Antiques Glossary - I
Author: Jim Coyleice glass
art glass with a frosted outer surface that resembles
cracked ice. It is made by rolling a partly blown glass
object over powdered glass, and then reheating it and
blowing it into shape, or by plunging white-hot glass into
cold water so that it becomes veined with tiny cracks. Ice
glass, also known as frosted glass, crackled glass and verre
craquel?, was made in 16thC Venice and revived by British
glass-maker Apsley pellatt c. 1840.
Distinctively decorated Japanese porcelain made at arita
from the late 17thC and shipped from the port of Imari. The
panelled decoration, dominated by underglaze blue, iron-red
enamel and gilding, with occasional additions of black,
green, aubergine and yellow enamels, was based on local
textiles. The designs, also known as Japan patterns, were
copied in Europe throughout the 18thC. In the 19thC Imari-inspired
patterns were imitated at derby and spode.
Carved fish-scale decoration found on furniture.
1 White or coloured liquid clay slip applied thickly to a
ceramic body and then worked so that it is slightly raised
from the body before glazing. 2 The term also applies to the
thickness of paint in oil painting.
See herati PATTERN.
Ince & Mayhew
(fl.1759-1802) English cabinet-makers William Ince and John
Mayhew worked together from 1759 onwards. Their early ornate
work in Rococo style later developed along more restrained
neoclassical lines. The partners published The Universal
System of Household Furniture, which contained over 300
designs similar to those of Thomas chippendale. Ince and
Mayhew also built furniture based on designs by Robert Adam.
Decoration that is cut or carved into the surface with a
sharp metal point.
Incised triangle period
(1744-9) Little survives, but the ware was lighter and more
translucent than that of Bow, with a glassy finish.
inclined plane clock
See gravity CLOCK.
A design impressed into the surface of a coin to create an
intaglio effect rather than a relief design.
Indian jail carpets
Large, heavily woven pile carpets produced in
northern-Indian jail workshops in the 19thC. The industry
thrived in response to growing Western demand after examples
were shown at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. The
designs were based on earlier Persian styles. Flat-weave
dhurries were also woven in Indian jails - in far larger
quantities than the pile rugs, as they were easier to make.
German for 'Indian flowers' - a term for painted floral
decoration on ceramics inspired by Oriental and more
specifically kakiemon, originals. The designs were
introduced at meissen in the 1720s, and imitated by other
European factories including chelsea. From the 1740s
indianische Blumen were superseded by deutsche blumen
See high-temperature colours.
British flat-weave carpets that are reversible, having the
same pattern appearing in a different colour on either side.
They are also known as double-cloth carpets, and have been
woven since c. 1824 at many factories, particularly
kidderminster, but developed mainly in the USA from 1850.
Container for writing implements, including inkpot, pounce
box, sealing wax, handbell and quill pens, in use from the
16thC onwards. The implements either fit into a box or rest
on a matching tray. Standish is the common term for pre-
18thC silver inkstands.
Technique used on solid wood furniture, in which details of
coloured woods, ivory, metal or mother-of-pearl are set into
cut-out recesses some ?in (3 mm) deep. First used in 15thC
Italy, the technique reached France, Holland, Germany and
Britain the following century, and was popular on
Elizabethan and early Stuart oak and walnut furniture.
Designs were fairly simple - geometric, or using flower and
vase motifs. As veneer and marquetry techniques were
perfected, inlaying died out.
Small container designed to hang from the belt, worn by
Japanese men from the 14thC. The original purpose was to
hold a seal- the word is literally translated as 'seal
basket' -but inro were later used for other personal effects
such as medicine or tobacco, and by the 18thC had become
purely decorative. Inro are usually of lacquer on wood,
typically 3-5 in (7.5-12.5 cm) long, shallow and oval, and
made up of several close-fitting compartments. See netsuke.
Decorative technique (or object made by the technique) of
incising a figure or design into the surface of hards tones
(as in seals) and glass (see engraving, wheel) especially,
and also ceramics and metalwork. Intaglio is the opposite of
cameo work, in that the design, not the background, is cut
away to give an image in relief.
An Italian term for pictorial MARQUETRY or INLAID DECORATION
found on 15th and 16thC Italian panelling and furniture.
Various woods, tortoiseshell, metals and ivory were chosen
for colour and texture to create a realistic architectural
perspective, or a symmetrical still-life group of objects
such as musical or precision instruments.
Decorative technique which involves painting a watercolour
picture on the inside of a bottle using an angled brush
inserted through the neck. It was particularly popular for
decorating snuff bottles.
See lost wax.
Glassware that appears to be rainbow-coloured when viewed
from certain angles and in certain lights. Ancient glass
which has been buried often develops a natural iridescence
due to attack by minerals in the soil. The same effect has
been created artificially by treating glassware with
Heavy, ornate lead crystal, produced from c. 1780 in
Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Waterford following the removal of
a ban from exporting glass from Ireland and to avoid the
high taxes payable in England. English factories at
stourbridge, Sunderland and St Helens have recently been
identified as the source of much of the glass previously
described as Irish.
See stone china.
Ornamental style applied throughout the decorative arts both
in Middle-Eastern Islamic countries, North Africa and Spain.
It is in abstract style - often colourful, symmetrical
patterns with inscriptions or kufic script - because the
Koran forbids the representation of Allah, the human form
and animals. In 15thC Spain following the Moorish (Islamic)
occupation, Islamic style was combined with Christian gothic
in the Mudejar style.
Coarse-bodied Turkish earthenware, either coated with a
white slip or tin glazed, decorated with bright,
high-temperature colours under a glassy quartz glaze. Bright
blue, green, turquoise and an impasto red were typical, and
blue and white Chinese-inspired wares were also made.
Production centred on Isnik (ancient Nicaea), 60 miles (95
km) south-east of Istanbul, from the 15thC onwards. Quality
declined in the 17thC, but the style was copied in Europe
from the late 19thC.
A clock-making term meaning equally beating, that is, each
beat occupying an equal period of time. A pendulum is
naturally isochronous, while a balance wheel only becomes so
when linked with a balance spring.
tin-glazed earthenware, particularly Italian maiolica, with
a scene from a historical, mythological or biblical story.
Literally translated as 'with a story in it', istoriato was
introduced in the early 16thC. It represented a move from
the production of purely practical wares to articles
designed for display.
Hard, dentine tissue from the tusks of elephants and other
mammals. From the earliest times ivory was used in China for
carvings and in Japan for netsuke figures, as a base for
miniature paintings and for decoration. In the West, ivory
has been used for ornaments, jewellery and furniture. Its
use declined in the 15thC but interest was revived in the
18thC, especially in the Victorian era. See morse ivory.
Cream-coloured glass wheel-engraved or moulded to look like
carved ivory. The engraving was treated with a coloured
stain to highlight details of the design, and some pieces
were then decorated with GILDING or ENAMELLING. The
technique was applied to various ornamental wares, some in
Oriental styles, and was a speciality of Thomas webb & Sons
in the late 19thC.
Ivory-coloured, slightly iridescent art glass developed by
the designer Frederick carder during the 1920s. The colour
was created by adding the minerals feldspar and cryolite to
molten glass, and the iridescence was achieved by spraying
the finished object with tin chloride and then reheating it.
Return to Home Page