The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – M is for …


In different periods of time and in different countries the word majolica has been used for two distinct types of pottery. Firstly, from mid-15th century onwards there was maiolica, a type of pottery reaching Italy from Spain, Majorca and beyond. This was made by a tin-glaze process, resulting in an opaque white glazed surface decorated with brush-painting in metal oxide enamel colors. During the 17th century, the English added the letter j to their alphabet. Maiolica was commonly anglicized to majolica thereafter. Secondly, there is the Victorian mid to late 19th century type of pottery also known as majolica made by a more simple process whereby colored lead glazes were applied direct to an unfired clay mould, typically relief-moulded, resulting in brightly colored, hard-wearing, inexpensive wares both useful and decorative, typically in naturalistic style. This type of majolica was introduced to the public at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, later widely copied and mass-produced. Minton & Co., who developed the colored lead glazes product, also developed and exhibited at the 1851 Exhibition a tin-glazed product in imitation of Italian maiolica which they called also majolica.

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge: Majolica figure of a cat, circa 1890.

Mandarin palette

Mandarin palette is a combination of enamel colors including a distinctive purplish-red and pink, and gold – a variant of the famille-rose palette – used on Chinese export porcelain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Typical panel scenes of families out-of-doors, sometimes alternating with panels of flowers, are set against a densely celled or trellised ground and often framed in underglaze blue.

A Chinese export porcelain “mandarin palette” foxhunting bowl, circa 1785. Image via Christie’s.


Marquetry is an ornamental assembly of wood veneers applied on the face of the object usually over its entire surface – in floral, landscape, arabesque or other patterns. It differs from inlay, in which a cutout recess on a solid piece of furniture is filled with decoration.

From Carlton Hobbs: One of an exquisite pair of neoclassical marquetry and steel mounted petit commodes, probably Naples, circa 1780.

Marquise chair

A marquise chair is broad chair to accommodate two people, made in France towards the end of the 17th century. The marquise is similar to the bergère but lower and wider.

Lithograph of the Marquise Chair and Marquise Armchair in the Louis XV Style, second half of the 19th century. Image via the Hermitage Museum.

Memento Mori

Memento mori jewelry is the name given to sixteenth through eighteenth-century jewelry that was created as a reminder of the inevitability of death and the need to live piously. Translation from the Latin, “remember you must die,” is very clearly indicative of the objective of the theme. Skulls, skeletons, and coffins, often worked in gold and enamel were the predominant motifs vividly illustrating the underlying sentiment of pending mortality.

Skull and bones pre-Georgian memento mori ring.


Mezzotint is an engraving technique developed in the seventeenth century which allows for the creation of prints with soft gradations of tone and rich and velvety blacks. Mezzotint prints are made from an engraved copper or steel plate on which the surface has been partially roughened, for shading, and partially scraped smooth, giving light areas. The technique was much used in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries for the reproduction of paintings.

John Martin, Plate from “Illustrations to the Bible”: Belshazzar’s Feast, published 1835. Image via The Tate Museum.


Italian for ‘thousand flowers’ — a decorative glass-making technique. The ‘flowers’ are made from transverse slices of colored glass canes, which are embedded in a clear glass body when it is still in a molten state. Although the technique was used in early Egyptian and Roman mosaic glass, the name millefiori was not applied until the 16th century when it was revived in Venice. It has since been applied to vases, bowls, door knobs, paperweights and more.

Vintage Murano millefiori flower vase, image via Invaluable.


A mortise-and-tenon joint is a joint formed by cutting a hole or mortise, in one piece of wood into which is fitted a projecting piece, or tenon, from another. Sometimes glued or held firm by a wooden dowel. Hatnefer’s chair is a fine example of Egyptian woodworking (circa 1492–1473 B.C.). The various elements were assembled with mortise-and-tenon joinery, and pegs were used to hold the tenons in place. Pegs also fasten the braces to the back and seat. The joins were reinforced with resinous glue.

Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


A monopodium is a decorative pedestal support used on tables and chairs, consisting of the head and one leg of an animal, usually a lion. The monopodium was first seen in Roman furniture, and was revived by late 18th century neoclassical designers such as Thomas Hope.

Table leg with goat head, Roman Imperial Period, 1st – 2nd century A.D. Image via the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – L is for …

Lacca Contrafatta

Lacca Contrafatta (also termed Lacca Povera) was developed to imitate the appearance of costly, scarce, and fashionable high value lacquer being imported into Europe from the far East. This popular form of decoration sprang up in Venice circa 1750 and used prints, cut and pasted on to armoires, cabinets and chests, then painted, gilded and finished with clear varnish. Interestingly, Lacca Contrafatta is now rarer and possibly more valued in the west than the material it imitated.

18th century Venetian secretary in Lacca Contrafatta. Imagia via Honolulu Academy of Arts.


Latticino is a term used to describe glass decorated with a pattern of white, or sometimes colored, threads of glass. The technique is also known as Filigrana (thread-grained). It was developed in 16th century Venice and has been used to produce three main effects on glass: vetro a retorti, which has twists embedded in clear glass; vetro a reticello, which has a fine network of crossed threads; and vetro a fili, which has a spiral or helix pattern.

19th century Venetian goblet, in latticino vetro a reticello. Image via the V&A.

Lava Glass

Lava glass is a dark blue lustre art glass developed by the US designer Louis Comfort Tiffany in the late 19th century. It has iridescent gold streaks – supposed to resemble flows of lava – and was originally called volcanic glass.

Lava glass vase by the Tiffany Studios, circa 1914. Image via The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.


A lavallière is a necklace comprised of small links with a single, usually pearl, drop pendant. It is named after Louise Françoise de La Baume Le Blanc, Duchesse de La Vallière (1644-1710), mistress of Louis XIV and the design was very popular around 1900.

From Lang Antiques: Edwardian diamond lavallière necklace.

Laque Burgauté

Laque burgauté, also spelled Lac Burgauté, is an East Asian technique of decorating lacquer ware with inlaid designs using pieces of the iridescent blue-green shell of the sea-ear (Haliotis). This shell inlay is sometimes engraved and occasionally combined with gold and silver. Workmanship is exquisite; therefore, laque burgauté is principally used to decorate small-scale objects as tiny boxes, miniature table screens, vases, and wine cups.

Late 19th-century Japanese Laque Burgauté snuff bottle.


A lenticle is the glass panel in a clock case through which one can see the movement of the pendulum.

A 17th century marquetry longcase clock with oval lenticle. Image via Tobias Birch Fine Antique Clocks.


Linenfold (or linen fold) is a simple style of relief carving used to decorate wood panelling with a design imitating folded linen. Linen fold furniture is furniture that has panels of decoration in the form of folded linen. Originally from Flanders, the style became widespread across Northern Europe in the 14th to 16th centuries.

Linenfold paneling. Image via Britannica.


French for “boat-shaped bed”, a lit-en-bateau is an Empire-style bed with curving head and footboards, often forming S-shaped scrolls.

A late Empire ormolu-mounted mahogany lit-en-bateau, in the manner of Jacob Desmalter, circa 1815. Image via Christie’s.

Lover’ eye miniature

A “lover’s eye” miniature is a painted miniature of the giver’s eye, presented to a loved one. The notion accompanying this very short-lived fad (circa1790 through 1820) was that the eye would be recognizable only to the recipient and could, therefore, be worn publicly keeping the lover’s identity a secret. Painted in watercolor on ivory or gouache on card, the miniatures were set in rings, pendants, brooches, and lockets for women and various containers such as snuff boxes and toothpick cases for men.

Lover’s eye miniature pin. Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – K is for …


A Kalaga is a heavily embroidered appliqué tapestry made of silk, flannel, felt, wool and lace against a background made of cotton or velvet. Kalagas were originally developed in Burma (now Myanmar) at the Mandalay court (1850-1885) to serve as wall hangings, curtains, room partitions, coffin covers and theatre backdrops. These traditional Burmese tapestries depicted scenes from various legends as well as events of religious importance.

Antique Burmese Kalaga Tapestry, image via Cultural Patina.


A type of ancient Greek cup with a tall foot and two high-swung handles, used to hold wine, possibly for drinking or for ritual use and offerings. Although almost all surviving examples are in pottery, the form probably originated in metalwork.

Kantharos with Zeus Pursuing a Boy. Circa 490-480 BCE. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Kente cloth refers to a Ghanaian textile, made of handwoven cloth strips of silk and cotton. Historically the fabric was worn in a toga-like fashion by royalty among ethnic groups including the Ashanti, the Akyem, and the Fante. In modern Ghana, the wearing of Kente cloth has become widespread to commemorate special occasions, with highly sought after Kente brands led by master weavers.

Left: The Ashanti king Nana Otumfoe Sir Osai Agyemang Prempeh II (ruled April 24, 1933 – May 27, 1970), right: vintage Kente cloth, as seen on the pages of Hand/Eye Magazine.

Kinetic art

Kinetic art is art that incorporates movement as part of its expression – either mechanically, by hand, or by natural forces. A good example of kinetic art are the mobiles by Alexander Calder. Kinetic art became a major phenomenon of the late 1950s and the 1960s. In the 1960s artists such as Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely experimented with geometric shapes that distort the viewer’s perception, creating artworks which, although static, give the impression of movement.

Alexander Calder’s Various Shapes, Colors, Planes (1951) was sold at Sotheby’s New York for $2.3 million in May 2018.


Kingwood is a classic furniture wood, almost exclusively used for inlays on very fine furniture and small solid items. It was the most expensive wood in general use for furniture making in the seventeenth century, at which time it was known as princes wood. It is available only in small sizes (it is yielded by a smallish tree, Dalbergia Cearensis, restricted to a small area in Brazil). Kingwood is also called violet wood because of the brownish/purple color of its markings, It was given its name because it was preferred by the kings of France in the 18th century.

A French ormolu-mounted kingwood and mahogany bureau plat by Frédéric Schmit, Paris, circa 1860. Image via Christie’s.

Klismos chair

A klismos chair is a type of ancient Greek chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs. This timeless design was first introduced into Western society way back in the 5th century BCE. Variations of the klismos chair can be found in basically every neoclassical-inspired movement, but it’s most prominent in the French Directoire and Empire, the English Regency, and the American Federal and Empire styles.

The most famous example of the ancient klismos chair may be the Stele of Hegeso, a tombstone made in Athens around 400 BCE, showing a woman named Hegeso seated in a curved, graceful klismos chair.

Kneehole desk

A kneehole desk, which dates back to the early 18th century, has sets of drawers on either side of the recessed or “kneehole” area that provides room for the legs when a chair is pulled up to the desk.

From Ronald Phillips: A George II mahogany library desk by Thomas Chippendale. English, circa 1760.


The kovsh is a traditional drinking vessel or ladle from Russia. It was oval-shaped like a boat with a single handle and could also be shaped like a water bird or a Norse longship. Originally the kovsh made from wood and used to serve and drink mead, with specimens excavated from as early as the tenth century. Metal kovsh began to appear around the 14th century. By the 17th century, the kovsh was often an ornament rather than a practical vessel, and in the 19th century it was elaborately cast in precious metals for presentation as an official gift of the tsarist government.

A kovsh by Vasilli Matveev Kunkin from 1758; in the collection of the Walters Art Museum.


Cabinets of curiosities (also known in German loanwords as Kunstkabinett, Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer; also Cabinets of Wonder, and wonder-rooms) were collections of notable objects – from the worlds of natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art and antiquities. The term cabinet originally described a room rather than a piece of furniture. The classic cabinet of curiosities emerged in the sixteenth century. In addition to the most famous and best documented cabinets of rulers and aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science in Europe formed collections that were precursors to museums. Cabinets of curiosities served not only as collections to reflect the particular curiosities of their curators but as social devices to establish and uphold rank in society.

“A corner of a cabinet”, painted by Frans II Francken in 1636.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – J is for …

Jabot pin

A jabot pin is a brooch with a bejeweled motif at either end. It is pinned in such a way that only the decorative ends are seen, allowing the fabric to show in between. Jabot pins were used to secure the ruffled or lace piece of fabric (the jabot) that men wore on the front of their shirts.

An Art Deco jadeite, pearl, onyx, enamel and diamond jabot pin, by Cartier, circa 1925. Image via Bonhams.


Jacobean refers to the English style influenced by the reign of King James (1603-1625). Jacobean furniture was lighter than Tudor furniture, made to be seen from all angles, placed a greater emphasis on comfort, and reflected England’s growing global presence. Early American furniture is based on this period.

Model of a Jacobean “withdrawing room” or bedroom, based upon an interior from the manor house of Knole, Kent, England, mixed-media model by the workshop of Mrs. James Ward Thorne, circa1930–40; in the Art Institute of Chicago. Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago

Jadeite versus Jade

Jadeite is the term used to differentiate the high-quality jade suitable for use in jewelery from the lower quality jade used in larger decorative pieces. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is the source of more than 90 per cent of the world’s jadeite. Contrary to popular belief, jadeite is not only green. It comes in many colors, including white, black, lavender, red and yellow, and can also be a colorless stone.

From Lang Antiques: French Art Deco natural Burmese jadeite, diamond and enamel brooch. Circa 1920s.


Japanning is a type of finish that originated as a European imitation of Asian lacquerwork. It was first used on furniture, but was later much used on small items in metal. The word originated in the 17th century. American work is more often called toleware. Japanning is most often a heavy black “lacquer”, almost like enamel paint. The European technique uses varnishes that have a resin base, similar to shellac, applied in heat-dried layers which are then polished, to give a smooth glossy finish. It can also come in reds, greens and blues.

From Carlton Hobbs: A Regency japanned secretaire set commemorating the “great comet” of 1811. English, circa 1811.


A jardinière (“female gardener” in French) is an ornamental stand for plants or flowers or a large – usually ceramic – flowerpot holder.

From Jesse Davis Antiques: Beautiful Minton majolica passion flower motif jardiniere on stand. English, circa 1860.


A jarretière is a strap bracelet made from flat, broad links with a buckle fastener. The style appeared in the mid-nineteenth century and has been revived in all succeeding decorative periods.

From Lang Antiques: Retro jarretière with buckle and mordant, accented by chrysoberyl and diamonds.


Jasperware is a type of pottery first developed by Josiah Wedgwood in the 1770s. Usually described as stoneware, it has an unglazed matte “biscuit” finish and is produced in a number of different colors, of which the most common and best known is a pale blue that has become known as Wedgwood Blue. Relief decorations in contrasting colors (typically in white) are characteristic of jasperware, giving a cameo effect.

Jasperware dish by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, circa 1789. Image via the Metropolitan Museum.


Jet is a type of black/brown coal formed from the fossilized wood of a Jurassic period tree. Under great pressure for millions of years, ordinary driftwood from this tree is transformed into the gem we refer to as jet.The necessary ingredients and chemistry were present in abundance on the north-eastern coast of Great Britain 180 million years ago, in particular, the area around the fishing port of Whitby, Yorkshire. Jet was used in Britain as far back as the Neolithic period when it was made into beads for personal adornment. The Romans used jet for rings, hair embellishment, pendants and other forms of jewelry. Popular use of this stone died out until the Victorian era, when it was often used in mourning jewelry that was worn in remembrance of a dearly departed family member or friend.

From Lang Antiques: Georgian hair and French jet mourning brooch.


Jūbako are tiered boxes used to hold and present food in Japan. The boxes are often used to hold takeaway lunches, or bento, or to hold osechi, foods traditional to the Japanese New Year.

Mid-19th century jūbako by Shibata Zeshin, housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – I is for …

Ice glass

Ice glass refers to a decorative effect that causes the surface of the glass to resemble cracked ice, with a frosted appearance. It is made by rolling partly blown molten glass over powdered glass, then reheating it and blowing into shape. It can also be created by plunging white-hot molten glass into cold water to produce veined tiny cracks. Ice glass is also called crackle glass, frosted glass, or verre craquelé.

English crackle glass jug, 19th century. Image via Moorabool Antique Galleries.


Imari refers to heavily decorated Japanese porcelain with overglaze enamels and gilding which was exported to Europe in large quantities, especially between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. Typically Imari ware is decorated in underglaze blue, with red, gold, black for outlines, and sometimes other colors, added in overglaze. In the most characteristic floral designs most of the surface is colored, with “a tendency to over-decoration that leads to fussiness”. The style was so successful that Chinese and European producers began to copy it.

Japanese Imari five piece garniture, Edo period, 18th century, image via Christie’s


Imbrication is a type of decoration or pattern with overlapping edges, such as overlapping scales or tiles.

From epoca: Pair of 1940s Italian painted and parcel-gilt pineapple lamps, with carved imbricated body


Intaglio is a technique which dates back to antiquity and is still in use at present. Patterns, designs or images are carved or engraved in gemstones leaving a hollow impression in the untouched background. This style of carving is the opposite of the cameo technique. By the nineteenth-century, intaglios were not considered optimal for jewelry; Victorians preferred cameos. Intaglios were relegated almost entirely to fobs and seals. In 1840 the postage stamp virtually eliminated the need for wax seals and the art of the intaglio began to wane.

From Lang Antiques: Victorian onyx intaglio ring


An Italian term for elaborately detailed pictorial marquetry or inlaid decoration used on furniture in Renaissance Italy and also sixteenth-century Germany. panelling and furniture. Various woods, tortoiseshell, metals and ivory were chosen for color and texture to create a realistic architectural perspective, or a symmetrical still-life group of objects such as musical or precision instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has on display a complete studio from the Palazzo ducale di Gubbio (below). Designed by Sienese artist Francesco di Giorgio Martini, an intarsia technique was used to create images of latticework cabinets and drawers on the room panels.

Irish Furniture

During the 18th century, very few Irish families were wealthy enough to afford luxurious furnishings. With middle-class demand virtually non-existent, almost all Irish furniture was of exceptional quality and crafted exclusively for the tiny aristocratic population. Though talented 18th-century Irish craftsmen produced only a relatively few pieces, their work is considered among the finest ever. Today, Irish furniture is highly sought after by collectors, though few pieces are found on the market.

From O’Sullivan Antiques: Early 18th Century Irish fossilized marble topped side table

Ironstone china

Created to imitate porcelain, Ironstone china was first made in England in 1813 by Charles James Mason of Staffordshire and was known as “Mason’s Ironstone.” Ironstone china is very hard, opaque and pale-bodied. There is no iron in ironstone; its name is derived from its notable strength and durability.

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge: Mason or Ashworth hexagonal ironstone vases and covers, circa 1840


Istoriato (literally translated as “with a story in it”) is a style of pottery decoration, originating about 1500 in Faenza, Italy, and popular throughout the 16th century, in which paintings comparable in seriousness to Italian Renaissance easel paintings were applied to maiolica ware. The subjects—biblical, historical, and mythological scenes—are executed with a realism (including the use of perspective) quite unlike any previous pottery decoration.

Italian maiolica istoriato dish, mid-16th century. Image via Christie’s.


Ivrene is ivory-colored, slightly iridescent art glass developed by glassmaker and glass designer Frederick Carder during the 1920s. The color 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.

Frederick Carder ivrene glass vase for Steuben

Iznik pottery

Iznik pottery, or Iznik ware, named after the town of İznik in western Anatolia where it was made, is a decorated ceramic that was produced from the last quarter of the 15th century until the end of the 17th century. This Turkish earthenware was decorated with bright, high-temperature colors 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.

Iznik pottery dish, Ottoman Turkey, circa 1570. Image via Christie’s.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – H is for …

Hadley Chest

A Hadley chest is a rectangular dowry chest, painted and elaborately carved with flat flowers (often tulips) and leaves, made around Hadley, Massachusetts from about 1680 to 1740 and used for storing clothes and linens.

300-year-old Hadley chest of drawers embellished with a rare polychrome design. Image via Christie’s.

Harlequin set

A Harlequin set is a set of objects such as cups and saucers of a common style, but each piece is decorated differently. The term is also applied to originally unrelated objects – of furniture, for example – which have been ‘matched up’ to make a set.

A harlequin set of five Mintons pâte-sur-pâte ivory-ground reticulated plates, circa 1880. Image via Sotheby’s.


George Hepplewhite, author of the posthumously published The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (1788), stated his goal as “to unite elegance and utility.” Hepplewhite style is conservative, retaining design elements from earlier periods such as the cabriole leg, but tended to have a lighter appearance than the Adam style, its contemporary.

From Clinton Howell Antiques: A fine Hepplewhite carved and gilt settee with six matching armchairs in the French taste. English, Circa 1775.

Herati pattern

A common floral motif used on Oriental carpets, and said to originate in the region of Herat, Iran. Typically it consists of a stylized floral rosette arranged in two-way or four-way symmetry, enclosed within a diamond shape.

From Doris Leslie Blau: early 20th century Persian antique Tabriz rug, with Herati pattern in the center.


The hilt is the hand grip of a sword or dagger. Until the 15th century, swords usually had a straight hilt with a cross guard and pommel (a pommel is the rounded knob on the end of the handle of a sword or dagger). Later hilts are more elaborate, in terms of both protection and decoration.

From Peter Finer: The hilt of this late 18th century sword is cast and chased silver-gilt. It is decorated overall with neoclassical iconography, incorporating acanthus leaves, wreaths and sprays of laurel and oak.

Hirado ware

Hirado ware is sparsely painted blue and white porcelain made at the Mikawachi kilns for the lords of Hirado, an island near Arita, Japan. Most pieces are likely to be 19th century, although production may have been as early as the late 17th century.

A porcelain Hirado ware bottle, Meiji period (late 19th century). Image via Christie’s.


Hollowware is a general term for metal or ceramics ware that is hollow or concave, such as bowls and drinking vessels, platters, coffee and tea pots … – as opposed to flatware.

Silver hollowware at the S.J. Shrubsole booth at the 2019 San Francisco Fall Show.

Horror vacui

Horror vacui (from Latin: “fear of empty space”) refers to a tendency to completely decorate the surface of jewels or other objects. Horror vacui is the opposite of minimalism.

Ancient Greek Dipylon Vase, 8th century B.C.


A hydria is an ancient Greek water jar made of pottery or metal. It usually has two horizontal handles used when lifting and sometimes a third, vertical handle used when pouring.

Hydria depicting three of the fifty daughters of King Danaos (the Danaids) filling water pitchers, circa 340 – 320 BC. Image via The British Museum.

By Vera Vandenbosch

Sneak peek at the 2020 San Francisco Fall Show on InCollect

In less than a week – on Friday morning, October 16 at 9:00 am PST/Noon EST to be exact – the 2020 virtual San Francisco Fall Show will go live on the InCollect platform. We are thrilled to feature over 75 dealers in the show! They come from all over the US – California, New York, Michigan, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington State, Oregon, and Texas – as well as internationally from Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. They include our longstanding – and wonderfully loyal – San Francisco Fall Show dealers but we are also delighted to welcome back several dealers who haven’t exhibited at the show for over a decade – Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz, Sullivan-Goss, Liz O’Brien – and some new ones as well – Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, Michael Goedhuis, Finch & Co, O’Sullivan Antiques, Philip Stites (formerly of Therien), Somerville Manning, Rayon Roskar, The Chinese Porcelain Company, Ursus Books, R. Louis Bofferding, Ronald Phillips, Michael Lipitch, and more.

How to shop the Show? That’s simple: just log in to the San Francisco Fall Show on Friday October 16 at 9:00 am PST/Noon EST – or any time thereafter. The Show will remain open 24/7 until it closes on October 25 at 5:00 PM PST. You can browse the Show from home or wherever you are from your computer, tablet or mobile device. All you need is an internet connection – no tickets, no reservations, no crowds, no lines, no bad weather…

Here’s a sneak peek:

From Henry Saywell: Vessels by Mitch Pilkington (2020). Mitch creates hand-built sculptural ceramics inspired by the natural forms from her coastal finds, both at home in North Devon and on her travels. Her stoneware vessels hark back to the dry, worn spirals of old conch shells collected on Caribbean beaches.

From R. Louis Bofferding Fine & Decorative Art: “Nest of snakes” sculpture, circa 1970, by Alessandro Albrizzi (1934-1994). Italian, 20th century, lucite & metal.

From De Angelis: Poul Kjaerholm PK24 Chaise Lounge, Denmark, 1970s.

From Milord Antiques: Rare and important acid etched brass dining table with agate inset by Paco Rabanne. Signed: “Paco Rabanne”. Designed by Paco Rabanne and executed in Belgium in the late 1970s or early 1980s, Belgium, circa 1980.

From Rayon Roskar: Brass Chandelier, Switzerland, 1940s

From Richard Gould Antiques: A Chinese Export Porcelain armorial dinner plate – Arms of Boyd, Earl of Kilmarnoch. Qianlong, circa 1785.

From Ronald Phillips Ltd.: A George III giltwood side table with scagliola top from Abington Park, circa 1780, and a George III giltwood pier mirror designed by Robert Adam and attributed to John Linnell, circa 7165.

From Finnegan Gallery: Large pair of 18th century Italian Terra Cotta urns, from the Genoa region of Italy. Circa 1875.

From Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz, “the” specialist in vintage wallpaper: Monuments de Paris

From Somerville Manning Gallery: Hazy Afternoon, 1908/1911 by N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), oil on canvas

From Hyde Park Antiques: An extremely rare English oak & ebony-inlaid games table, attributable to George Bullock, circa 1820.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – G is for …


Gadrooning was a popular edging or border design used primarily on metalwork such as silverware, silver service, jewelry and woodwork circa mid-eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The pattern is composed of a series of convex curves, terminating in a curved end or bead shape.

From Carlton Hobbs: a large late Regency mahogany wine cooler in the form of a classical vase, with heavily gadrooned body. English, circa 1815.

Gelatin silver print

Most twentieth-century black-and-white photographs are gelatin silver prints, in which the image consists of silver metal particles suspended in a gelatin layer. William Henry Fox Talbot introduced the basic chemical process in 1839, but the more complex gelatin silver process did not become the most common method of printing black-and-white photographs until the late 1910s. Because the silver image is suspended in a gelatin emulsion that rests on a pigment-coated paper, gelatin silver prints can be sharply defined and highly detailed in comparison to platinum or palladium prints, in which the image is absorbed directly into the fibers of the paper.

From Peter Fetterman Gallery: Kussharo Lake Tree, Study 10, Kotan, Hokkaido, 2005 by Michael Kenna, Gelatin Silver Print


A gardinetto is an ornament in the form of a vase of flowers or a flower basket, especially suited for brooches but sometimes rings and pendants. The colorful items were created from a multicolored array of gemstones such as rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Initially enjoying popularity circa 1740-1780 these colorful floral gemstone depictions were love tokens to be exchanged with lovers and friends. A resurgence in popularity occurred around 1920.

From Lang Antiques: estate diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire gardinetto brooch


A girandole is an ornamental branched wall candleholder, sometimes incorporating a mirror. Girandoles came into use about the second half of the 17th century, and were commonly made and used in pairs.

From Clinton Howell Antiques: A pair of rococo carved girandoles one dating circa 1750, the other modern


Glyptography comes from the Greek word “glyptos” which means to carve. In jewelry, glyptography is the art of gemstone carving, and applies to both intaglios and cameos.

From Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers: Classic Deco signet ring, set with a fine intaglio-cut bloodstone seal. Switzerland, circa 1920s.


Gouache is a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance. The main difference between gouache and watercolor is that gouache is more opaque than watercolor. Due to the transparency of watercolor, the light is able to travel through the pigment and reflect off of the white paper, giving it a luminous quality that differs from gouache’s matte finish.

From Los Angeles Fine Art Gallery: Idle Moments, by Roland-Marie Gerardin (French 1907-1935), gouache


Grisaille is a painting technique by which an image is executed entirely in shades of gray or in another neutral greyish color. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture.

Battesimo della gente, one of Andrea del Sarto’s gray and brown grisaille frescoes in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence (1511-26)


A guéridon is a small table supported by one or more columns, or sculptural human or mythological figures, often with a circular top. The guéridon originated in France towards the middle of the 17th century. The supports for early guéridons were often modeled on ancient Egyptian and Greek as well as various African human traditional figures. While often serving humble purposes, such as to hold a candlestick or vase, the guéridon could be a high-style decorative piece of court furniture. By the time of Louis XIV’s death in 1715, there were several hundred guéridons at Versailles.

An Italian empire ormolu guéridon, Rome, circa 1814-15. Image via Christie’s.


Guilloché is a decorative technique in which a very precise, intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material via engine turning, which uses a machine of the same name, also called a rose engine lathe. This mechanical technique improved on more time-consuming designs achieved by hand and allowed for greater delicacy, precision, and closeness of line, as well as greater speed.

From Lang Antiques: An early-20th century double sided guilloché pillbox

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – F is for…


Faience is tin-glazed earthenware made in France, Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia. It is distinguished from tin-glazed earthenware made in Italy, which is called Majolica, and that made in the Netherlands and England, which is called Delft.

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge: French faience Moustier-style plate, 19th century


Fauvism is a style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of color that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement’s leading figure. Think of Fauvism as Impressionism that is taken to the absolute extreme with bolder colors and thicker brushstrokes (often applied straight from the paint tubes).

Open Window, Collioure (1905) by Henri Matisse


The ferronnière was a delicate jewelry item worn by women on the forehead which served to help hold hairstyles in place. It consisted of a chain with fine links – or a textile thread – usually with a single gemstone in the center. The name is derived from a painting, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, named La Belle Ferronnière (from French: “the beautiful blacksmith’s wife”) currently in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, see below.


A festoon is a decorative element consisting of a wreath or garland hanging from two points. In architecture, a festoon is typically a carved ornament depicting an arrangement of flowers, foliage or fruit bound together and suspended by ribbons. The motif is sometimes known as a swag when depicting fabric or linen.


A fibula is a decorated fastening brooch which was used by the Romans to secure a robe on the shoulder. It is the ancient equivalent of a safety pin.

Roman gold crossbow fibula (brooch), A.D. 286–305 or 306/7–308/9. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Filigree is a form of intricate metalwork used in jewelry and other small forms of metalwork. In jewelry, filigree is usually made of gold and silver, with tiny beads or twisted threads, or both in combination, soldered together and arranged in artistic motifs.

From Lang Antiques: seed pearl & enamel filigree bracelet

Fleur de Lis

The fleur-de-lis is a stylized lily that is used as a decorative design or symbol. Traditionally, the fleur-de-lis has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life. Legend has it that an angel presented Clovis, the Merovingian king of the Franks, with a golden lily as a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity.

From Lang Antiques: Victorian diamond fleur-de-lis pendant/brooch


Fluting is a decoration formed by making a series of parallel, semi-circular shallow grooves running along a surface.

English fluted bottle with lid, circa 1950 B.C. Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Fretwork is an interlaced decorative design that is either carved in low relief on a solid background, or cut out with a saw. Most fretwork patterns are geometric in design. The materials most commonly used are wood and metal.

Pair of 19th century Chinese bamboo fretwork armchairs. Image via Christie’s.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – E is for…


An ébéniste is a French term for a cabinet-maker, particularly one who works in ebony. Ébénistes make case furniture, either veneered or painted.

From Jayne Thompson Antiques: small English burr oak writing table, circa 1835


Egg-and-dart is a repetitive design, most often found on molding or trim. The pattern is characterized by a repetition of oval shapes, like an egg split lengthwise, with various non-curved patterns, like “darts,” repeated between the egg pattern. In three-dimensional sculpting of wood or stone, the pattern is in bas-relief, but the pattern can also be found in two-dimensional painting and stencil. The exquisite architectural fragment belongs to one of the decorative moldings of the Erechtheum, the building on the Athenian Akropolis that accommodated a variety of venerable cults and sanctuaries, circa 421–409 B.C.


The Empire style is an early-nineteenth-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts, representing the second phase of Neoclassicism. The style takes its name from the rule of the Emperor Napoleon I in the First French Empire. The previous fashionable style in France had been the Directoire style, a more austere and minimalist form of Neoclassicism, that replaced the Louis XVI style. The Empire style brought a full return to ostentatious richness.

Empire parcel-gilt mahogany bed, image via Sotheby’s


Vitreous enamel, also called porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850°C (1,380 and 1,560°F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating. The word comes from the Latin vitreum, meaning “glass”. Enamel can be used on metal, glass, ceramics, stone, or any material that will withstand the fusing temperature.

From Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers: charming enamel clover brooch, 14k, circa 1900s


Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are also used. Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to stick them to the surface.

“White Flag” by Jasper Johns, 1955 (Encaustic, oil, newsprint, and charcoal on canvas)


Encoignure is a type of furniture located in a corner of a room. In French, it literally means the angle, or return, formed by the junction of two walls. Since the 20th century, the word has been mainly used to designate a small armoire, commode, cabinet or cupboard made to fit a corner.

Corner cupboard by Thomas Chippendale, about 1768–78. Image via Victoria and Albert Museum.


An epergne is a table centerpiece, usually made of silver but can also be made of another metal, glass, or porcelain. An epergne generally has a large central “bowl” or basket, resting on three to five feet. From this center “bowl” radiate branches supporting small baskets, dishes, or candleholders.

From S.J. Shrubsole: a George III antique English silver epergne, London, 1778, by Thomas Pitts


A decorative plate used to conceal a functioning, non-architectural item – such as a keyhole, door handle, or light switch – for protection and decoration.

Escutcheon on chest of drawers attributed to the Philadelphia joiner John Head. Image via Sotheby’s.


Egyptomania was the renewed interest of Europeans in ancient Egypt during the nineteenth century as a result of Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign (1798–1801) and, in particular, as a result of the extensive scientific study of ancient Egyptian remains and culture inspired by this campaign. The grandeur and “exoticism” of its pyramids, temples, Great Sphinx, and culture have made this great civilization a recurring subject in architecture, film, art, and popular culture. During the 20th century Egyptomania reached a fever pitch in the United States: Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen’s Tomb caused a nationwide craze, and Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal of Cleopatra in the 1963 classic film inspired a new interest in ancient Egyptian fashion.

Regency Egyptian Revival style settee by Thomas Hope, circa 1802. Image via the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.

By Vera Vandenbosch

The (San Francisco Fall) Show will go on!

When the decision was made to cancel the 2020 San Francisco Fall Show, Show Chair Suzanne Tucker’s thoughts immediately turned to the dealers from all over the world: “It is after all their expertise, their collections, and their curation that has made the show so renowned and respected across the globe for the last 39 years”. After she reached out to past and present show dealers, it quickly became clear that ingenuity, resourcefulness and team spirit should be added to their growing list of qualities. Suzanne worked out a real-time collaboration with InCollect for an online 2020 San Francisco Fall Show. To date, a strong and motivated group of over 60 dealers has already agreed to participate.

The 39th online edition of the Show will take place from October 16-25, 2020 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, video and video-chat, 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 Michael Goedhuis: Gilt Bronze tripod, China, Han Dynasty, 206 BC–220 AD

From Galen Lowe: Japanese low four panel folding screen (byôbu) with dramatic checkerboard (ichimatsu) pattern. Late Edo Period (1600-1868)

From Piraneseum: Temple of Hercules Victor, Rome, circa 1850, marble and patinated bronze

From David Brooker Fine Art: Late 19th century French forest landscape, the style of the painting is influenced by the work of Narcisse Virgilio Diaz de la Pena, a well known Barbizon painter

From Almond & Company: A pair of scoop style lounge chairs Model #115 by Theo Ruth for Artifort, The Netherlands, circa 1950s

From Peter Finer: A gorget, circa 1610, made to be worn independent of armour, perhaps with a coat of buff leather, and indicated the owner was an officer

From Kathleen Taylor/The Lotus Collection: Late 19th century Ottoman (Turkey) silk floss and metal thread embroidered cover

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge: Portraits of Four Foxhounds, signed & dated by Cuthbert Bradley, 1933

From DKF Estate Jewelry: Van Cleef and Arpels gold and diamond bombe shaped earrings, circa 1950s

From Peter Fetterman Gallery: Kussharo Lake Tree, Study 10, Kotan, Hokkaido, 2005 by Michael Kenna, Gelatin Silver Print

By Vera Vandenbosch

The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – C is for …

Cabriole leg

Cabriole refers to a popular furniture leg with the knee curving outward and the ankle curving inward terminating in an ornamental foot. It is commonly associated with Queen Anne and Chippendale styles of antique furniture. When used with Chippendale furniture, the cabriole leg commonly terminates with a ball and claw foot. In Queen Anne examples, the pad foot was popular, but other foot styles were used with these legs as well.

From Antonio’s Bella Casa: Striking circa 1760, hand-carved, five drawer Sicilian desk with original ormolu mounts and cabriole legs


The caquetoire, or conversation chair, was an armchair style which emerged during the European Renaissance. It was largely used in France, and is one of the most well-known pieces of furniture from the French Renaissance. Due to fashions of the time and the lack of heating systems in homes, women wore several layers of skirts and petticoats to keep warm. This often prevented them from fitting comfortably into armchairs with rectangular seats. A caquetoire seat is splayed so women in their large skirts could easily sit.

French 16th century walnut caquetoire, image via Christie’s


A cameo is a material that is carved with a raised relief that often depicts a profile of a face or a mythical scene. Cameos are commonly made out of shell, coral, stone (often agate or onyx), lava, or glass. The most common motif of antique cameo jewelry depicts a profile of a face or mythical creature. There are typically two colored layers; generally, figures are carved in one layer so that they are raised on the background of the second layer. England’s Queen Victoria is credited with popularizing shelled cameos in the 19th century.

From Lang Antiques: Victorian blue agate cameo pin


A cellarette or cellaret is a small furniture cabinet, available in various sizes, shapes, and designs (and sometimes portable) which is used to store bottles of alcoholic beverages, as well as decanters and glasses. Prohibition in the United States brought about variations of trompe l’oeil cellarettes designed to conceal illegal alcoholic beverages. To the casual observer, the three dimensional trompe l’oeil artwork on these cellarettes made them appear to be an ordinary table, bookcase, or other piece of furniture.

From Carlton Hobbs: A carved mahogany neoclassical cellarette designed by Thomas Hope, early 19th century


Italian for “light-dark,” chiaroscuro is the use of strong contrasts between luminosity and shadow to achieve a sense of volume and dimensionality. This unique technique was developed during the Italian Renaissance by Leonard da Vinci, the Baroque period by Caravaggio, and the Dutch Golden Age by Rembrandt.

Self portrait wearing a white feathered bonnet, by Rembrandt, oil on pane, 1635


In sculpture, contrapposto (“counterpose” in Italian) is an asymmetrical posture in which most of a figure’s weight is distributed onto one foot. This results in a realistic stance, as famously evident in Michelangelo’s David statue (below).

Color Field

Color Field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European modernism and closely related to abstract expressionism, while many of its notable early proponents were among the pioneering abstract expressionists. Color field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. In color field painting “color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself.” Artists who are considered part of the Color Field style include Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Frank Stella.

Mark Rothko, UNTITLED (No. 73), 1952
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko /Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York


Cloisonné is decorative work in which copper filaments are glued or soldered to a metal surface—gold in the Near East, bronze or copper in China—to create tiny compartments, or cloisons, that are then filled with ground glass blended with metallic oxides to produce colorful enamels.

Dish with scalloped rim early 15th century, Image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art


From the French word for “cracking”, craquelure describes a pattern of fine cracks on the surface of a painting or a ceramic object. In an oil painting, craquelure forms because the paint dries and becomes less flexible as it ages and shrinks. It can be used by experts to determine the age of a painting and to detect forgeries.

The Ghent Altarpiece Jan and Hubert van Eyck. Detail of craquelure in the Virgin Mary panel. Oil on panel. Completed ca. 1432. Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent, Belgium

By Vera Vandenbosch