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A to Z

Our jargon-busting Dictionary helps you to understand specialist antiques and collectables terms. Also included are the histories of factories, designers, and style movements across the centuries.

Showing 1 to 6 of 63 articles

 

Oak Oak

A hard, close-grained, pale honey-coloured wood, its strength and beauty means it is widely used for furniture making. Throughout the Middle Ages, oak was used to make fine furniture, giving way to walnut in the late 16th century in France ...

Oak-leaf jar Oak-leaf jar

A type of Apothecary jar, decorated with stylized oak leaves in the Gothic style, often with heavily applied blue pigment, a pale buff body and a creamy white glaze. The origin of this rare early Italian maiolica is uncertain but most ...

Obelisk Obelisk

A tall shaft of stone, of tapering, square or rectangular form, terminating in a pyramid. The obelisk originated in ancient Egypt, where its shadow was used to tell the time. It was brought to Europe during the Roman Empire. Admired during ...

Obi Obi

A waist sash worn with a kimono, from which netsuke are hung. From the Japanese: “belt”.

Object of vertu Object of vertu

A pocket-sized accessory such as a snuff box, pomander, etui or nécessaire, made of luxury materials such as porcelain, gold, silver, gemstones and enamel. Usually beautifully crafted, they are valued for their workmanship and rarity ...

Occasional table Occasional table

A modern term for an all-purpose small table that can be easily moved from room to room. Occasional tables evolved in the 18th century to accommodate increasingly comfort-orientated domestic interiors. Designed to be light and ...