Antiques Glossary - N
Author: Jim CoyleNabeshima
Japanese porcelain made at Okawachi, 5 miles (8 km) north of
arita. Nabeshima is the name of a Japanese prince who
founded the kilns at the end of the 17thC. The porcelain was
made as presentation ware for the local nobility and was of
significantly higher quality than most of that exported to
Western markets. Nabeshima was characterised by
sophisticated decoration and limited shapes, particularly in
the first half of the 18thC. Much of the decoration was
outlined in underglaze blue and filled with overglaze
enamels. Thick celadon glazes, often combined with blue and
white or enamelled designs, were also used. Little Nabeshima
reached Europe before the late 19thC. The style has
continued right up to the present day.
Hand-made nails were used particularly from Roman times for
fixing hinges and locks before the advent of screws. They
were also used concurrently with wooden dowels, for joining
planks before the introduction of mortise and tenon joints,
although they are seen on country furniture made well into
the 18thC. Machine-made nails were made from the early
Bristol glassworks operating 1788-1873. It produced crown
and sheet glass, bottles, household ware and flasks. The
household wares were made in a pale green glass with no
decoration. The flecked and festooned glassware, including
jugs, carafes, rolling pins and flasks, which is often
called Nailsea glass was almost certainly made elsewhere.
Also known as namazlyk. See prayer rug.
Late 19thC French art nouveau design group with a philosophy
of combining art with nature, founded by French designer
Emile gall?. Members of the school included the sculptor,
painter and designer Victor Prouv? (1858-1943), glass
artists Auguste and Antonin daum, and metalworker and
cabinet?maker Louis majorelle.
Traditional though misleading name given to blue and white
chinese export porcelain made at Jingdezhen. The wares were
shipped to Europe via the city of Nanking (Nanjing) during
the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were usually
decorated with Chinese landscapes and buildings, and
sometimes with European-influenced borders.
(1752-1835) Architect whose building style epitomised
Japanese lacquer technique developed in the early 19thC.
Flecks of gold, silver, copper or metal alloys were evenly
sprinkled between layers of clear or coloured lacquer,
creating a speckled appearance similar to that of aventurine
glass. (Nashiji is Japanese for 'pear-skin ground'.)
Term generally used to describe a British furniture style
fashionable c. 1840-65. It was characterised by flowing
curves and leaves and flowers elaborately carved in deep
relief- as well as luxurious, informal, deep-cushioned
Drinking cup made from the snail-like nautilus seashell,
with silver or silver-gilt mounts. The cups were made in the
16th and 17th centuries, primarily in Italy, Germany,
Austria and the Netherlands, although some British examples
do survive. They were intended for display rather than use.
The mounts are usually decorated with figures and shapes
associated with the sea, such as mermaids.
Rugs woven by the Navajo Indians in the south-west USA from
the late 19thC. Early abstract designs were replaced by
pictorial rugs in the early 20thC, but the 1930s saw a
revival of traditional designs and the use of vegetable
Small case made of wood covered in leather or shagreen, or
sometimes silver or enamel, designed to carry travel
necessities, such as toiletries or sewing equipment.
Necessaires were particularly popular in the 18thC and were
also made in the 19thC.
See close stool.
Silk and satin embroidered pictures painted with watercolour
in parts and produced in quantity during the late 18th and
early 19th centuries.
Medieval table ornament in the shape of a fully rigged ship,
usually made of silver set with precious stones or
enamelled. It was used to hold a nobleman's or guest of
honour's wine, eating utensils, or as a ceremonial salt
container. The nef was much copied in silver during the
(d.1722) London silversmith who made articles such as
candlesticks, teapots and pilgrim bottles, marked 'AN' or
'Ne'. His son Francis carried on the business.
Style based on the decorative forms of ancient Greece and
Rome which dominated design in architecture, furniture and
ornamentation in late 18thC Europe. The architect Inigo
Jones used Classical themes in the early 17thC, inspired by
the work of Italian renaissance architect Andrea Palladio
(see palladian). In the mid- 18thC the true Neoclassical
period emerged in France - following the excavation of
Pompeii - and proceeded to spread throughout Europe. In
Britain architect-designer Robert Adam was the main
Ornamental Japanese toggle worn at the waist above the obi
or sash. A cord passed through holes in the base from which
was hung an inro or a pouch. Netsuke were made from the
17thC in a wide variety of materials, but became redundant
when the Japanese adopted Western dress in the 1870s. Most
take the form of figures, animals or plants but there are
some variations: Manju (rice cake) resembles a bun - either
solid or pierced. Ichiraku is made from woven or braided
metal, rattan palm or bamboo, forming a basketwork box or
gourd. Kagamibuta is a shallow bowl with a decorated metal
lid. Sashi netsuke are rod-shaped, up to 5 in (12.5 cm)
long, typically depicting an insect or animal perched on a
twig or branch.
A leading French centre for making faience from the 16thC.
The first pottery was founded by three Italian brothers and
produced wares in the Italian maiolica tradition. French
styles with Chinese decoration date from the 17thC, with
predominant colours of flat yellow, white, red and blue. In
the late 17thC the potteries were famous for bleu persan
ware, with Persian-inspired designs in light colours on a
dark blue background. By the 18thC Nevers wares had been
overtaken in popularity by those of rouen and moustiers. In
the late 18thC, before a number of potteries closed, they
were the main suppliers of faience patriotique - wares
decorated with inscriptions and symbols of the French
New Sculpture movement
British movement c.1880-1910, concerned with naturalistic
modelling, often in bronze, using the accurate lost-wax
Tyneside has been a major centre of glass-making since the
17thC, when a number of French and Italian craftsmen settled
there, many of them skilled enamellers and engravers. Local
manufacturers made large quantities of window glass,
tablewares and ornaments, sometimes sending the products to
Holland for decorating. During the 19thC Newcastle also
produced pressed glass.
white alloy of nickel, copper and zinc commonly used as the
base metal for electroplating. The result is called
electroplated nickel silver (epns). Being a similar colour
to silver, worn areas are less obvious than when copper is
the base metal. Nickel silver was also marketed as German
silver and argentan.
Decorative technique on metal, often silver; an engraved
design is filled with a black compound of sulphur and
powdered copper, silver or lead and is fixed by heating.
See reign marks.
A clock with pierced hour numerals and minute divisions
which are illuminated when an oil lamp is placed behind the
dial. Night clocks originated c. 1670, and are most common
in Italy. A few were made in Britain before 1700. The clocks
tended to catch fire and became obsolete after repeater
mechanisms were invented in the late 17thC. See also
See close stool
The standard gold coin of medieval England, showing the king
in a ship. Its face value was originally 6s 8d
(33.33p)-one-third of ?1 The noble was struck in large
quantities from 1350. In 1464 it was redesigned as a rose
noble, or ryal and revalued at 10s (50p). The coin remained
in circulation throughout the 15th and early 16th centuries.
A 16th and 17thC circular navigating instrument for use at
night. The number of hours before or after midnight was
measured by the difference between two pointers - one set to
the date and hour on the instrument scale, the other
directed at the pole star. Nocturnals are found in wood or
brass; metal ones often have 'teeth' on the scale so the
hours could be counted in the dark.
(1858-1941) British ceramic artist and modeller at doulton
and art director 1914-36. In the late 19thC he introduced
two types of earthenware - Holbein ware, decorated with
portraits, and Rembrandt ware, decorated with coloured slip.
(1836-1902) English glass-maker who specialised in cameo
glass. From the age of 12 he worked for a number of
glass-making firms in and around stourbridge,
Worcestershire, eventually founding his own company. He won
a ?1000 prize for his copy of the portland vase, a 1stC
Roman urn in cameo glass.
lace with a machine-made net ground and embroidered white
decoration, often in two thicknesses of thread, made from
the mid- 19thC.
Bavarian city that was a centre for German 16th- 18thC
metal, ceramic and glass industries. The metal industry was
noted for clocks, watches and scientific instruments,
particularly weights, and for pewter with moulded bas-relief
decoration. The city gave its name to the Nuremberg egg, a
16thC watch with a spring-driven movement which hung from a
cord at the belt. Ceramic production in the 16thC centred
mainly on Hafnerware stoves and tiles, and in the 18thC a
wide range of tin-glazed earthenware. Glasswork included
17thC humpen-brightly coloured enamelled drinking vessels -
and Sch?pergl?ser, glasses decorated in black enamel which
were named after their original designer, Johann Schaper
Mid- 19thC term for a single chair used for breast-feeding
infants, with a seat only 13-15 in (33-38 cm) above the
Porcelain factory founded outside Munich in 1747, which
moved to Nymphenburg, Bavaria in 1761. Hard-paste porcelain
was made from the beginning, but from 1757 its quality
improved and it was used to make Rococo figures, including
those modelled by Franz bustelli. The Nymphenburg factory
also produced veilleuses and tableware and specialised in
the production of cane handles and small boxes. During the
late 18th and early 19th centuries Nymphenburg mainly
produced busts, reliefs and Classical figures, and tableware
in s?vres Empire style. Early 20thC products include art
nouveau tableware and figures.
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