Antiques Glossary - F
Author: Jim CoyleFaberg?, Peter Carl
(1846-1920) Russian designer and manager of the Faberge
workshops which produced meticulously crafted objects of
vertu and jewellery.
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Decorative steel studs cut with facets which were
fashionable in the 18th and 19th centuries and used for
buttons, belts, sword hilts and jewellery. Woodstock, near
Oxford, and Matthew boulton's factory in Birmingham were the
main centres of production.
1 Small, flat surfaces ground onto cut gemstones. Some cuts
enhance colour at the expense of brilliance. See jewel
cutting. 2 Angular, light-reflecting surfaces in BRIGHT-CUT
fa?on de Venise
High-quality, late 16th and 17thC glass made in the venetian
style, mainly in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
The name given to the French tin-glazed earthenware which
developed from Italian maiolica. The term is also used for
tin-glazed earthenware products from Germany and
Scandinavia; the British equivalent of faience is delftware,
the Dutch delft. Faience was first produced in any quantity
in France from the late 16thC, mainly by Italians (the term
derives from the Italian town of Faenza). Early designs were
Italian style; from the 17thC they emulated Chinese
porcelain, and in the 18thC, meissen. High quality,
extravagantly decorated faience was made for the aristocracy
early in the 18thC, but by the end of the century the
development of cream ware for everyday use, and porcelain
for finer products, significantly reduced the production of
faience wares in Europe A tin-glazed earthenware designed
for everyday use was known as faience blanche. It was
produced in the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Italy then
throughout most of mainland Europe Faience fine is the
French version of the British creamware produced from the
1760s. It was introduced in 1768 in France and is usually
lead glazed rather than tin glazed.
Cheap porcelain groups of human or animal figures made for
sale or as prizes in fairgrounds 1860-1914. They were often
lighthearted or comic in theme, with innuendo captions
beneath. The fairings, made c. 1860-90 in Germany and
Austria for the British market, were produced in moulds and
had solid bases. From 1890 to c. 1914, hollow imitations
were being mass-produced.
lustreware decorated with fairyland scenes by Daisy Makeig
Jones, registered by the wedgwood factory in 1915 and
marketed throughout the 1920s and into the 30s.
A genuine object altered in some way, not necessarily to
deceive. See also forgery.
The hinged lid on a desk, bureau or secretaire that folds
down to form a writing surface, often supported by pull-out
lopers. It is also known as drop front.
Commonly used French terms for 'families', or palettes of
enamel colours used on Chinese porcelain. Famille-verte,
introduced in the mid-17thC, dominated by green (and also
containing yellow, aubergine, black and blue), was largely
replaced by famille-rose c. 1720. Famille-noire is
famille-verte with the background filled in black, and
famille-jaune is similar but with a yellow ground. The last
two are often painted onto an unglazed biscuit body.
An essential accessory for women, especially in 18thC
Europe, used to create a breeze and to communicate modesty,
coyness or discreet flirting. The rigid fans of the ancient
civilisations and Renaissance Europe have a long handle
topped by a leaf of parchment, fabric or feathers within a
rigid frame. Folding fans originated in China and came to
Europe with the Portuguese in the 15thC. Ribs of bone or
similar material are covered with a pleated, semicircular
leaf of paper, silk or lace. Bris? fans are made entirely of
overlapping ribs of ivory, mother-of-pearl or bone with a
ribbon threaded through the upper ends. (Bris? is French for
'folding'.) A cockade fan can be pleated or bris? but opens
out into a complete circle
Type of pocket watch mass-produced in Britain in the first
half of the 19thC, the dial often decorated with a painted
rural scene. Large versions are sometimes referred to as
A quarter of an old British penny (0.104p). It was issued in
silver in the 13thC, in copper from 1672 and in bronze
1860-1956. Farthings ceased to be legal tender in 1961.
French term for a secondary wood such as beech painted to
simulate an exotic wood such as rosewood; an effect used in
the early 19thC. See decorative motifs.
An 18th or early 19thC pill or patch box in the form of a
dummy watch, hence the French term meaning 'false watch'.
Some are made of BlLSTON ENAMEL.
Trade name for a type of iridescent art glass developed by
the US designer Louis Comfort tiffany c. 1892. It was made
in a variety of colours, the oil-on-water effect created by
spraying the hot glass with metallic salts, or by applying
acid or metallic lustres to a cooled surface. It was mainly
used for vases.
Engraved or bright-cut patterns of fine, slanting lines that
decorate the edge of silverware. Feather-edging was used on
flatware c. 1760-90 and on the handles of silver cutlery
from the late 18thC onwards.
A tough form of bone china which contains pure feldspar in
place of Cornish china stone, which is only part feldspar.
The first successful feldspar body was produced at coalport,
but spode was the first to name the body and mark pieces
'feldspar porcelain' c. 1820. The idea was soon taken up by
other Staffordshire potters.
A low screen or rail of cast iron, copper, brass or steel
designed to stop coals rolling out of the hearth. Fenders
were introduced in the late 17thC when raised baskets or
grates lifted the fire off the ground. They may be movable
pieces or a continuation of the fixed fire surround. A
fender curb is a shallow version used on a broad, deep
hearth. Club fenders or seat curbs are combined fender and
padded seat connected by metal bars.
English term for hinaningyo - extravagantly dressed Japanese
dolls made for doll festivals at which Japanese boys and
girls were ceremoniously initiated into traditional customs.
The dolls were traditionally handed down from generation to
See decorative motifs.
A flat, raised panel in a wall or a piece of furniture with
1 The markings, grain or pattern on a piece of wood. 2 A
figured textile is one with a pattern of figures or
naturalistic subjects as opposed to one that is plain or
striped. 3 Human or animal form.
Netting with a pattern or design embroidered into it to
create a lace effect, popular 16th to early 17thC and late
19th to early 20thC. It is also known as lacis or darned
Lace-like decoration made with fine gold or silver wire. It
was widely used in Europe from the late 17thC on jewellery
and for openwork panels set in boxes, baskets and cups.
Birmingham was a manufacturing centre in the 18th and early
19th centuries but thereafter much filigree came from Malta,
India and China.
1 A small ledge supporting a shelf. 2 A small, narrow band
found on architectural features in furniture, such as on a
fluted column. 3 A leatherworking wheel tool used in
bookbinding to make straight or parallel straight lines. The
term can also refer to the line itself.
An Indian sword with a straight, strengthened blade for use
with both hands. The blade was often imported from Europe,
hence the name firangi, or 'foreigner'.
The bright flashes of coloured light displayed by a.gemstone
resulting from its high refractive index and strong
dispersion of light. The fire of a stone is improved by
faceting. There is more fire in a correctly faceted diamond
than in any other natural colourless gemstone - emeralds and
rubies have brilliance, not fire.
Collective name for a matching set of tools for stoking and
cleaning a domestic fire, including tongs, poker, shovel,
brush, sometimes a fork, and before the use of coal, a hook
for handling logs. 18thC fire irons were usually of polished
iron or steel and tended to be larger than later versions.
Twisted handles were popular in the 1790s. In the 19thC,
fire irons were mainly made in brass.
Technique applied to pressed glass to give it greater
brilliance. Moulded objects are heated at the mouth of the
furnace to remove the dullness sometimes imparted from the
trace elements in the iron mould.
Cast-iron panel at the back of a fireplace to retain and
radiate heat, to protect the adjacent wall and for
decoration. Firebacks are also sometimes known as
fireplates, iron chimneys and reredos.
See andirons. fire gilding See gilding .
See flintlock and wheel-lock.
See pole screen.
The process of baking ceramics in a kiln. An initial or
biscuit firing causes a chemical change to take place in the
clay paste, binding the particles to form a hard, rock-like
body. Firing temperatures vary for different ceramics: up to
800?C (1450?F) for earthenware; 1200-1450?C (2200-2650?F)
for stoneware; 1100-1200?C (2000-2200?F) for soft-paste
porcelain; and over 1400?C (2550?F) for hard-paste
porcelain. Subsequent firings may fuse the glaze or enamel
colours onto the body.
See dram glass.
See herati pattern.
(1864-1936) British sculptor, painter and silversmith who
specialised in enamelling. He invented a widely copied
technique that created an illusion of depth in translucent
enamel by using a foil background. Much of his silverwork
features celtic motifs.
chinese export porcelain with a trellis border in underglaze
blue or overglaze iron red, and inner flower clusters,
thought to be named after a family who commissioned the
design. It was copied by various English factories.
A cheap, serviceable mercury stick barometer which was
mass-produced from c. 1870. It includes printed paper
weather-forecasting charts based on Fitzroy's Rules' which
were introduced on earlier marine barometers designed by
Admiral Robert Fitzroy. Fitzroy barometers were made in
variously styled cases, and typically also included a
thermometer, and a storm gauge.
Large vessels for serving wine or beer, like large-scale
tankards, which were made throughout Europe, generally in
pairs. Flagons have a flat bottom, slightly tapering sides
and a handle and thumbpiece, often with a hinged lid. They
were rare before the 17thC and usually made of ornate
silver, to hold Communion wine. Towards the end of the 17thC
their use increased in taverns and households.
The French for 'flamed', referring to a lustrous, rich
crimson-red ceramics glaze with flashes of brilliant blue.
The effect was produced by firing a copper glaze in a
reducing atmosphere - one that removes oxygen from the
glaze. The technique was used on Chinese porcelain of the
late 17th and 18th centuries, and rediscovered and widely
applied in Europe in the late 19thC. See also SANG-DE-BOEUF.
Doll's neck with a ridged base used to secure a bisque,
china or composition head to a cloth body.
Glass objects dipped into molten glass to give them a fine
outer layer, thinner than on cased glass, which is often in
a contrasting colour. The flashing may be cut or ground away
in a pattern to expose the layer underneath.
Stoppered glass, ceramic or silver container for holding
liquids, often alcohol. Those for table use generally have a
bulbous body and a short neck. Small flasks for carrying on
the person tend to be flattened ovoids in shape, and also
called pocket bottles or spirit flasks.
Pottery figures designed to be viewed from the front only,
with flat, unmodelled and undecorated backs. They were
intended as decorations for cottage mantelpieces and
produced mainly in the 19thC by staffordshire potteries. The
figures were easily reproduced in moulds, decorated in
underglaze blue, and embellished over the glaze with bright
enamel colours. Later models have a more limited colour
range, some in black and white with gilding. Late 20thC
reproductions made from the original moulds abound.
In silverware, the term strictly refers to articles of
tableware made from a flat sheet without a cutting edge,
such as spoons, forks, sifters and sheers, although in
modern usage the term also includes knives. The term also
refers to other objects of flattened form, such as plates,
saucers, shallow dishes and salvers, as opposed to cups,
bowls and tureens (hollow-ware).
Generic term for any form of carpet or rug with a flat,
tapestry-like weave with no pile, including the kilim and
(1755-1826) British neoclassical sculptor and artist who
designed and modelled for wedgwood, producing friezes and
portrait medallions, from 1775. In the late 18thC he worked
mainly as a marble sculptor and also produced models for
silver for Paul storr.
Type of glass decorated with random coloured specks. The
technique, originally developed by the Romans in the 1stC
ad, involves rolling a gather of molten glass over broken
chips of glasson a marver, and then blowing it. Flecked ware
is often called nailsea glass, but it was also made at many
other factories. Flecked glass was used to make jugs, flasks
and novelty items such as ROLLING PINS.
Flight & Barr
See lead crystal.
Type of ignition mechanism on a firearm used from the early
17thC until the early 19thC. Sparks were generated by
friction between a piece of flint and a steel plate, the
frizzen. Below the frizzen is a pan set next to a touch-hole
in the breech. The sparks ignited powder in the pan and, via
the touch-hole, fired the main charge in the breech.
Paper or cloth used as wall covering, with a stencilled
design picked out in glued-on powdered wool to give a
contrasting velvety texture. Flock was first used in France
and Britain in the early 17thC and was very fashionable in
See pietra dura.
Originally, a gold coin issued in Florence in the 13thC. In
Britain, a silver florin - face value 10p (2s) - was first
issued in 1849. The word 'florin' no longer appeared on
these coins after 1936, although the denomination still
exists in the form of the modern lop piece.
Term used to describe the fuzzy and blurred cobalt-blue
transfer prints on Staffordshire earthenware of the 1860s to
Table or stand specifically designed for holding plants or
cut flowers. Some have inset, wire-covered trays which were
filled with wet sand to hold cut flowers.
Brick-shaped container with holes pierced in the top for cut
flower stems. delftware versions were popular in the 18thC.
Larger, semicircular vessels with separate flower-holders
are called bough-pots.
Tall, stemmed drinking glass for wine with a slender bowl
which flares out or narrows at the rim. Flute glasses were
particularly popular 1773-1850. See also ratafia.
Semicircular parallel grooves which run vertically up a
A substance added to a glass or ceramic body that lowers the
temperature at which the fusion or melting of base materials
takes place during firing or smelting. Potash, bone-ash,
borax, lime and soda are common flux materials.
A decoration of knots and bunches of floss silk - popular on
18thC dresses and christening gowns.
fly leaf and bracket
Parts of a drop-leaf extending table: the fly or drop leaf
of which is supported by a hinged fly bracket or rail.
18thC term describing the chain used to secure a small
pocket watch. The term originated from the fob pocket (in
the waistband of men's breeches), and the word fob came to
refer to any small ornament attached to a fob chain, such as
a fob seal. In the late 19thC, ladies' ornamental watches
suspended from a brooch on a short chain or strap were known
as fob watches. The watch face was sometimes displayed
upside-down so it could be read easily by the wearer.
Foley China Works
Staffordshire pottery founded 1860 and initially operated by
Wileman & Co. The pottery was known for its simple, bold
designs and brightly coloured decoration. The firm was
renamed Shelley Potteries in 1925 and from the 1930s became
a leading producer of art deco china, and children's
crockery. Tea sets and dinner services are notable for their
distinctive shapes, and floral, geometric and banded
patterns - many by leading British artists such as Vanessa
Bell, Duncan Grant, Laura knight and Graham Sutherland. The
inverted cone-shaped cups and sharp triangular handles of
the 'Mode' range and the square plates of 'Vogue' are
A cabinet-making term referring to leaf-shaped ornament.
See portfolio table.
(1877-1941) French interior decorator and early art deco
designer of furniture, textiles, carpets and metalwork. His
furniture is finely made with expensive materials such as
ivory and shagreen. Early examples showed an art nouveau
influence in their curving lines, and c. 1929 came a more
geometric, Art Deco style.
Fontaine & Percier
French architect-designer team who were mainly responsible
for establishing the empire style of the late 18th and early
19th centuries. Pierre-Fran?ois-Leonard Fontaine (1762-1853)
and Charles Percier (1764-1838) were employed by the Emperor
Napoleon to provide an interior-design style that reflected
his life and empire. They designed furniture, silverware,
textiles and were the first to coin the term 'interior
Slightly projecting rim on the base of an object, also
called a foot-ring or basal rim.
Portable container of hot coals or water, used throughout
northern Europe to keep feet warm. Most foot-warmers consist
of an inner container made of stoneware or metal with a
perforated outer case of wood, wrought iron, copper or
brass, and were sometimes wrapped in carpet.
A deliberate attempt at deception. See also fake.
Watch made in the form of another object. Early examples of
the 17thC were intended as a memento mori (reminder of
death), often in the form of a cross or a skull. 19thC
revivals included stringed instruments, shells and flower
(1828-1911) French jewellery designer who specialised in
enamelling and was inspired by renaissance designs. Many of
his designs are carved onto precious stones. His son Georges
(1862-1957) joined the firm in 1881 and took it over in
1895, designing pieces in art nouveau style.
Brownish-yellow spots or stains, or other discoloration on
paper, a form of fungal growth caused by damp.
(1911-89) Finnish designer who did much to bring modern
Scandinavian design to international status during the 1950s
and 60s. He was an independent designer of lighting,
furniture and textiles, noted for his disciplined
functionalism, and was artistic director of Finland's
leading ceramics factory Arabia, 1946-78.
German porcelain factory founded 1755 which produced a type
of hard-paste porcelain with a glaze able to absorb enamel
colours. Frankenthal produced tablewares in the style of
meissen and sevres. Figures and statuettes in various styles
including commedia dell'arte and chinoiserie were a
speciality. The factory closed in 1799.
free pendulum clock
Glass-making process in which the glass is shaped in its
molten state by blowing air through a blowing iron without
the use of a mould.
French jet See
Form of lacquer used on furniture consisting of shellac
dissolved in a solvent giving a harder, shinier finish than
beeswax. It was introduced late 18thC and became popular in
the early 19thC.
1 Geometric, trellis-like pattern of intersecting vertical
and horizontal lines repeated to form a continuous band. 2
The technique of cutting thin pieces of wood with a
fine-bladed saw (fret saw) to form shapes or patterns. The
fretwork pattern might be left open, as on table galleries,
or blind, in which the fretwork is carved upon or applied to
a solid surface and cannot be seen through. It is sometimes
seen backed by fabric such as pleated silk, as on a
decorative panel on a door or a cupboard. See cut-card work.
1 An ornamented, horizontal band of painted or sculptured
decoration. 2 The horizontal band beneath the cornice of a
bookcase or cabinet. A convex horizontal band beneath a
cornice is known as a cushion frieze. A frieze rail is the
horizontal length of wood beneath the top of a table or desk
stand, and is also known as a curtain piece. 3 See column.
Unique novelty glassware items such as bells, pipes or toys
made by glass-makers, not for use, but to demonstrate their
1 Powdered glass which is melted, allowed to solidify and
then re-ground and used as a fusible substance in the
manufacture of soft-paste porcelain. 2 The ingredients that
are mixed and fired to make glass.
Large Flemish family of clock-makers working in London in
the 17th and early 18th centuries. In 1658-9 John Fromanteel
visited Holland to learn the art of pendulum clock-making.
The family proceeded to make the first pendulum clocks for
the London market c. 1659.
See ice glass.
Decorative effect on silverware produced by acid treatment.
All commercial silver contains a proportion of copper. If
the article is heated and dipped into a suitable acid, the
copper component is eaten away, leaving a textured surface.
This process was used to decorate silver articles in the
19thC, especially as a background for highly polished
decoration on silver or silver gilt.
A doll cast or modelled as a single complete piece. Frozen
Charlottes were usually made of glazed porcelain and were
also known as solid chinas. They were produced from the mid-
19thC to c. 1910. Some have a flesh-coloured china face and
neck and a white china body. celluloid versions appeared
from the early 20thC.
Long, rectangular Japanese lacquer box designed for carrying
letters or messages.
A vessel often with three or more small cups and interlinked
handles. It was offered in jest as a challenge to drink from
one cup without spilling the contents of the others.
Fuddling cups were made in tin-glazed earthenware, specially
in the West Country, in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Fulham Carpet Manufactory
The London site where the first large, Turkish-knotted
woollen carpets were made in Britain. It was founded in 1750
by a Frenchman, Pierre Parisot, with the expertise of two
savonnerie weavers. The high prices charged for the carpets
forced the factory's closure in 1755, but the techniques
were adopted by Thomas Whitty, founder of the axminster
See de morgan, William.
Groove in a blade of a sword or dagger designed to
strengthen and lighten the blade. See sword.
The result of exposing new pieces of oak to ammonia solution
to give them an appearance of age. The wood turns grey
before fading to yellow-brown. The technique was popular in
the 1930s and 40s and was used by the British designer Sir
Austere, early 20thC design movement based on the premise
that 'form follows function'. The movement's ideas were best
expressed in the book Ornament and Crime (1908), by
architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933). Functionalism's impact on
industrial design was particularly effected through the
Small Bavarian porcelain factory founded 1747 which produced
hard-paste porcelain from 1753. Early wares include
Rococo-style vases and tableware in rich colours and gold,
painted with landscapes, birds or figures. From 1770 the
factory was influenced by berlin and s?vres and produced
busts, statues and painted wall plaques with ornamental
Rococo frames. From c.1790 F?rstenburg followed ? the
neoclassical style and later the empire style products of
See sheffield plate.
Coned-shaped device in clocks to even out the decreasing
force of a going spring on unwinding. The device was
invented c. 1500, used to the late 17thC in continental
clocks and to c. 1750 in continental watches. In Britain its
use in clocks and watches continued until c. 1880-1900. See
also barrel and train.
A lightweight musket with a flintlock mechanism used in the
17th and 18th centuries.
The name for various textiles woven in a similar way to
velvet with a short piled surface. They include a coarse
material of cotton and flax used for bed-hangings and
clothes in medieval Europe, a wool fabric made using the
same weaving technique in the 14thC, and from the 16th to
19th centuries, coarse twilled cotton cloth, velveteen and
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