as firing
glasses were made in Britain from 1740 until the 19thC. They
were used for toasts and hammered on a table to make a noise
Extendible table with the top divided into three leaves,
known from the 16thC. The two outer leaves slide beneath the
central one when the table is shortened.
A drinking-glass stem that is drawn out as an extension of
the bowl when the molten glass is being blown, as opposed to
one that is shaped separately and then attached.
drawn thread work
A type of embroidered fabric in which some of the threads
are drawn out to form geometrical or other patterns in
relief. It was introduced in the 15thC or possibly earlier.
MEISSEN-style ceramics produced by various factories in the
Dresden area of south-eastern Germany in the 19thC. Until
the 1970s the term 'Dresden' referred to the Meissen factory
itself. Crown Dresden is porcelain produced by outside
decorator Helena Wolfsohn, in Dresden in the 1870s. Wolfsohn
originally used the Meissen royal factory mark on her
products, in particular the AR (Augustus Rex) mark.
Following a lawsuit brought by Meissen, she adopted a crown
with 'D' scripted beneath. Her work was typically decorated
with pastoral scenes (which were inspired by the French
artist Antoine Watteau) interspersed with panels of flowers.
East, including India and China, from the 15thC onwards. The
Portuguese were the first Europeans to start the
long-distance trade, soon followed by the British, French
and Dutch, and then the USA. The British company, set up in
1601 to trade for spices, flourished for more than 200 years
importing and exporting furniture, carpets, silk, embroidery
A sword worn as part of a uniform or regalia and not for use
as a weapon, also known as a court or diplomatic sword.
A long table, sometimes in the style of a sideboard with
cupboard, drawers or open storage space below, and/or open
shelves tiered or stepped above. From medieval times, a
dresser, or dressing board, was where food was garnished or
'dressed' before it was served. Welsh dresser is a term
dating from the late 19thC, used to describe a freestanding
dresser with cupboard and drawers, and shelves above. Welsh
dressers were made from the late 17thC in Wales, Lancashire
(1834-1904) British decorative-arts writer and designer
whose distinctive style anticipated the concept of the
modern movement. Dresser advocated the importance of design
linked with function. He began his career as a botanist, but
turned to the study of the arts and published Principles of
Design; he was art director of the linthorpe pottery
1879-81. Dresser's designs, often influenced by Japanese
style, were applied to carpets, glassware, furniture,
pottery and textiles. He designed simple, geometric
silverware for elkington, James dixon and Hukin and Heath.
A term introduced in the 17thC for a small table with
drawers designed to be used for grooming and dressing. In
the 18thC, designs incorporated compartments and drawers for
a wide range of toilet accessories, and mirrors became
standard for the first time.
Detached padded seat designed to fit into a rebate on a
chair frame, introduced in the late 17th to early 18th
A development of the gateleg table, with one or two leaves
which open out, supported on hinged legs, arms or brackets,
to extend the surface area.
1 Early table clock with a drum-shaped case often of gilt
brass and especially popular in the 16thC. 2 Late 18th or
19thC French clock movement fitted into a brass, drum-shaped
Large circular table made from the late 18thC through the
19thC, with drawers set into a deep frieze, and supported on
a central pedestal or tripod. A variant used for dining, and
with a shallower, expandable top is the capstan table; other
variants are referred to as library or writing tables
according to their purpose. Rent tables, with four drawers
for each quarter year or seven weekday drawers and a till
set into the table top, were used for rent collection until
the early 19thC.
Silver, flat-bottomed, cylindrical teapot with a straight
spout, flat lid and single handle of wood, popular
SLIP-cast porcelain figures made at derby, 1750-5. They are
so called because they have an unglazed, dry edge around the
A printmaking technique in which a drypoint needle is used
to score the design directly into the metal plate. Unlike
the true engraving process, the metal is not actually dug
out and removed, but is thrown to the sides of the grooves,
creating slight ridges known as burrs. These hold some ink
which transfers to the final print giving it distinctive
Any of various former European gold coins which used the
ducat standard set in the 13thC. A gold ducat consistently
weighs 3.5 g of. 986 fine gold.
A French term for a day bed with a curved back. A duchesse
bris?e is a version made in two or three parts - including a
foot end with a low, curved back and sometimes a stool in
the middle to extend the length.
flintlock or percussion pistols dating from the 18thC,
usually in pairs.
(1876-1955) French designer of furniture, metalwork, carpets
and glass in art deco and modernist styles who specialised
in lavish, custom-built pieces and interiors.
A mobile stand with two or more tiers of circular trays
around a central column on a tripod base with castors.
Dumbwaiters were designed to be placed near a dining table
for self-service, and introduced in Britain in the 1720s.
Cut-out image of a human figure, such as a pedlar, maid or
footman, or animal such as a cat, in painted wood. They were
possibly used as fire screens in late 17thC Britain, but by
the mid- 18thC were purely ornamental. Reproductions were
made in the mid-19thC and in the 1920s and 30s.
1 Heavy glass doorstop, also known as a door porter, made of
scrap molten glass which would otherwise have been dumped.
Bottle factories often made doorstops as a sideline. 2 See
See royal Dux.
(c.1637-1703) Pioneering London potter who produced the
first identified British stoneware in the 1670s. By the
beginning of the 18thC, he had developed a greyish (or
mouse-coloured) SALT-GLAZED STONEWARE and introduced the
first fine red stoneware to Britain. Dwight's influence
spread quickly to Staffordshire with the elers brothers who
had worked with him.
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