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c-scrolls: Decorative motif of carved scrolls in a "C" shape used in fine French furniture design, especially during the Baroque and Rococo periods.
cabriole: A type of furniture leg. Sinuous, double-curved form used in legs (and feet). The upper portion curving outward and the lower portion curving inward in a gentle "S" shape. The cabriole leg is especially characteristic of the Louis XV style.
cachepot: A French term used to identify a decorative china or metal jardinière designed to hold a small potted plant or cut flowers.
campaign furniture: A type of furniture that is foldable or collapsible, or separable into parts for ease of travel. Often fitted with handles to facilitate carrying and stowing. Historically, much was made for military campaigns. The most common form is a chest of drawers, often referred to as a campaign chest or military chest.
canapé: Refers to a type of 18th century French sofa, originally curtained.
canapé borne: A round or oval type of settee originating in France around 1850, featuring a tall, central pillar section or a small, low bump for reclining. Used in French salons, foyers, and boudoirs most often. Literally, “milestone.”
candelabra/candelabrum: A branched candlestick typically cast in bronze, silver or white metal. Usually created in pairs.
caning: Created by interlacing the flexible stems of reeds or rattan to form the backs and seats of chairs, benches and daybeds. Light, durable and insect resistant. From the Regence period through the Louis XV period, France favored cane work for a more informal country style, however, examples exist in classical styles and some even have gilding.
canopy: A draped fabric covering suspended over a piece of furniture and usually supported by four posts.
canted: A beveled or chamfered surface. Refers to furniture legs inclining outwards.
capital: Head or crowning feature of a column or pilaster.
caquetoire/euse: Armchair of 16th century French design, with a high narrow back and a trapezoidal seat
carcass: The body of a piece of luxury case furniture before the addition of marquetry veneers or lacquer panels.
cartonnier: 18th century cabinet of French design.
cartouche: Typically oval in shape, a cartouche is a carved or ornamental motif with curved or scrolling edges. Often the cartouche contains a coat of arms or an inscription.
caryatid: A decorative upright female figure used in the place of a column. It was a frequently used motif in architecture, furniture and garden sculpture during the Renaissance, the 18th century, and most notably, the classic revival of the 19th century — when caryatids were popular as mantelpiece supports. The motif appeared in Egyptian and Greek architecture with the best known and most copied examples being those of the six figures of the Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens. Male supporting figures are called atlantes or telamon.
case furniture: Furniture which provides storage space.
cassolette: A vase, usually gilt-bronze, with a pierced lid for burning perfume pastilles made in France from the 17th century on. Some examples often have a cover which reverses to form a candlestick.
cassone: An Italian bridal dowry chest often decorated with carved, gilt, inlaid, or painted decoration.
casters: Also known as muffineers. Made in sets of three, with a large pierced caster for sugar, a smaller pierced caster for black pepper, and a third, non-pierced caster for mustard. The mustard caster's top usually features decorative engraving or other decoration.
cellarette: A portable chest, case, or cabinet for storing bottles, decanters, and glasses, dating from the 18th century.
chaise fumeur: Literally, "smoker's chair." A small chair for a man to straddle while resting his forearms on the chair back. Often had compartment for keeping tobacco and playing cards.
chaise lounge: A long chair designed for relaxing and semi-reclining, usually upholstered. Adapted from the French 18th century style, it was often made in two parts, a deep bergère and large stool, which formed a daytime sofa when joined together. Literally, "long chair." Also referred to as a fainting couch or recamier.
chaise nourrice: Literally, "nursing chair." Country chair with a low seat that was used while nursing babies near the fireside.
chaise ponteuse: A gaming chair that one straddled. The wide, padded back rail contained compartments for chips, money, and cards. Originally used around a game table, hence its name from the term "bridging," which means bet.
chamfer: A canted surface produced by beveling off an angle.
chandelier: A decorative lighting fixture, suspended from the ceiling, with arms branching out to hold candles and later, gas and electric lights. Date back to Anglo-Saxon times, before 1066 and were found mostly in churches and the homes of a privileged few. The French favored fine pieces decorated with rock crystal.
chapeau de gendarme: Literally, "policeman hat" or "bonnet." Refers to the cocked hat worn by policemen. Cornices were generally flat until about the second half of the 18th century when artisans began rounding them upward in a chapeau de gendarme, or policeman's hat shape.
chauffeuse: A fireside chair having a low seat and high back.
chaumière: Thatched cottage often found in Normandy, France.
chenets: Ornamental pieces placed in front of a fireplace to protect priceless rugs and flooring from rolling logs. Chenets, were a staple of any well-appointed home, serving as both decorative and useful objects.
cherub: Winged child figure used in decoration from the Renaissance and after.
chesterfield: A large, overstuffed sofa with a continuous straight back and upholstered ends which is button tufted.
cheval mirror: A large full-length mirror, usually standing on the floor.
chevet: Literally, "night stand."
chiffonier: A sideboard, or cabinet, introduced during the late 18th century, with open shelves for books and a cupboard or drawers below.
Chinoiserie: Style of ornamentation characterized by intricate patterns and an extensive use of Oriental motifs. Term is generally reserved for objects made in the late 17th and 18th centuries.
Christofle: An important Parisian silversmith known for high quality work and fine detailed chasing. He often added fine silver and cloisonné works to furniture pieces.
cloche: Literally, "bell." A bell shaped, glass cover placed over a plant to protect it from frost and to force its growth. Also, a bell-shaped metal or glass cover placed over a plate to keep food warm or fresh.
cloisonné: A type of decoration overlaid on bronze in which compartments separated by thin strips of metal are filled with powdered glass prior to firing to create a shiny colorful enamel.
cock-beading: Moulding dating from the early 18th century.
coffer/coffré: A wooden trunk intended for holding valuables, blankets and clothes, also functioned as tables, seats and beds for children or very small adults. In use since the Middle Ages, the coffer can be covered in leather with nail heads ornamenting the edges and handles on both ends. Wrought iron scrollwork was also used in a decorative fashion. Coffers often had domed or lipped tops to allow rainwater to run off. Coffers and trunks were the main item of furniture in early French households and it was not uncommon to have a coffer in every room.
coiffeuse: Small cabinet with lift-up top that was used for storing hair ornaments, brushes and combs.
commode: French name for a low chest of drawers with a wood or marble top, raised on legs, introduced towards the end of the 17th century. Intended to be set against a wall. Literally, "comfortable" or "convenient." The very functional commode developed in late 17th century France and became a prominent furniture form during the 18th century Rococo period. The form underwent many variations in an effort to blend elegance with practicality. At first heavy in appearance, the commode evolved into a more curvilinear form with decorative carving and hardware while lifting higher from the floor on cabriole legs. This look remained in fashion until the Louis XVI period introduced a refined and restrained symmetry of form. The decorative quality of 19th century French country commodes waned as focus redirected to function. The term "commode" also refers to the night table or pot cupboard used to store the bedroom chamber pot.
commode à vantaux: A commode fitted with hinged panels. Doors open to reveal drawers or slides.
commode en tombeau: Created in the early 18th century under the Regency, a commode with a divided drawer above two deep ones with curved shapes and short legs. Literally, "chest tomb." Inspired by the ancient tombs and sarcophagi, it's usually decorated with bronze and marble.
commode sauteuse: A two drawer commode or chest with long legs.
comtoise clock: Considered a provincial grandfather clock to distinguish it from clocks made in Paris. It gets its name from the Franche-Comté region where they were produced. Also known as a Morbier clock after the village of Morbier, a rural, agricultural community in the Franche-Comté region famous for their Morbier cheese. Starting in the second half of the 18th Century, farmers began to manufacture clock parts during the winter months. These clock parts were purchased by finishers, who would assemble the parts to create a clock. The clocks were then ostensibly sold to travelers passing through town.
confident: An "S" shaped chair meant to seat two people facing in opposite directions. Used in the 18th and 19th centuries in French salons for intimate conversations. Also referred to as a tête-à-tête, a French term with the literal meaning of "head-to-head."
confiturier: A jam cabinet or jam holder, as in cabinet de confiture.
console: An ornamental table that can be attached to the wall in the back having two legs in front or can be free-standing against the wall.
coquillage/coquille: A decorative carved shell or scalloped motif used on fine furniture, especially popular in the Regence and Rococo periods.
corbeille à fleurs: An elegant basket of flowers. Literally, "flower basket." Characteristic of Louis XV style decoration.
cornice: The projecting, crowning portion of a classical entablature. Also horizontal molding at the top of case pieces, such as bookcases, cabinets and armoires.
cornucopia: Classical motif in the shape of a goat's horn out of which spills fruit, vegetables and flowers. A symbol of fertility and abundance popular during the Baroque and Rococo periods. Also known as a horn-of-plenty.
cresting: Carved wooden decoration surmounting a mirror, cabinet or chair.
crossbanding: Thin strips of decorative cross-grained veneer.
crocket: Popular Gothic motif often in the shape of a leaf or flower which projects from the surface of chairs and some case pieces.
crotch veneer: A thin sheet of wood cut from the intersection of the main trunk and branch of a tree, showing an irregular effect of graining.
cruet: Small bottle used for oils, vinegars and other condiments. Its earliest use was ecclesiastical for wine, oil and water. In the late 17th century, cruets were used domestically and were made of glass imported from Italy and adorned with silver or silver plated mounts. Cruets were grouped together on a stand in a frame or rack typically with a central vertical handle and supporting feet. The number of bottles could vary from two to six or more and were often combined with casters.
crystal: Fine, high-quality glass containing lead oxide invented in 17th century England. The lead oxide is attributed to providing the glass with extraordinary qualities of brilliance, sound and a suitable texture for cutting or engraving. Baccarat and St. Louis, both French, are two of the finest crystal manufacturers in the world.
curl mahogany: Wood cut from the fork in branches of a mahogany tree. Prized for its mottled or feathery grain. Known as crotch mahogany in America.
Louis XV Bonnetiere
French Country Chauffeuse Armchairs
Louis XIII Coffer
Louis XV Commode Sauteuse
Baccarat Crystal Dish
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Birmingham, AL 35222
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