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Terminology Furniture

Applied arts a response to the decreasing use of traditional shapes and techniques because of industrialisation. This movement came into existence in Holland at the end of the 19th century. The Arts and Craft movement and Kustgewerbe had already taken place in England and in Germany. In Holland, the movement was largely an attempt to combine aesthetic ideas with machines.

Art Deco a movement that became famous for its geometrical shapes and its use of bright, bold colours. It was very popular from 1918 to 1940. Its name is an abbreviation of the Parisian exhibition 'Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industrielles'.

Art Nouveau or Jugendstil a movement and a decorative style. It is well-known for showing bending and flowing lines, asymmetry and motifs of flowers and leaves. This movement was active from 1890 to 1910.

Arts and Crafts movement this artistic, 19th century movement was led by William Morris. It was a response to mass production and it supported the return of craftsmanship and simple design.

Bauhaus German school of architecture and applied arts. It was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919. The style is mostly known for its austere, geometrical shapes and for the use of modern materials such as pipes.

Belle Époque ('The Beautiful Era') an overly decorative style which was fashionable from the end of the 19th century until the First World War.

Boulle decorative inlay which was named after André-Charles Boulle. This technique usually incorporates tortoise and various other materials such as brass, tin, ivory and nacre. The technique flourished again in England between 1815 and 1840; it was called 'Buhl'.

Buffet table the name for a sideboard that has two parts. It replaced the old Credenza.

Builders hardware metal parts that are used for protection and decoration in buildings and furniture such as hinges and locks.

Bun feet a round foot that usually serves as the legs of furniture and clocks. People started using them in the 17th century.

Canapé French type of seating. It seats two or more people, has an open armrest and has an upholstered seat and back. It usually displays elaborately carved woodwork as well.

Chaise longue an upholstered chair with an elongated seat so people are able to put their legs on it.

Commode the French name for a low chest of drawers.

Console a table that is placed against a wall.

Cornice the decorative moulding that tops of a piece of furniture.

Cross-legged table with trestle-shaped crossed legs that are connected to a long central beam. These kinds of tables are very popular.

Cubism an early 20th century art movement which sets itself apart by disfiguration, angularity, geometric compositions and elements from African sculptures.

Curved front when the front of a cupboard is curved outwards.

Dovetail joint a joint technique which is used for wood.

Dresser British piece of furniture inspired on the Credenza. It is used in the kitchen. In America, 'dresser' means a chest of drawers with a mirror (also called a lowboy).

Ébeniste French word for a cabinet maker. The name is derived from the usage of Ebony.

Engineered wood a cheap kind of wood which is often used as raw material for a piece of furniture that is veneered.

Étagère a table that has two or three storages so items can be showed and dishes can be presented.

Fauteuil the French name for armchair.

Flame pattern shaped by the grain of the wood.

Inlay a technique where a material (such as marble, wood, metal, tortoise, nacre) is placed in a recess of another material (which is usually wood).

Jugendstil the German name for Art Nouveau. It is derived from a magazine called 'Jugend' that circulated in Munich.

Laminating a technique where multiple sheets of wood are glued onto each other while the grain goes in different directions. This will create a material that is both lighter and thinner than solid wood. Laminated wood is one of the key features in the work of furniture-maker John Henry Belter.

Linen cupboard a cabinet that has shelves designed for storing linen and clothing.

Mariage a piece of furniture consisting of parts from two (or more) different pieces of furniture which are often originally from the same period.

Marquetry using veneer and other materials to create decorative patterns in wood.

MDF dense wood fibre board which is used in the construction of furniture.

Padding a technique in upholstery where small, arranged cushions are created by topstitching and padding. People started applying it to furniture in the middle of the 19th century.

Parquetry geometric marquetry made from various kinds of wood.

Pharmaceutical glaze a mirror-like finish for furniture. It is made from shellac that has been dissolved in alcohol. The finish is applied in many thin layers.

Pier cabinet small cabinet meant for the masonry piers between the windows. It was popular at the end of the 17th century. Often used in combination with a pier mirror.

Plywood laminated wood. The layers are glued on one another in an angled manner.

Postmodernism this response to modernism started in the fifties and it advocated reintroducing bright colours and decorative architectonical motifs.

Rail a horizontal lath that can be found in a chair.

Seat rail the body of the chair's seat which also connects the chair's legs.

Secretary desk writing desk with a dropleaf.

Stretcher the rail that connects and stabilises the legs of a chair or a table.

Top rail a name for the highest rail on the back of the chair.

Veneer a thin slice of expensive, and often exotic, wood. It is usually glued onto a cheaper indigenous kind of wood. In the old days, veneer used to be sawed and it could be up to three millimetres thick. But, thanks to mechanisation, paper thin sheets of veneer can be produced nowadays.