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Antiques Glossary

Alsace
a region of East France, bordered by Germany west of the Rhine River. Known as the region Alsace-Lorraine, rich farmland famous for cheese and Riesling Wine. The region also includes the Vosges Mountains and the cities, Strasbourg and Colmar In 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War, all Alsace (except Belfort) was annexed by Germany. With part of Lorraine, it formed the "imperial land" of Alsace-Lorraine. Many Alsatians emigrated to France. Clamor for the return of Alsace-Lorraine became the chief rallying force for French nationalism and a major cause of the armaments race that led to World War I. France's recovery in 1918 of this territory was confirmed by the Treaty of Versailles (1919) In 1940, German troops occupied Alsace; a large part of the population had already been evacuated to central France. Alsace was treated as a part of Germany. French and American troops recovered Alsace for France in January 1945. Virtually the whole population speaks French, but a large majority have also retained their German dialect

Armoire
A large movable cupboard, with doors and shelves. from the French word, "arma"gear, tools, arms, originally used for storing weapons English use the word wardrobe for the same piece of furniture. Today the armoires

Art Deco Or Art Moderne
A popular design movement from 1910 until 1939, the name came from the 1925 Paris Exposition of Decorative Arts,. Art deco is characterized by long, thin forms, curving surfaces, and geometric patterns. Creators of art to architecture tried to describe the sleekness of the machine age. The style influenced all aspects of art, from skyscrapers and ocean liners to toasters and furniture. This movement was a mixture of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism. The peak of popularity was during the 1920s. Many design movements have political or philosophical roots, Art Deco was purely decorative. At the time, the style was seen as elegant, functional and ultra modern. Since the 1960's the style has undergone a resurgence of popularity. Napier, New Zealand, which was rebuilt after a 1931 earthquake, has the largest concentration of art deco architecture in the world. Noted American monuments to the style include Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Building in New York, and South Beach, Miami.

Art Nouveau
The decorative art movement centered in Western Europe. It began in the 1880s as a response to mid-19th-century art. Art nouveau started in London and didn't continue past World War I. The style was rich in ornament and asymmetrical, looking like plant tendrils. Designers used ideas full with symbolism, frequently used dreamlike and exotic forms. Used in decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, and book design and illustration. The equivalent in Germany-Jugendstil, Sezessionstil in Austria and Modernismo in Spain. Some outstanding designers of art nouveau include Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Ricketts, Walter Crane, from England. In Belgium the architects Henry Van de Velde and Victor Horta. The architect and designer of the Paris mŞtro entrances, Hector Guimard, and jewelry designer RenŞ Lalique. America had the architect Louis Sullivan and the designer Louis C. Tiffany.

Bombe
A curving or swelling outward on a cabinet, usually a chest of drawers or a base of a large cabinet such a s a Dutch Cupboard.

Commode
In English, a "commode" can refer either to a toilet more precisely, or a kind of bureau. The word comes from French, where the adjective "commode" means "convenient" or "agreeable," and the noun refers to a piece of furniture with drawers. (A few hundred years ago, the English also used the word to describe loose women-who were, of course, quite agreeable.) For antique collectors, a commode is almost always a chest of drawers.

Cabriole
a curved, tapering leg curving outward at the top and inward farther down so as to end in a round pad, the appearance of an animal's paw, or some other feature

Deux Corps
French, meaning two bodies, one cabinet nearly always paneled doors sitting atop a base cabinet with panel doors. sometimes small drawers in the base. Sizes ranged from 48" 60". Deux corps were used in the salon, living room or dining rooms for linens and dishes.

Flanders
A county in the Low Countries, along the North Sea and W of the Scheldt River. The name Flanders is also used for all the Dutch-speaking areas of Belgium. Flanders had a turbulent history in the 13th and 14th centuries due to social, economic, and political tensions. One result of the intensive industrialization of the cities was a struggle between the guild workers and the patricians. This struggle was reflected in the political rivalry of the Leliaerts (supporters of the French kings, named for the fleur-de-lis on the French arms), who were backed by the patricians, and the Clauwaerts (supporters of the counts of Flanders, named for the lion's claws in the counts' shield), who represented the lower classes. In addition, there was a long-standing rivalry among the cities, which often led to open warfare. In 1506, Flanders came under the Spanish line of the house of Hapsburg and continued under Spanish rule until 1714. Parts of West Flanders, including Lille, were annexed to France by Louis XIV and became known as French Flanders. In 1797 Austria let go of the remainder of Flanders to France and in 1815 the Congress of Vienna awarded the former Austrian Flanders to the Netherlands. When Belgium gained independence in 1830, its part of Flanders was divided into the provinces of East Flanders and West Flanders. Flanders's strategic location has made it a major battleground since the Middle Ages. In World War I, there was continuous fighting in French Flanders and in West Flanders. In World War II, the battle of Flanders began with the German invasion May 10, 1940 of the Low Countries and ended with the surrender of the Belgian army and the evacuation of the British at Dunkirk May 26-June 4, 1940.

Linen Press
A cabinet, usually in 2 sections, the top with 2 doors, the base with drawers. Designed for storing sheets, table linens, clothing, and other textiles. A Dutch Cupboard is another example of a linen-press. The linen-press was equivalent to a wardrobe or armoire which are other names commonly used for this model of furniture.

Louis Philippe
A French furniture style, characterized by simple lines, plain design and beautiful wood. Louis-Philippe furniture is a far cry from the upper-crusty, rounded opulence of Louis XV. King. Louis-Philippe's reigned France from 1830-48 and ruled France with the support of the bourgeoisie. His middle-class manners earned him the moniker "Citizen King" and may have influenced the unglamorous decorative style that bears his name. Styles can't abdicate and move to England, furniture styles tended to linger in the provinces, where the latest Parisian fashions had less influence. The style was produced long after his reign.

Liege
City and province in eastern Belgium. Also known Luik in Dutch. The famous battle of Liżge*, the first battle of World War I. In the early middle ages, while technically part of the Roman Empire, Liege controlled a large degree of independence. The strategic position of Liżge made it a frequent target of armies over the centuries. After 1477, the city came under the rule of the Habsburgs and, after 1555, under the Spanish In 1815 the Congress of Vienna awarded it to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch rule lasted only until 1830, when the Belgian Revolution led to the establishment of independent, neutral Belgium. In the 1880s a chain of 12 forts were constructed around the city to provide defense. These forts presented a major obstacle to the Germany army in 1914. *Battle of LiegeThe German plan was to quickly pass through the Meuse valley and the Ardennes en route to France. When the invasion reached Liege on August 5, the forts were defended by 30,000, with an attacking force of about 100,000. The forts were pulverized into submission by a five-day bombardment by the Germans. The siege lasted from August 5 until the 16th when the final fort surrendered. The Belgian resistance could not hold back the Germans, but the setback caused by the siege contributed to the eventual failure of the German invasion of France. The city was subsequently occupied by the Germans until the end of the World War I. The Germans returned in 1940, this time taking the forts in only three days. Most Jews were saved, with the help of the sympathizing population, many Jewish children and refugees were hidden in the numerous monasteries. The German occupants were expelled by the United States Army in September 1944, but Liżge was subsequently subjected to intense aerial bombardment, with more than 1,500 V1 and V2 missiles landing in the city between its liberation and the end of the war.

Pitch Pine
A small-to-medium sized (6-30 m) tree, The Pitch Pine is found mainly in the northeastern coastal United States, from Maine to northern Georgia. A few stands occur in southern Quebec and Ontario and is the main tree of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The look of pitch pine is orange to reddish-brown, which create a sharp contrast grain from the annual growth rings. Pitch pine's history stems from the trade with America, where it was used as ballast on trading ships. The wood was then used in Europe to build furniture and used in public buildings and schools. Today, reclaimed Pitch Pine is a tough durable flooring material. The slow growth of the tree and its high resin content make this timber equally suitable for domestic and commercial applications.

Patina
Patina is everything that happens to an object over the course of time. The nick in the leg of a table, a scratch on a table top, the loss of moisture in the paint, the crackling of a finish or a glaze in ceramics, the gentle wear patterns on the edge of a plate. All these things add up to create a softer look, subtle color changes, a character. Patina is built from all the effects, natural and man-made, that create a true antique.

St. Rocco
St. Rocco was born of noble parentage about 1340 A.D. in Montpellier, France. At birth it was noted that he had a red cross-shaped birthmark on the left side of his chest. As a young child, St. Rocco showed great devotion to God and the Blessed mother. At an early age, his parents died leaving him an orphan under the care of his uncle, the Duke of Montpellier. Soon after, St. Rocco distributed his wealth among the poor and took a vow of poverty.

Secretary Desk
There are generally 3 elements to a secretary desk, the base with drawers or cabinet doors topped by a desk with a slnated hinged desktop surface, cylinder that opens, or a roll top, the top element is a bookcase. The top usually a pair of doors, with glass, wire or wood panels. The entire piece is usually a tall piece of furniture in 2 sections for transport. Enclosed behind the desk top can reveal small drawers, shelves and nooks. The most common term for the secretary desk is the secretary and bookcase. Unfortunately there is no unanimity on this term, even among specialists. In Europe the same piece of furniture has been called bureau, desk and bookcase. Most folks call this kind of desk a secretary, or secretaire. On most slant front antique secretaries and on most reproductions the user has to pull out two small wooden planks in order to support the desktopsome antique versions have a system of internal gears connected both to the sliders and the hinged desktop automatically pushed the sliders out at the same time as the user pulled on the closed desktop.

Wax
Woodcarver's and cabinet makers choice of finish throughout Europe. They have used furniture wax for years to not only protect the original quality of the wood, but also to restore antiques to their original patina. Wax comes in many shades and finishes to a soft luster. It can be used over unfinished furniture, paints, stripped pine, reproductions, oils, stains, shellacs and varnishes, even on metal, iron and bronze to enhance the beauty and patina of a finish.

French Furniture Styles - Timeline

1515 to 1560 - Renaissance

1560 to 1643 - Louis XIII

1643 to 1715 - Louis XIV

1715 to 1723 - Regence

1723 to 1774 - Louis XV

1774 to 1792 - Louis XVI

1793 to 1804 - Directoire

1804 to 1814 - Empire

1814 to 1830 - Restoration & Charles

1830 to 1848 - Louis Philippe

1848 to 1870 - Second Empire (Napoleon III)

1870 to 1890 - Revival

1890 to 1920 - Art Nouveau

1920 to 1940 - Art Deco

 
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