Glossary

Early American

A period in the design of American furniture during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The designs were simple and rugged generally made of solid wood, especially pine, maple, birch, and oak. The furniture was copied largely from English Jacobean and William and Mary styles.

earthenware

All pottery except for stoneware

ebonizing

The staining of wood to black to resemble ebony, a common decorative technique used in Louis XIV furniture.

ebony

The name given to several different woods that are very dark in color, sometimes dark brown or green to black in color.

Egg-and-dart

A decorative motif of classical origin consisting of ovoid or egg shapes alternating with dart-like points.

Elm

A uniform and fine textured wood with a light brownish-red color tinged with darker brown ring marks.

Embossing

A process of stamping, hammering or molding a material so that a design protrudes beyond the surface.

Empire

A period of Neo-classic design during the reign of Napoleon 1804-14. Greek, Roman, and Egyptian motifs were widely used. The style spread throughout Europe and appeared in America in some of Duncan Phyfe's work.

enamel

A painted porcelain decoration in vitreous colors that fuse to the glazed surface during low temperature kiln firing. Enamel sinks deeply into soft-paste porcelain but is not absorbed by hard-paste porcelain.

engraving

The process of cutting or carving lines into a surface.

Epergne

An ornamental centerpiece usually of glass or silver or a combination of both. Two or more vase-shaped holders are branched upward from a decorative base to hold flowers.

Escutcheon

Metal plate fitted around a keyhole for protection and decoration or to which a handle or knob can be attached.

espagnolette

(French) decorative bronze bust of female form, typically found on French rococo furnishings

Etagere

Set of free-standing or wall shelves used to display objects, sometimes with drawers or doors.

Etchings

Prints from a copper plate upon which a drawing or design has been made by a metal tool.