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Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Understanding Antiques

Have you ever been relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, sat watching the Antiques Roadshow, when someone, whilst describing an antique, mentions ". . . the glass panels are held in shaped astragals . . .", or have you been browsing around a shop and admiring a wonderful chair that is described as having a Bergere seat, and all this makes you think "What?"

Hopefully help is at hand.

Over the next few weeks I shall try and explain some of the terminology used in the antiques trade and help remove the chains of not knowing strange words!

Let's begin with the letter A

Aneroid Barometer
An aneroid barometer uses a small, flexible metal box called an aneroid cell. This aneroid capsule (cell) is made from an alloy of beryllium and copper. The evacuated capsule (or usually more capsules) is prevented from collapsing by a strong spring. Small changes in external air pressure cause the cell to expand or contract. This expansion and contraction drives mechanical levers such that the tiny movements of the capsule are amplified and displayed on the face of the aneroid barometer.

A narrow flat band or collar encircling a Gothic column.

A shaped and often decorated length of wood applied beneath the bottom framing of a drawer, table top, chair etc.

A series of arches, generally supported on columns.

A decoration of flowers, fruit, trophies and figures in symmetrical foliate scrolls or strapwork, derived from the Middle East. When human figures are incorporated properly known as Grotesque work.

An astragal is a small molding profile composed of a half round surface surrounded by two flat planes (fillets). An astragal is sometimes referred to as a miniature torus (a ring shape). It can be an architectural element used at the top or base of a column, but is also employed as a framing device on furniture and woodwork. An astragal is commonly used as a term to describe the division between panes in a glazed cabinet.

There are many more so if I don't mention the one you are looking for let me know in your comments and I will include them next time.

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