Save the 2021 dates!

The 2021 virtual edition of the San Francisco Fall Show will take place on the InCollect platform from October 15-24, 2021 and will feature dealers from around the world, offering for sale an extraordinary range of fine and decorative arts from antiquity to the present day. The goal is to represent all styles and periods including American, English, Continental and Asian furniture, art, and decorative objects, paintings, prints, photographs, books, precious metals, jewelry, rugs, textiles and ceramics. Show Chair Suzanne Tucker puts it this way: “For anyone interested in art and design, furniture and the decorative arts – buying, collecting, or simply learning about art and antiques – this 10-day online event is not to be missed. Dealers are spending the summer curating a unique selection of items for the show – and they will be available 24/7 to communicate directly or through the InCollect platform with buyers and collectors”.     

InCollect’s advanced technology and robust platform will allow all dealers to have their own online “booths”, allowing for photo and video, as well as take full advantage of the site’s purpose-built search tools and InCollect’s huge existing digital audience. In short, InCollect provides the absolute best experience for discovering and acquiring art, antiques, jewelry and design. in the words of John Smiroldo, InCollect’s President and Founder: “We’re devoting extensive resources to create an immersive online show experience unlike anything else, combining the benefits of direct live show interaction with the efficiencies of the internet. I’m very excited to work together with the San Francisco Fall Show as it is truly one of the great shows in America.”

Below are a few teaser images from the upcoming show (and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more previews and inspiration!):

From Justin Evershed-Martin: Chinese Iron Panels on Paper, circa 1800.

From Galen Lowe: Japanese two panel folding screen of people cherry blossom viewing. Taisho Period-early Showa Period, circa 1930.

From Stephan Jones: Modern Directoire limed oak colonnade center table with cleft slate top, inspired by the salt works at LeDoux. France, circa 1980’s.

From Foster-Gwin: Sommerville Blue, 1960 by Joseph Fiore (1925-2008). Oil on canvas.

From Lennox Cato: Georgian design walnut and marble top center table, possibly Irish.

From Eocene Arts: Bamboo flower baskets by Kosuge Kogetsu (1932-2017), circa 1960. With original boxes signed/sealed by the artist.

From C. Mariani Antiques: Pair of 18th century gilt wood mirrors.

From Carlton Hobbs: A very large four panel double-sided glazed folding screen mounted with seventy-eight prints and one watercolor painting, depicting views of London from the collection of the Earl of Granville. English, second half of the 19th century.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – Y and Z

Yakshi

In Hindu and Buddhist art, yakshis are auspicious female nature spirits, symbolic of fertility and abundance. Yakshis are typically depicted as beautiful and voluptuous, with wide hips, narrow waists, and exaggerated, spherical breasts.

Terracotta Yakshi Holding a Crowned Child with a Visiting Parrot, Shunga period, circa 1st century B.C., India (Bengal). Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Yataghan

A yataghan is a  long knife or short saber that lacks a guard for the hand at the juncture of blade and hilt and that usually has a double curve to the edge and a nearly straight back.  It was commonly used in Anatolia and the Balkans during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the sultan’s elite corps, or Janissaries, and was carried in the waistband.

Yatagan with Scabbarddated A.H. 1238/A.D. 1822. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

York flagon

A York flagon is a pewter vessel about 12″ in height. Its base is the shape of an acorn cup and it has a domed acorn-like cover, capped by a finial. It was used for serving wine or ale in Yorkshire in the 18th century, and it also known as an acorn flagon.

English pewter flat-lidded York flagon, circa 1690. Image via Christie’s.

Yorkshire chair

Also called a Derbyshire chair, this is a mid 17th century English type of oak chair with the back in the form of an arcade, or with broad hooped rails. This chair was most common in the north of England.

Two Charles II carved oak Yorkshire chairs, circa 1675. Image via Sotheby’s.

You

A you or yu is a type of Chinese Bronze-age wine vessel in the form of  a covered “pot-bellied” bucket with a swing handle.

Wine Vessel or You, 10th–9th century B.C., China. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Zoetrope

Popular in Victorian times, a zoetrope is a toy that consists of a revolving cylinder, open at the top and with a series of images on the inside. The images are viewed through slits in the side of the cylinder and appear to be moving when the cylinder is turning rapidly. The zoetrope first appeared in the 1830’s and is also known as the zootrope or the wheel of life.

Zoetrope, with six strips of zoetrope animation. Image via the History of Photography Collection, Smithsonian Institution.

Zoopraxiscope

A Zoopraxiscope is a 19th century motion-picture device, designed by Edward Muybridge, in which light is projected through rotating glass disks applied at the rim with a changing sequence of images, creating the illusion of movement.

The zoopraxiscope, image via Kingston Museum and Heritage Service.

Zuber wallpaper

Jean Zuber (1793-1850?) was, along with J. Dufour, the first and arguably the best maker of scenic wallpaper in the first half of the 19th century. His designs depicted scenes of horse-racing in  France, England, and Italy, scenes from the American War of Independence, and views of the Niagara Falls and Boston, Mass.

Zuber et Cie’s “Scenes of North America” design, one of the most famous examples of woodblock-print wallpaper. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Zwischengoldglas

A zwischengoldglas is a glass vessel – mainly beakers or goblets – with hunting, religious or heraldic scenes engraved and decorated with gold on the outside and encased in a sheath of glass. This decorative technique dates to 300 BC but surviving examples date Bohemian glass between 1730 and 1755.

Zwischengoldglas with battle scene. Germany, circa 1870. Image via Hampel Auctions.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – W is for …

Wafering iron

Wafering irons were iron sheets used for making thin cakes and bearing in relief impressions of designs sunk into them. They are among the finest examples of Italian renaissance popular decorative art. They were made in large quantities in the 15th and 16th centuries in Umbria band possibly Perugia. The impressions on the irons were made with small punches, each punch bearing in low relief a single figure or other ornament, often heraldic. An intricate pattern covering the whole surface of the wafering iron was built up by combining and repeating several of these punches.

A fancy moule à gaufres or wafering iron held by the Musée Lorrain (Wikimedia Commons)

Waldglas 

Waldglas – from the German word for “forest glass” – refers to the earliest items of bohemian glass, dating from the early middle ages. Waldglas is a thick, robust, mold-blown product in greenish, yellowish or brownish colors, which used wood as a source of potash for the flux.

Four waldglas beakers, 16th century, Germany. Image via Christie’s.

Wardian case

A Wardian case is a glass-sided case that resembles a miniature greenhouse. It was used for growing display plants indoors, such as ferns or some tropical species. This Victorian term comes from naturalist Nathaniel Ward, who brought botanical specimens home from his travels using a similar case. Domed Wardian cases were often mounted on stands, a popular decoration in Victorian parlors.

English cast iron Wardian case on stand. Image via LiveAuctioneers.

Wax-jack

A Wax-jack is a stand, usually made of silver, for a coil of taper which may be lit to melt sealing-wax. Wax-jacks were made from the mid-18th century onwards, especially in England.

British wax-jack, circa 1675. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wellington chest

A Wellington chest is an early 19th century English chest-of-drawers with a single tier of six to twelve shallow drawers. It was used for storing coins or other small articles. A hinged flap overlaps the drawers on one side and is fitted with a lock.

George IV golden faded rosewood wellington chest with secretaire drawer. Image via Thakeham Furniture.

Whatnot

A whatnot is a small worktable or stand with three or more shelves used to hold books, ornaments etc.  – similar to the French étagère, and very popular in the 19th century.

An early Victorian rosewood whatnot, circa 1840, in the manner of Gillows. Image via Sotheby’s.

Wiener Werkstätte

The Wiener Werkstätte (German for “Viennese Workshops”), was founded on May 19, 1903. Two of the founders were the artists Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser. Important members of this workshop included the painter Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Wilhelm Lizst, Emil Orlik, Dagobert Peche, and Oskar Kokoschka. The Wiener Werkstätte created works of craftsmanship in a very distinctive style. The workshop mainly dealt with creating jewelry, fabrics for clothing, ceramics and pottery, and furniture, all characterized by simple shapes, minimal decoration and geometric patterning. For the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, the high point of the organization, Hoffman served as architect, and Klimt and Czeschka (among others) contributed craftwork, this type of collaboration was called “Gesamtkunstwerk.”

Tea service by Josef Hoffmann, Wiener Werkstätte, 1903. © MAK/Georg Mayer

Windsor chair

A Windsor chair is a traditional English chair with a shaped solid wood seat, a curved top and spindle back. Made since the 17th century, they have been produced on an industrial scale since the 19th century.

From Yew Tree House Antiques: Early 19th century English yew wood Windsor hoop back armchair, with “Prince of Wales” ostrich feather decoration.

Wrigglework 

Wrigglework  refers to a zigzag pattern used on British pewter and silverware in the 17th and 18th centuries. Wrigglework was created by pushing an engraving tool over the surface at a 45° angle, while rocking or turning the object.

A wrigglework pewter plate by James Hitchman of London, circa 1720. Image via Christies.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – V is for …

Vambrace

Vambraces or forearm guards are tubular defenses for the forearm, worn as part of a suit of plate armor. They were often connected to gauntlets. Vambraces may be worn with or without separate couters (elbow pieces) in a full suit of medieval armor. The term originated in the early 14th century. 

From Peter Finer: Vambrace, or Dastana, decorated in gold koftgari with a series of Qur’anic inscriptions. India, circa 1700.

Vargueño

A vargueño or bargueño is  a form of portable writing desk originating in renaissance Spain. It is made up of two chests, the bottom one usually having drawers (called a taquillón) and the top one having a hinged desk surface which also serves as a side-mounted lid. The interior of the desk is equipped with small drawers, pigeonholes, etc., for storing papers and supplies. The vargueño has also been used for sewing or as a jewel chest.

18th century Spanish vargueno. Interior design by Suzanne Tucker/Tucker & Marks, photo by Matthew Millman.

Veilleuse 

Veilleuse is a French term meaning night-light. It describes a device to keep broth or drinks warm on the bedside table: a small oil lamp or candle placed in cylinder was used to heat a covered cup or small teapot on top. Veilleuses were used in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Maiolica veilleuse, probably Monte Milone, last quarter 18th century. Image via Sotheby’s.

Vermeil

Vermeil, also known as silver-gilt or gilded/gilt silver, is silver which has been gilded with gold.

Goblet covered in vermeil and silver by Johann Jebenz, Augsburg, circa 1700. Image via Sotheby’s.

Vermicule

Vermicule is a form of decoration developed for Sèvres porcelain, patterned with a mass of little worm like lines.

Sèvres porcelain bleu nouveau and gilt vermicule three-piece garniture, circa 176—1762. Image via Christie’s.

Verre églomisé

Verre églomisé is a French term referring to the process of applying both a design and gilding onto the rear face of glass to produce a mirror finish. Gold or silver foil was applied to the glass back and engraved with a needle before placing black or another contracting color behind the foil. This was then enclosed with a second layer of glass or a coating of varnish. The name is derived from the 18th-century French decorator and art-dealer Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711–1786), who was responsible for its revival.

From Clinton Howell: Neoclassical style mirror with verre églomisé panel, 18th century.

Vesta case

A vesta case is a small case or box for carrying vestas, which were wax or wood matches that pre-dated the safety match. They were usually pocket-sized and produced from silver and other metals and more rarely in porcelain or papier-mâché.

Late 19th century French silver vesta case in pillow form. Image courtesy of Aalders Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Vitruvian scroll 

The Vitruvian scroll is a scroll pattern used in architectural moldings and borders in other media. It is also known as the Vitruvian wave, wave scroll, or running dog pattern. The pattern resembles waves in water or a series of parchment scrolls viewed on end.

Volute 

A volute is a spiral, scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, found in the capital of the Ionic column.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – U is for …

Ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica. Ukiyo-e literally means “pictures of the floating world” (the floating world was the name of the entertainment district in Edo–modern Tokyo).

“Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road: Totsuka (Motomachi Detour),” Hoeido edition, by Utagawa Hiroshige I (circa 1833-34). Image via Yamatane Museum of Art.

Ultramarine

Ultramarine is a blue pigment originally made from ground lapis lazuli.  

Ceiling of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padue, decorated by Giotto di Bondone and completed in 1305. The blue color is ultramarine.

Uranium glass

Uranium glass is glass which has had uranium, added to a glass mix before melting for coloration – from yellow to green (Uranium glass also fluoresces bright green under ultraviolet light). Uranium glass was once made into tableware and household items, but fell out of widespread use when the availability of uranium to most industries was sharply curtailed during the Cold War in the 1940s to 1990s.

A set of seven antique vaseline uranium glass goblets by Adams & Co. EAPG, c. late 19th century.

Urartu metalwork

Urartu was a powerful kingdom that rivaled the Assyrian Empire in the first millennium B.C. It extended from northeastern Turkey into northwestern Iran. Its settlements were palace-fortresses that protected agricultural production and supported many crafts, especially an extensive metalworking industry. In the late seventh century B.C., Urartian centers were destroyed by an enemy whose identity remains unknown.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/324242

Urartu bronze belt fragment, circa 7th century B.C. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Uraeus

The Uraeus is the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra, used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority in ancient Egypt. It was worn on the headdresses of ancient Egyptian deities and sovereigns. In Egyptian mythology, the cobra is associated with the goddess Wadjet.

Tutankhamun’s headdress with Uraeus. Image vian Getty Images.

Urna

In Buddhist art and culture, the Urna is a spiral or circular dot placed on the forehead of Buddhist images as an auspicious mark. It symbolizes a third eye, which in turn symbolizes vision into the divine world; a sort of ability to see past our mundane universe of suffering.

Head of the Buddha in volcanic stone, 9th century, Java, Indonesia. Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ushabti

An ushabti (also known as shawabti or shabti) is a funerary figurine or statuette found in many ancient Egyptian tombs. Ushabtis are usually made of blue or green glazed Egyptian faience, but can also consist of stone, wood, clay, metal, and glass. An important component of the burial, ushabtis took over the role of the servant models, and acted as substitutes for the deceased himself.

Ushabtis of Khabekhnet and Iineferty, circa 1279 –1213 B.C.

Ushak

Ushak carpets or Oushak Carpets are Turkish carpets that use a particular family of designs, called by convention after the city of Uşak, Turkey – one of the larger towns in Western Anatolia, which was a major center of rug production from the early days of the Ottoman Empire, into the early 20th century (although these patterns were woven in other regions also).


From Doris Leslie Blau: early 20th century early 20th century Turkish Oushak carpet.

Ushnisha

The Ushnisha, or the crown of hair, is the three dimensional oval at the top of the head of the Buddha. Ushnisha is one of the most unique features of Buddhist art and Buddhist iconography. 


Head of the Buddha, crowned by the ushnisha, 3rd century, Hadda, Afghanistan.

By Vera Vandenbosch

San Francisco Fall Show News

Due to the challenges faced for large scale events during the pandemic, Show Chair Suzanne Tucker and a dedicated team of volunteers are currently planning a virtual San Francisco Fall Show for 2021, similar to the one held in 2020. The Show will take place in collaboration with InCollect from October 15-24, 2021.

Moving forward, The San Francisco Fall Show is entering a new phase in its nearly 40-year history. In light of budgetary and resource challenges stemming from the pandemic, the Show’s beneficiary, Enterprise for Youth has decided to no longer include the Show as part of their fundraising efforts.

Thankfully, there is an outpouring of support to keep the Fall Show alive and to bring it forward into a new era. In addition to this Fall’s virtual show, a team of volunteers are in the process of forming a Steering Committee with the goal of exploring ways to keep the show’s legacy alive and return for its 40th Anniversary in 2022 live. We look forward to sharing more details in the near future!

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – T is for …

Tankard

A tankard is a tall metal  – usually silver or pewter – drinking vessel with one handle for beer, ale or cider. The earliest surviving tankards from the 16th and 17th centuries have the same basic form – straight, tapering sides with an S-shaped handle, rectangular thumbpiece and a hinged lid.

From S.J. Shrubsole: A pair of George III antique English silver tankards by Augustin Le Sage. London, 1770.

Tantalus

A tantalus is a mid-19th century decorative stand, openwork case or box for spirit decanters. Its defining feature is that it has a lock and key. The aim of that is to stop unauthorized people drinking the contents, while still allowing them to be on show. The name is a reference to the unsatisfied temptations of the Greek mythological character Tantalus.

From Newel: French Victorian oak tantalus set with iron handle and cut crystal decanters.

Tempera

Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent, fast-drying painting medium consisting of powdered color pigments, mixed with egg yolk or egg white and water. Tempera also refers to the paintings done in this medium. Tempera paintings are very long-lasting, and examples from the first century AD still exist. Egg tempera was a primary method of painting until after 1500 when it was superseded by the invention of oil painting.

A 1367 tempera on wood by Niccolò Semitecolo

Tester bed

A tester bed is a bed with a canopy of carved or draped wood above it (formerly called a celure). A half tester bed is one with the canopy supported above the head and with no posts at the foot.

Ornate Elizabethan tester bed

Thebes stool

A Thebes stool is a wooden stool with a thonged leather or wooden seat based on an Egyptian design and introduced by Liberty and Company, Ltd. in 1884.

Late 19th century Thebes stool by Liberty and Company, Ltd. Image via the RISD Museum.

Torchère or torchière

A torchère is a lamp with a tall stand of wood or metal. Originally, torchères were tall candle-stands.

Pair of tripod candlestands or torchères, circa 1740. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Trefoil

A trefoil is a Gothic ornament in the shape of three symmetrical leaves. A quatrefoil has four leaves, a cinquefoil five. These ornaments were much used in the nineteenth-century Gothic revival.

Triforium (gallery or arcade above the arches of a church’s nave) with trefoil tracery. Amiens Cathedral, France, 1220-30.

Tremblant

“Tremblant” or “en tremblant” is a French term – meaning “to tremble”. It was first used to describe 18th and 19th-century jewelry where parts of the diamond set pieces (a flower or a bee, for example) were attached to a coiled spring which trembles when the wearer moves. Brooches mounted in this way were particularly effective in reflecting the scintillating fire of candlelight.

Large Victorian era antique “tremblant” diamond brooch. French, circa 1880. Image via Romanov Russia.

Trompe l’oeil

Trompe l’oeil is French for “deceive the eye”. The term refers to painted decoration with natural shadows designed to to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object.

From Carlton Hobbs: Trompe l’oeil detail on an unusual pair of faux wood painted benches, North Italy Or Tyrolean. Circa 1800.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – S is for…

Salver

A salver is a plate or tray, typically silver or silver-gilt, used for the formal offering of food, drink, letters or visiting cards. The earliest versions in the 17th century have a flat circular top, mounted on a foot to be held by hand of the person serving. Large, heavy, oblong or oval silver salvers evolved into what we know as trays in the 18th century. Small, flat salvers are also known as card trays or waiters.

From SJ Shrubsole: A George II Antique English Silver Salver, London, 1738 by Robert Abercromby.

Sang-de-boeuf

Sang de boeuf refers to the striking blood-red porcelain glaze that was first used by Chinese potters from the Kangxi period onwards. The French term literally means “oxblood,” and Chinese potters often painted the opaque glaze on a white base that simulated bone. In areas where the glaze lies thickly on the ceramic body, such as near the base of a vase, it forms dark patches like coagulated ox blood. Chinese Imperial artists, aware of the glaze’s beauty, protected its formula for centuries.

18th-century Chinese porcelain bowl with sang-de-boeuf glaze.

Sautoir

A sautoir is a French term for a long necklace that suspends a tassel or other ornament. This type of necklace evolved in the early part of the twentieth century in response to the elongation of the feminine silhouette created by the column dresses of the period. Woven or twisted ropes of pearls suspending a tassel were by far the most popular sautoirs. Often they converted to bracelets, shorter necklaces and head ornaments with interchangeable pendants and tassels that could also be suspended from earrings or another necklace.

From Lang Antiques: Vintage long seed pearl sautoir, circa 1920s.

Savonnerie

Savonnerie was a Parisian carpet workshop established 1627 in a former soap factory – the name comes from the French word “savon”, meaning “soap”. Oriental carpet-making techniques were employed with Turkish-knotted wool or silk. The factory made large carpets with classical motifs, landscapes and mythological subjects, and their patterns were widely copied throughout Europe (savonnerie generally refers to all European carpets of similar design). Lighter, rococo-style floral designs were used from the early 18th century. The Savonnerie factory closed in 1825 and the business transferred to the nearby Gobelins tapestry factory.

Tapis de Savonnerie, under Louis XIV, after Charles Le Brun, made for the Grande Galerie in the Louvre.

Scagliola

Scagliola was a material used to imitate marble or pietra dura. It is made from plaster of Paris or clear crystals of gypsum (selenite), various pigments and chips of marble. It was produced in ancient Rome but revived in 16th century Italy, and imported to Britain for interior architectural features such as columns and wall panels in the 18th century. Scagliola was also used for the tops of tables and commodes.

Italian polychrome scagliola top from the second half of the 19th century. Image via Christie’s.

Scrimshaw

Scrimshaw refers to carvings on bone, ivory, shells or wood, made by sailors as a pastime on long whaling and other voyages. The origin of the word is unknown.

Scrimshaw whale’s tooth by Frederick Myrick, considered by many to be the master of the art. It is believed that he created only about 36 pieces, and this is one of only two depicting the whaleship Frances. They were all done while Myrick was serving aboard the Nantucket whaler Susan on a Pacific voyage from 1826 to 1829.

Semainier

A semainier is a French cupboard or chests of drawers with seven compartments, one for each day of the week. The nearest British equivalent was the Wellington chest, made in the mid-19th century.

Directoire mahogany semainier. Image via Sotheby’s.

Singerie

Singerie is the name given to a visual arts genre depicting monkeys imitating human behavior, often fashionably attired, intended as a diverting sight, always with a gentle cast of mild satire. The term is derived from the French word for “Monkey Trick”. Though it has a long history, the height of the genre was in the 18th century, in the Rococo. Although it was not much used after 1800, it was revived in the 19th century after the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

Barbershop with monkeys and cats, by Abraham Teniers, mid-17th century.

Stumpwork

Stumpwork is needlework or embroidery in which all or most of the ornament is raised into relief on a foundation of wool or cotton/wool.

Close-up of a British stumpwork box from circa 1650.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – R is for …

Raku

Raku is a type of hand shaped porous Japanese pottery with a thick lead glaze, in colors ranging from dark brown and light red to straw, green and cream. First produced in the 16th century, and closely associated with the tea ceremony. Still used in Japan today.

Raku tea bowl by Ichinyu-Raku IV (possibly), 17th century; in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Rapier

A rapier is sword consisting of a metal blade, longer than a dagger and fitted with a handle or hilt equipped with a guard. A rapier is designed for thrusting rather than slashing or cutting, and was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.

From Peter Finer: A silver-encrusted rapier, English, circa 1635.

Regard ring

A regard ring is a ring which has been set with a gemstone acrostic or puzzle. The first letters of the gemstones correspond with the word “regard” – Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby and Diamond – and are set in that sequence. The antiquated word for garnet, vermeil was used for the letter “v “and “j” as in the gemstone jacinth, was used to stand in for the letter” i “. First introduced by the French jeweler Mellerio in 1809, acrostic rings soon became very popular tokens of loving sentiments. The fad swept Europe and Empress Marie Louise had three acrostic bracelets commissioned to acknowledge the love between Napoleon and herself.

From Lang Antiques: Victorian regard ring.

Régence versus Regency

Even though they sound alike, Régence and Regency refer to two quite different styles. The French Régence years were in the early 18th century when King Louis XV was too young to reign and so Philippe d’Orléans governed in his place as Prince Regent. The fine furniture and decorative arts in this period were in a transitional style – lighter and less formal than the preceding Louis XIV style, the result of shifting tastes between the previous Baroque styling that was popular during the reign of Louis XIV, and the rising Rococo look that would become fashionable during the reign of King Louis XV after he took the throne as an adult. About a century later, across the channel in England, the English Regency era occurred in the early 19th century. During those years George IV served as Prince Regent on behalf of his father George III who wasn’t well enough to govern. But the term English Regency style usually refers to a longer time span than just those 9 years, continuing through to around 1837. Regency furniture retained the neoclassical look of the preceding Georgian era, inspired by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian design. Other characteristics include: symmetrical and streamlined designs, dark woods and dramatic decorative veneers often accented by gold and metal accents, and classic decorative motifs including rosettes, laurel wreaths, acanthus leaves and lyres, which are U-shaped harps.

Left: French Régence walnut chair, circa 1715-1730, image via The Cleveland Museum of Art. Right: English Regency mahogany open armchair after a design by Thomas Hope, possibly by Marsh and Tatham, circa 1800, image via Christie’s.

Repoussé

Repoussé is a form of chasing on silver and other metals to provide intricate patterns and to sharpen detail. The technique involves first embossing (pushing out) the general shapes from the reverse of the piece to create a three-dimensional effect on the outer surface. The repoussé (pushed back) element comes in when the finer decorative details are added by selective pushing back of these raised surfaces from the front.

An American repoussé silver five-piece tea service, mark of Samuel Kirk & Son Co., 1903-1924. Image via Christie’s.

Rocaille

A rocaille is a rococo design ornament in the form of irregular wavy and rocky surfaces resembling seafoam and shell embedded rocks. Often rococo artifacts can be identified by the asymmetrical design of this ornament.

Various Designs for Rocaille Ornaments, by artist and engraver Jeremias Wachsmuth (German, 1712–1771). Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rouleau vase

A rouleau vase is a Chinese porcelain vase shape with straight cylindrical shape and a straight narrow neck raising from an angular shoulder.

A famille-verte “Romance of Sui and Tang” rouleau vase, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period. Image via Sotheby’s.

Ryijy rug

Ryijy is a woven Finnish long-tufted tapestry or knotted-pile carpet hanging. The name ryijy originated with the Scandinavian word rya, which means “thick cloth”. The decorative ryijy rug is an art form unique to Finland.

Late 18th century wedding ryijy made of plant-dyed yarn, featuring traditional motifs of husband and wife, plants, and birds.

Rython

A rhyton is a roughly conical container from which liquids were intended to be drunk or poured out as an offering to the gods. They are typically formed in the shape of an animal’s head, and were produced over large areas of ancient Eurasia, especially from Persia to the Balkans.

Rhyton shaped as a gazelles head, from Hamadan, Iran, 5th century BC. Image via the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – Q is for…

Qingbai

Qingbai is Chinese porcelain from the Song dynasty (960-1279) with its signature translucent misty-blue glaze. It is also known as yingqing.

A Qingbai carved deep conical bowl, southern Song dynasty, 13th century. Image via Christie’s.

Quadrant

A quadrant is a navigation instrument used for measuring altitude. It is made up of a quarter-circle of wood or metal marked with a graded scale of angles. From the late 16th century quadrants made of brass, or brass and mahogany, with a pivoted radius, or index arm, came into use.

An Astrolabe quadrant, probably Italian circa 1400. Image via Dorotheum.

Quaich

A quaich is a drinking vessel (pronounced “quake”, from the Gaelic word “cuach”), a uniquely Scottish invention. It is believed that its ancestor was the scallop shell, in which drams of whisky were taken in the Highlands and Islands. Like the shells, quaichs were always wide and shallow. The distinctive shape has remained the same for more than four hundred years.

Antique silver Scottish quaich, circa 1900. Image via Scottish Antiques.

Quarrel

A quarrel or bolt is the term for the ammunition used in a crossbow. The name quarrel is derived from the French carré (“square”), referring to the fact that they usually have square heads.

Crossbow bolts or quarrels, probably 15th or 16th century. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Quartering

Quartering is a veneering lay-out/technique using four pieces of wood with the same grain pattern to form a surface. Each quarter has a pattern that is a mirror image of the one alongside.

Detail image of a Tucker & Marks-designed powder room with quartered veneer walls. Photo by Edward Addeo.

Quartetto tables

A set of four small tables, slightly decreasing in size from one table to the next, so that they can be fitted into each other to form a nest, or used separately.

A set of regency specimen-wood quartetto tables by Gillows, circa 1810-15. Image via Christie’s.

Quatrefoil

A quatrefoil is an ornamental design that usually consists of 4 partial and intersecting circles, resembling a flower or four-leaf clover.

The quatrefoils adorning the loggia of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy.

Queen’s Ware

Queen’s Ware is a type of Wedgwood ceramic named after the gift of a tea set to Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, which resulted in the appointment of Wedgwood as Potter to Her Majesty in 1765. Wedgwood immediately named his range of cream colored tableware Queen’s Ware. By 1775 Wedgwood’s Queen’s ware was being imitated all over Europe as the continental potteries reacted to its virtual monopoly in high quality earthenware. In France the imitation wares were known as “faience anglaise”.

Tureen with plate. Wedgwood Queen’s ware, circa 1770. Photo by Jacques Pugin. © Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland.

Quilling

Quilling or Paper Filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. During the Renaissance, French and Italian nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items. The paper most commonly used was strips of paper trimmed from the gilded edges of books. These gilded paper strips were then rolled to create the quilled shapes. Quilling often imitated the original ironwork of the day. The name quilling is said to be derived from the fact that the nuns and monks originally used feather quills as their tool to roll the paper.

Tea caddy with quilled decorations, circa 1780-1800. Image via the V&A.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – P is for…

Parcel gilt

Parcel gilt is a term used to describe silverware or furniture, parts of which are gilded, such as areas of carved or moulded decoration.

From Carlton Hobbs: one of a rare pair of white painted and parcel gilt salon chairs in the French taste. English, 1830.

Partners desk

A partners’ desk is a late 18th century and 19th century type of large English desk at which two people can work facing each other. The desk has drawers and/or cupboards on each side.

From Daniel Stein Antiques: An English mahogany partners desk of compact size with a gilt-tooled leather top, circa 1860.

Parure

A parure is a matching set of jewelery, usually including a necklace, brooch, bracelet and earrings. Parures were first worn in the 16th century and came into vogue again in the 19th century.

Antique neoclassical cameo parure in original box. Grand tour souvenir from Italy, early 19th century. Image via Eleuteri.

Patera

A patera is a small flat circular or oval medallion motif, often decorated with acanthus leaves or flower petals, and often used on silver, furniture, etcetera.

Design for a frieze, ornamented with lion’s head paterae. British, late 18th – early 19th century. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pavé

Pavé, from the French word for “paved”, referring to a jewelery setting in which gemstones, often diamonds, are set very close together like paving stones to hide the backing metal. The technique was popular in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

From Lang Antiques: Pavé platinum dome ring.

Piecrust

A piecrust edge is a scalloped decorative rim reminiscent of the crimped edges of a pie, which was popular on furniture and silverware (where it is known as a Chippendale rim) in the mid- 18th century, and much reproduced in the 19th century.

The Bunting family Chippendale carved and figured mahogany piecrust tilt-top tea table, Philadelphia, circa 1770. Image via Sotheby’s.

Pietra dura

Pietra dura is a term for the inlay technique of using cut and fitted, highly polished semiprecious stones and different colored marbles to create patterns and images. Pietra dura is also known as Florentine mosaic.

From Carlton Hobbs: Remarkable center table with inscribed top made with a mosaic of ancient specimen marbles collected from the site of the Palace of the Caesars in the Farnese gardens, Rome. The Top, probably Rome, circa 1845. Base designed to support top, circa 1980s.

Poker work

Poker work is a technique for decorating woodwork, using a hot tool to burn patterns into a surface, practiced since at least the early 17th century in Italy. It was particularly popular during the Victorian period in Britain and during the arts and crafts movement. It also appears on cottage-style furniture of the early 20th century.

An Italian cedar and poker work cassone, late 17th century. Image via Christie’s.

Pricket

A pricket – or pricket stick – is the earliest type of candlestick, with a metal spike on which the candle was stuck.

Pricket candlestick with fantastic creatures. Circa 1150 – 1175, South Netherlands. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – O is for …

Object de vertu

Objets de vertu (roughly translated as “precious objects”) are tiny decorative pieces noted for their fineness of material and craft, often reflecting considerable effort and finesse on the part of the maker. While such objects date from antiquity and appear in various world cultures, they are mostly associated with European customs of religious devotion and later, the consumption habits of aristocrats and nobles. The former category includes crucifixes, religious figurines, rosaries, and reliquaries, while the latter includes brooches, cameos, snuff boxes, statuettes, and watch pieces. Perhaps the most prized examples today are the series of easter eggs made by the Russian House of Fabergé for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mosaic egg made by Russian jeweller and goldsmith Peter Carl Faberge, originally commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II in 1914 and acquired by Queen Mary in 1933. Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images.

Ogee

An ogee is a double curve shape – two curves, going from convex to concave, or vice-versa – often seen in Gothic and Gothic revival architecture, but the term can also refer to the double curve shape in decorative arts such as furniture and textile design.

From the 18th century pattern book ”Gothic Architecture” by Batty Langley – note the pointed 4-centered ogee arches decorating the frieze.

Okimono

Okimono are small Japanese sculptured figures usually made of ivory but also of bone or wood. They were made as decorative ornaments for the home during the Meiji (1816-1912) and Taisho (1912-26) periods, and exported to Europe and the USA.

Ornament of Fish in Waves (Okimono) from the Khalili Collection of Japanese Meiji Art. Japan circa 1900.

Onslow pattern

Onslow is a distinctive pattern of flatware, sometimes called “Scroll”: narrow stemmed, widening at the end, which was ribbed and folded over downwards into a widening volute or scroll. The pattern was used mostly on the handles of mid 18th century serving spoons and ladles. It was named after Sir Arthur Onslow (1691 -1768), six times Speaker of the House of Commons.

From S.J. Shrubsole: A George III Antique English Silver Onslow Pattern Soup Ladle. London, 1761 by George Baskerville.

Opus sectile

Opus Sectile is a mosaic style where slabs of stone are shaped and fitted together as a jigsaw puzzle. It was popular in early Roman times and revived during the Renaissance in Florence, where it became known as pietra dura.

Tigress attacking a calf, marble opus sectile (325–350 AD) from the Basilica of Junius Bassus on the Esquiline Hill, Rome.

Ormolu

Ormolu (from the French term “or moulu” which means finely minced or pounded gold) is the gilding technique of applying finely ground, high-carat gold–mercury amalgam to a bronze object. The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold coating. The French refer to this technique as “bronze doré” and in English, it is known as “gilt bronze”. Around 1830, legislation in France had outlawed the use of mercury for health reasons, though use continued to the 1900s. Craftsmen principally used ormolu for the decorative mountings of furniture, clocks, lighting, and porcelain.

From Butchoff: Pair of Cleopatra candle vases by Matthew Boulton (1728 – 1809), constructed from Derbyshire Blue-John fluospar and very fine cast and chased ormolu, circa 1770.

Orrery

An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system that illustrates or predicts the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons.

A German orrery by Ernst Schotte, circa 1892. Image via Christie’s.

Ouroboros

The ouroboros or uroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon biting its own tail. The ouroboros represents the concept of eternity and endless return.

From Lang Antiques: Antique ouroboros serpent magnifying glass, circa 1900.

Oxbow front

American term for the undulating front of a chest-of-drawers or other pieces of case furniture with a concave front flanked by two convex curves – the opposite of a serpentine front.

Chest of drawers with oxbow front by Jacob Forster (1764–1838), Charlestown, Mass. Image via Sotheby’s, Important Americana (New York, January 2002).

By Vera Vandenbosch