Tuesday August 05, 2014

     Crosskeys Antiques - Fine European Decorative Furniture and Accessories

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* Please note, our Glossary of Terms is still under construction, please check back frequently*


Also see our "Guide to Materials and Manufacturing Mediums Used for Antique Reproductions"


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Conventionalized leaf of a plant growing in Asia Minor. It is found as the basis of all foliage ornamentation in Classic Greek and Roman decoration.
Romanesque and Byzantine Acanthus were stiff and spiny. The Renaissance revived its use in graceful
designs for every purpose.
Every succeeding style has used the Acanthus in an exuberant or restrained
manner according to its type.






A Scottish Architect and Furniture Designer who, with his brother James, revived classical

ornamentation and design in a style that bears their name, active (1773-1795), English.


A leading American cabinetmaker. Born in Scotland, he emigrated in 1763 and settled in Philadelphia,
where he became an outstanding exponent of the American Chippendale style. He was more restrained
and less Rococo than his contemporary, Benjamin Randolph. He continued making Chippendale style
furniture into the Federal period. Cabinetmaker in Colonial America; active (1773-1795). Originally English.


Carved figures of boys, particularly used on furniture of the 17th century and later.


Classical two-handled jar for transporting wine or oil, revived in the 18th century as a decorative

motif in the repertoire of neoclassical design.



Stylized flower motif based on honeysuckle pattern conventionalized to radiating cluster, and derived from
a classical Greek ornament. Used in the 18th and 19th centuries on furniture, silverware and in decoration.





The process of treating wood or finish on furniture and other decorative objects to make it look old.
Wood may be simply worn off at the edges and corners; it is sometimes scratched, gouged, planed, etc.
(Called "distressed finishes"). Even fine birdshot and nails are used to simulate wormholes and other
ravages of time. Wood is also subjected to various acid treatments, bleaches and stains to suggest age.
Paint finishes are glazed with washes of dirt colors to reduce the brilliance and to provide an uneven surface.



Carved or shaped decoration, usually wood or metal, glued or nailed to furniture; appears on elegant
Chippendale pieces and a succession of 19th century styles.



Applied ornament.




A structural element of furniture. In tables, the piece connecting the legs, just under the top; in chairs,
beneath the seat; in cabinets, etc, along the base. Sometimes called" skirt".

Apron drawing example



Painted, inlaid or flat carved designs composed of floral and geometrical scrolls, human,

animal or mythological forms, etc. Usually framed within a simple shape such as a rectangle.

Arabesque example drawing




In furniture, a carved decoration representing a series of arches; also, a chair back in this form.





The upholstered part of a chair arm.




A tall cupboard or wardrobe with doors is often known as an armoire. Gothic style armoires are massive in size

and are decorated with elaborate iron hinges and locks. It is thought that early armoires were painted and used for the storage of armor.





Decorative theme used in revivals of classic styles. Renaissance and later, especially Directoire, Empire and Biedermeier.




Decorative style originating in France in the 1920s, characterized by geometric shapes, stylized ornament,

and fine traditional craftsmanship. Popularized in America in the 1920s and 1930s. The
streamlined 1930s version is often called Art Moderne.




French term for he various schools of contemporary design, affectedly used

in America during the 1920s to label the earliest modern work.


A revived interest in the decorative arts flowed over Europe about 1875, giving rise to a concerted

rebellion, against the stale eclecticism of the time. A conscious effort to create along new lines inspired this
"New Art". It drew on various motifs - Gothic and Japanese to create a new vocabulary based on natural
forms. The typical line is long and slightly curved, ending abruptly in a whip-like sharp curve.

Art Nouveau



A family of trees, the woods of many of which is used for furniture. The European ash belongs to a group
that includes olive, lilac, privet, and jasmine. The olive ash burls of both England and France are
exquisitely figured, and capable of beautiful veneer matching. The color varies from a light honey to a
medium brown. The American ashes are used principally as lumber where great strength is required, as in
upholstery frames. The wood is a very light creamy color, heavy and dense, with a prominent grain
resembling oak. It was used for some turnings and bent work in very early Windsor chairs.



Small half-round or convex bead molding; molding on overlapping doors.



Supporting columns in the shape of male figures.


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