Glossary

Salon set

Complete set of matched furniture for a specific room. Also called a suite.

Samovar

An urn with a spigot at its base used especially in Russia to boil water for tea.

Sarcophagus

A rectangular, coffin-shaped box tapering to a smaller size at the bottom. Can be used as a cellaret or tea caddy.

satinwood

Pale in color and silky in appearance, satinwood became increasingly popular in Britain during the 1770s, replacing mahogany as the wood of choice for smaller pieces of furniture. A brilliant yellow wood with a high lustre, stainwood often has a rippled or quilted feature from which its name is derived. Typically, satinwood is used as a veneer and it remained popular in England throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Scallop shell

A semi-circular shell with ridges radiating from a point at the bottom. This ornamental motif was common in furniture design during the Queen Anne and Georgian periods in England and America. It was also extensively used in the easrly Spanish Renasisscane.

Sconce

A bracketed wall-light comprising a decorative backplate and candleholders. Very fashionable from the late 17th century. Rococo versions are often called girandoles.

scrimshaw

A folk art dating from the 17th century in which whale teeth, whale bones and walrus tusks are engraved or lightly carved with a picture or design.

Scroll pediment

Broken pediment with each half shaped in the form of a reverse curve, and ending in an ornamental scroll. Usually a finial is placed in the center between the two halves.

Secretary desk

An 18th-century tall piece of furniture with drawers at the bottom, a bookcase on top, and a desk with a drop-llid in the center.

serpentine

Furniture decoration shaped like an s-curve

Serpentine curve

Winding and curving design often used in furniture legs or on the front of cabinets or desk.

shagreen

A leather created from various species of sharks, rays and dogfish, particularly the stingray. This nodule-laden leather was commonly used during the 18th and 19th centuries to add decorative features to items such as jewelry boxes, needle cases, sword handles and opera glasses.

Sheraton, Thomas

Sheraton 1750-1806, an English cabinetmaker who name has been given to a school of design in English furniture. Using mahogany as his dominant wood, he followed the classic, simple design in the wake of Adam and Hepplewhite.

Shield back

A chair back fashioned in the shape of a shield. Common in Hepplewhite designs.

Sideboard

A long, large piece of dining-room furniture with a flat top, and sometimes a superstructure for displaying china and glass. The body is a storage unit, compoased of drawers, sometimes flanked on each side by cabinets with doors.

Smith, Benjamin

Benjamin Smith. Benjamin Smith's (1764-1823) extraordinary genius garnered him accolades from his contemporaries and established him as one of history's most important and respected silversmiths. He, along with other master smiths like Paul Storr and Matthew Boulton, were most influential in elevating the silver artform during the period. Boulton was so impressed with Smith's talent, he entered into a partnership with him. Later, Smith found himself in the same circles as the legendary Paul Storr, and his talent soon gained the attention of the Royal Family. Indeed by 1803, just a year after arriving in London, Smith's work had found its way into the Royal Household and his distinctive style put him in the same stellar league as Storr and Boulton, a most exclusive group. Examples bearing the hallmark of Benjamin Smith are especially rare and sought after among collectors who recognize the superior technical and artistic merit of his work.

Snooker

Played chiefly in Britain, Snooker is a version of the game of pool with a cue ball, 15 red balls, and 6 balls of other colors on a table that has 6 pockets.

soft-paste Porcelain

Porcelain compounded mostly of white clay mixed with a glassy substance.

Solon, Marc Louis

Marc Louis Solon is the most renowned pate-sur-pate artist. Solon was forced to leave the Sevres porcelain factory in France and move to England due to the onslaught of the Franco-Prussian war. In 1870 Solon began a long and prosperous relationship with the Minton porcelain factory in Stoke-On-Trent, becoming the premier pate-sur-pateartist.

spinel

Gemstone which occurs in a variety of colors including deep reds, blues and greens. Significant sources of spinels include Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Splat

Central flat support between a chair's seat and the top-rail.

splat

The flat central support on a chair's back

sprigged ware

Ceramics which have ornamental decoration applied to its surface. A sprig mould is used to produce a relief decoration with a flat back in order for it to be scored and slipped ("sprigged") for application. Wedgwood jasper ware features sprigged decoration.

Staffordshire pottery

Pottery made in Staffordshire County, England. Provincial in shape ornamentation and coloring. The better grades are usually known by the individual names of their markers.

Sterling

A term used in connection with silverware, indicating that the silver is 92.5 percent pure.

stoneware

A hybrid of earthenware and porcelain, made of clay and a fusible substance, such as sand or flint. It is not porous after firing.

Storr, Paul

Paul Storr (1771-1844) - The most celebrated and prolific silversmith of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Storr captured the attention of the world's aristocracy particularly the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV. His works graced palaces and mansions all over Europe.

Stretcher

Strengthening or stabilizing rail which runs horizontal between furniture legs, often forming X, H, or Y shapes.

Student lamp

Desk lamp of metal, usually brass, having a tubular shaft and either one or two arms. Shades are of opaque glass usually in dark green or white.