Antiques Glossary - E
Author: Jim CoyleEames, Charles
(1907-78) US architect and furniture designer, who, with his
colleague Eero saarinen, explored the potential of new
materials such as plywood, aluminium and steel. He developed
his knowledge of plywood moulding during the Second World
War, later using the technique to create furniture -chairs,
tables, screens and storage units - that were fluid, light
Product made from clay that is only fired to the point at
which the particles form a single mass but do not vitrify
into a glassy, impermeable substance. The resulting body is
porous, and a glaze is needed to make it waterproof. Because
of the low firing temperatures, glazed earthenware can take
a wide range of metal oxides as colouring agents, and is
often brightly decorated.
East India Companies
Trading companies from the West who opened up trade with the
countries of the Far fine metal wire is fixed onto the body
and the resulting network of cloisons (compartments) filled
with enamel paste.
(1836-1906) Architect and furniture designer associated with
the art furniture movement, c. 1870-90.
(1854-1942) An American dry-plate camera manufacturer who in
1888 introduced the Kodak camera - the first camera designed
to use a flexible roll film. The film was a roll of paper
coated with a light-sensitive emulsion.
A very close-textured hardwood which is black in colour.
Ebony is unusually resistant to decay. It is, however,
brittle, and from the 17thC in Britain was most commonly
thinly cut as a veneer, and used for BANDING and INLAID
DECORATION. Other woods such as fruitwoods, were stained
black, or ebonised, to imitate ebony and are much more
common than the real thing. Coromandel is similar in colour
and weight, but mottled grey or brown or striped with black
and yellow. Calamander is a light brown ebony, mottled and
striped with black, which was popular for Regency veneers
Edinburgh Tapestry Company
Non-profit-making workshop established 1912. Until 1940, the
company produced large, commissioned tapestry scenes; after
1946, smaller, coarser-weave panels designed by contemporary
artists were more typical. The company was also known as the
Dovecot Studios or Dovecot Tapestries.
arts and crafts movement furniture designer and author of
the influential publication The Decoration and Furniture of
Town Houses, in 1881.
(1615-1867) Prosperous period in Japanese history when the
arts flourished and Edo (now Tokyo) became the new capital
See LITHYALIN GLASS.
egg and dart
See decorative motifs.
An extremely delicate Chinese porcelain from the early 18C,
later produced by the Irish belleek porcelain factory and
the Japanese kutani factories in the late 19th and early
A fine black stoneware, produced in Staffordshire from c.
1710, which could be polished to a shine. Wedgwood's
basaltes ware is a more refined version.
Interest in Egyptian architecture, symbols and
hieroglyphics, initially prompted by Napoleon's invasion of
Egypt in 1797, and which were incorporated into the work of
neoclassical designers and architects as decorative motifs.
The early 19thC furniture designs of English designer and
collector Thomas hope helped introduce Egyptian taste to
A clock that is driven by electricity, first produced in
Britain by Alexander bain in the 1840s. The clocks fall into
three main categories: free pendulum clocks, in which the
pendulum receives an electric impulse to maintain momentum;
clocks with automatic rewinding powered by a small electric
motor; and synchronous clocks, regulated by the alternating
current of mains electricity.
The method of plating metal by an electrolytic process. The
best known electroplated articles are those of silver and
chromium. The former replaced the sheffield plate process in
the mid-19thC. The process was first patented in Sheffield
in 1840. nickel silver was soon found to be the most
successful base for electroplating; it may be marked EPNS
(electroplated nickel silver). Copper and britannia metal
(EPBM) were also used. Unlike Sheffield plate, the silver
deposited in the electroplating process is free of all
impurities, and the end products tend to be a colder, less
mellow metallic colour.
A refinement of the electroplating process in which
silver-plated articles are reproduced from moulds. A mould
is used as one of the electrodes in an electroplating vat,
and by electrolysis is lined - more thickly than in
straightforward electroplating - with the silver. The mould
is then freed to leave a hollow shell in the shape of the
finished article. Introduced in 1843, electro-typing was
expensive but accurate, good for making exact copies of
complex metalwork and prompting a mid- 19thC interest in
naturalistic decoration on silverware.
Elers, David and John
(fl 1686-1700) Dutch brothers trained as silversmiths, who
came to Britain c. 1688 and made a significant impact on the
development of British ceramics. They worked with John
dwight at his Fulham potteries in London (1690-3) and then
moved to Staffordshire to set up their own business. The
combination of the Dwight influence and the Elers' own
expertise helped to establish Staffordshire's unique place
in history as an important international ceramics centre.
The Elers specialised in fine red stoneware decorated with
relief patterns in white, which was much imitated by other
Birmingham-based metalworking firm, whose proprietor George
Elkington (1801-65) patented the first silver electroplating
process in 1840. From then on, the firm concentrated on
electroplating and electrotyping, leasing out the patent to
other silversmiths, and on producing tableware and
presentation pieces by Christopher dresser and other
(1706-72) Master clock-maker to King George III, who
developed a form of compensated pendulum and improved the
cylinder escapement. His father and his son, both called
John, were also notable clock-makers in their own right.
English elm is a hard and flexible wood, light golden-brown
in colour and with a coarse, irregular grain. It has a
tendency to warp and is prone to worm. The timber was often
used in country furniture. The wych elm or Scotch elm is
harder than the English variety, with a straighter, finer
grain and it takes a good polish
Pottery produced from 1881 by English art potter Sir Edmund
Elton (1846-1940) at his family home in Somerset. Elton, a
follower of the aesthetic movement, was influenced by Far
Eastern, South American and European art. Decorative
Eltonware vases, jugs and bowls use various coloured slips
and lustre, lead, metallic or monochrome glazes.
The means of producing a relief design, on metal or leather
for example, by hammering on the reverse side of the
material. Objects such as pots and tankards are embossed
with a long-handled, dome-headed snarling-iron. On
silverware, embossing is used for the basic, large-scale
relief shapes in a design, and finer detail is added by
REPOUSSE and flat-CHASING techniques
One of the rarest and most valuable precious stones,
depending on highly variable quality. Emeralds range in
colour from pale to dark green, the most valuable being dark
green with brilliance and clarity. Flawless stones are
Furniture and furnishings style popular in France c. 1804-30
and in the USA c. 1810-30 and beyond.
A smooth, glassy, protective or decorative medium that can
be fused onto a metal, glass or ceramic surface by firing.
Enamel colours are made out of powdered glass and pigmented
metallic oxides such as gold, copper and manganese suspended
in an oily medium. This can be painted onto glass or ceramic
objects, and during firing, the oily medium burns away and
the others fuse together. In enamelware, coloured enamel
pastes are applied to a metal body by various techniques and
then fired. In basse-taille (low relief) enamelling, a
design is carved on the body and the whole area is covered
with one or more layers of translucent enamels. In champlev?
enamelling, the ground is cut away and the hollows filled
with the enamel paste, leaving the raised areas free. In
See corner cupboard.
Engraved decoration on metal and other materials, of
circles, waves or narrow grooves, produced on a lathe.
1 Method of decorating by cutting fine lines or dots into a
glass, metal or other hard surface In acid engraving or acid
etching, the subject to be decorated is coated with an
acid-resistant wax, varnish or gum, and the design incised
through this with a fine steel point. Alternatively, areas
to remain in relief are coated with the acid-resistant
substance, leaving the background exposed. The object is
immersed in acid which 'eats away' the exposed areas. Depth
and texture are achieved by adjusting the time of exposure
to the acid. The process was used to decorate late 15thC
armour, and from the 16thC, mainly developed as a printing
process. See cameo glass. Diamond-point engraving involves
using a diamond point to scratch a design on a glass
surface. The technique was developed in 16thC Venice, but
gradually spread throughout Europe. It is seen mainly on
cristallo and flint glass - often for calligraphy Stipple
engraving was developed in 17thC Holland. A diamond-pointed
tool is tapped against the surface, resulting in dots of
varying density. The patterns thus created show great
subtleties of light and shade Wheel engraving is believed to
date from c. 1500 bc, but the technique flourished in Europe
from the 16thC. The surface to be decorated is held over a
treadle-operated rotating wheel fitted with an abrasive disc
and a pattern is ground into the surface. The method can
create shallow surface engraving, or deeper cameo and
intaglio effects. 2 A print made from an inked steel or
copper plate into which a design has been cut. See also
Small squarish rugs woven by several of the nomadic Turkoman
tribes of central Asia to cover the tent entrance. Many have
a cruciform design and are wrongly referred to as hatchli
Shallow silver or sheffield plate serving dish with or
without a cover, made in Britain from c.1760.
See card table.
Military shoulder strap often fringed with gold braid.
An elaborate stand, usually of silver or glass, for the
centre of the dining table with branching arms supporting
removable receptacles, such as fruit or sweetmeat dishes and
condiment holders. Epergnes came to Britain from France c.
1715; the name is from the French ?pargner (to save), the
idea being that dinner guests were saved the trouble of
See mean time; quare, daniel.
Type of plastic designed to imitate tortoiseshell and used
to make fashion accessories such as hair clips in the early
(fl. 1808-29) London-based silversmith who worked in
partnership with her brother-in-law, William Ernes.
Following his death in 1808, she formed a partnership with
her business manager, Edward Barnard, and went on to produce
numerous items including tea and coffee services, epergnes
Part of the mechanism in a clock or watch that controls the
driving force (either a weight or a spring) and allows it to
'escape' at regular intervals. This counteracts the
tendencies of both an unchecked weight to accelerate and a
spring to weaken on unwinding. See also brocot and
remontoire. The verge escapement was introduced with the
first mechanical clocks. It was originally used with an
oscillating bar or foliot with weights at either end, and
after the introduction of portable clocks and watches c.
1520, with a balance wheel. The anchor or recoil escapement,
invented c. 1670, operates in association with a pendulum;
it replaced the verge escapement in longcase clocks some 15
years after their introduction, but was not used in bracket
clocks until c. 1800. The motion of a seconds hand linked to
an anchor escapement is characterised by a very slight
backward movement (or recoil) after each forward movement.
The deadbeat escapement, in use by 1715, was also for
pendulum clocks. It evolved from the anchor escapement, but
the seconds hand stops dead after each forward motion. The
lever escapement, an adaptation of the deadbeat invented in
1754, is used with a balance wheel. From c. 1820 it was used
increasingly for watches and carriage clocks. The duplex
escapement, also for balance-wheel mechanisms, has either
two escape wheels or, more often, a single escape wheel with
two sets of teeth. It was perfected c.1750 and used for
high-grade watches and carriage clocks 1750-1850. The detent
or chronometer escapement is used with a balance wheel, and
incorporates a detent, or locking device, of either spring
or pivoted form, which alternately locks and unlocks the
escape wheel. Developed from the mid- 18thC and widely used
in the 19thC, it proved one of the most accurate escapements
1 A term for a carved shield on a pediment. 2 Any protective
metal plate on furniture, particularly a keyhole plate. 3 A
small metal nameplate on a clock face or a firearm, for
Maker's mark - name, initials or monogram - stamped on
French furniture particularly during the second half of the
iSthC. The mark was struck with an iron stamp and appears in
A late 18thC offshoot of neoclassicism introduced by
architect-designer Robert Adam, c. 1774. Many of Adam's
designs were ostensibly based on the architecture, art and
ornament of the ancient Italian country of Etruria (now
Tuscany and Umbria). The use of boldly contrasting black,
white and terracotta was typical of his interiors but the
colour scheme was in fact taken from Greek pottery.
Large serving jug made of precious or base metals or
ceramics. Ewer-and-basin sets were used for hand-washing at
the dining table,but less common after the arrival of table
forks in the late 16thC
See capacity marks.
The area sometimes left free below the design on a circular
coin, often used for the date, artist's initials or a small
Woollen carpets made in Exeter, Devon, in the mid-18thC
using Turkish knot (see carpet knots) . Exeter carpets were
among the earliest to be made in Britain, their elaborate
designs based on Savonnerie patterns, with Rococo scrolls,
floral motifs and foliage. Exposition Internationale des
Arts D?coratif s et Industriels Modernes An exhibition held
in Paris, 1925, which played a major role in establishing
art deco style. It was a French-dominated showcase for all
fields of the decorative arts
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