Oriental varnish obtained from the sap of the lacquer tree. Gave a high-gloss finish to furniture in Europe in the 17th century. Mother-of-pearl, coral, and metals were often inlaid in the lacquer to create a decorative effect.


A luminous, transparent glass introduced in the early 20th century by Rene Lalique of France. Most of his designs have a sculptural quality achieved by pressing and alternating a dull with a polished surface.

laminated wood

Perfected by American cabinet maker John Henry Belter, wood pieces made up of thin layers are frequently bent and moulded to create curved shapes such as bed footboards, headboards or pierced furniture decoration.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli was among the first gemstones to be worn as jewelry and worked on, and the Chinese have long held it in high regard. Its name is derived from the Roman word for stone and the Persian word for blue, and is the root of our word "azure." A denotation of luck, success and prosperity, lapis was a symbol of power, and thus was reserved only for the highest-ranking members of society. This enchanting stone was likened to the "road to heaven" for its resemblance to a star-filled sky, and was thus added to the grave goods of powerful persons. It was also ground to a powder and used in cosmetics.


French term meaning "wash bowl"

Linke, Francois

Francois Linke was the most celebrated and influential ebeniste(cabinet maker) of his time. His work has long been admired for its exceptional quality and innovative interpretation of the Louis XV and Art Nouveau styles.

Louis XIV

Known as the Sun King, he reigned in France between 1643 and 1715. Influenced the Baroque style in furniture during the earlier part of the reign which later developed into the Regence style. Mahogany and oak were widely used. Baroque was large, masculine, and symmetrical. Regence was characterized by its use of curves and introduction of Chinoiserie. Ornamentation was usually done with rocks, shells, and flowers.

Louis XV

He reigned in France between 1715 and 1774. The style of furniture was essentially Rococo with soft, flowing lines, shell and flower ornamentation, rich upholstery, inlaying and painted furniture.

Louis XVI

Reigned in France between 1774 and 1793. Characteristics of this style were rectangular lines, architectural ornamentation, classic symmetry, marquetry, and the predominant use of mahogany.


Chest of drawers mounted on short legs. Usually about three feet high.


A metallic, sometimes iridescent, form of decoration.

Lyre back

Design commonly used by Duncan Phyfe on the backs of chairs. A representation of lyre figures carved from wood with brass wires used to represent the strings.