Learn about and understand the items, manufacturers, designers and periods as well as the specialist terms used in describing antiques and collectables. Either click one of the letters below to list the items beginning with that letter, or click on a category on the left side of the screen to list the items under that category.

Cabriole Leg

The cabriole leg evolved from an elongated scroll, curving out at the knee which may or may not be carved, and forming a serpentine shape as it descends to the foot.

First introduced into English furniture in the late 17th century, cabriole legs were widely used during the Queen Anne and early Georgian periods, where they frequently terminated in a pad foot or ball and claw foot. The style has had many imitators since then. The cabriole leg was re-introduced in the mid-19th century, and is commonly associated with the balloon-back dining or drawing-room chairs made in walnut, mahogany or, in Australia, cedar. The Victorian cabriole leg, on the whole, was rather more slender than the earlier form, following the French style, which emphasized the delicacy and daintiness of the chairs they were designed to support. Cabriole legs are sometimes found on windsor chairs, especially those made during the 18th century.


Ornamental container for a pot holding a growing plant, usually without a drainage hole. The name is derived from the French word "cacher" (to hide).

Caddy Spoon

A caddy spoon is a short handled spoon used for measuring the dried tea from the tea caddy, where it was stored, to the teapot, and most commonly in use from the late 1700's to the mid Victorian period, although examples continue turning up dated into the early 1900s.

Caddy spoons were produced in all shapes and forms ranging from traditional patterns of the 18th century to striking designs by artist craftsmen of the 1920s.

Arts and Crafts caddy spoons in particular show the widest range and diversity of style. At the turn of the 20th century established designers of the day put their own interpretation on traditional forms and caddy spoons were produced in silver, copper, brass and pewter.

They are recognized for their simple elegant shapes, hand-hammered finish and are often decorated with enamel or cabochon gemstones.

Caddy spoon collectors may concentrate on specific makers and their individual hallmarks, and enthusiasts are always looking for less prolific or unrecorded makers.

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Caire, Nicholas

Nicholas John Caire was born in 1837 in Guernsey, Channel Islands. He migrated to Australia with his parents and arrived in Adelaide about 1860.

He had developed an interest in photography from a young age and with help and instruction from a local photographer soon becam competent in the art.

By his late twenties he was travelling and photographing through Gippsland.

In 1867 he opened a studio in Adelaide.

After marrying in 1870 he and his wife moved to Talbot, near Clunes, Victoria, where he worked for the next six years.

In 1876 when he bought an established studio in Collins Street, Melbourne but in 1885 he gave up his city studio and devoted the rest of his life to outdoor photography, working from his home in South Yarra.

He died at Armadale, Victoria, in 1918.

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Caithness Glass

Caithness limited edition paperweight, 'Windfower Ruby'

Caithness Glass was founded in Wick in North East Scotland in 1961. In 1962, Paul Ysart, who had worked for Moncrieff glassworks (Monart) in Perth, Scotland, and whose father was a glassblower, joined as supervisor and the company started producing paperweights.

Its early tableware and decorative production was very similar to the Scandinavian glass popular at the time, being mould blown with thin rims, heavy bases and strong colours. Colours were inspired by the Scottish landscape, hence names such as ‘heather’.

Before 1968 few pieces were engraved. Some engraved pieces were produced after that year when Colin Terris, who had studied in Norway, joined the company. Most designs are abstract, but some ranges were inspired by natural or marine subjects, and lead to the realease of a new modern style range of paperweighs.

Tableware remained in production until the 1980s, when the factory began to concentrate further on paperweights, with a few decorative glass ranges still being made, primarily in mottled coloured glass and often with ‘painted’ enamel effects.

In 1988, Caithness bought the Wedgwood Glass factory at King’s Lynn and at one point had three factories. In 1996, the company, now with headquarters in Perth, was taken over by Royal Doulton and then by glqass tableware producers, Dartington Crystal in 2006. and is still in production today, primarily producing paperweights.

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Cake Basket

Popularly known as a cake basket, these baskets were probably also used for bread and fruit. They were introduced between 1730 and 1750, and at this time were usually oval in shape. Most cake baskets have a swing handle and pierced body. On important examples, the bottoms are engraved with armorials. Their popularity continued until the third quarter of the 19th century. Although oval shapes continued to be made, there were variations introduced and the designs became more flamboyant.

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Calamander / Coromandel

Calamander, also known as coramandel has undulating stripes varying in colour from golden brown to almost black. It is native to Sri Lanka, India and other parts of South East Asia, and was introduced into England in about 1800.

It was a very expensive timber so was only ever used on small items such as writing and other boxes, or the very highest quality furniture items.

Calyx Ware

Calyx Ware was produced from 1921 until the late 1930s by a pottery in Perth, Western Australia, originally named Calyx Porcelain and Paint Company, but undergoing several name changes.

The range was mainly functional items, often decorated with Australian themes. Archibald Bertram Webb (1887-1944) was a British artist who migrated to Western Australia and decorated some ACalyx Ware items.

After production of Calyx Ware ceased, the pottery produced the Wembley Ware range and then later 'Bristile'.

The trade name Calyx Ware was also used by the British pottery, William Adams & Co. from 1896 to the 20th century.

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Cameos have been carved since antiquity, and a true cameo is a hard stone on which a design is cut in relief. Usually the stone used had a two colour bands, a dark band and a lighter band, and the image was cut into the light band leaving the darker band as background.

These cameos were carved from semi precious stones such as agate, onyx and carnelian.

However this summary is concerned with cameos produced in the 18th and 19th centuries, mostly as brooches, and most of the 19th century cameos are carved from shell.

If the cameo is carved from a semi precious stone, and well described it will usually name the stone or include the word 'hardstone' in the description, and if that word is not present the cameo can assumed to be a shell cameo. Hardstone cameos sell at a premium to a similar shell cameo.

However cameos can be made from other materials including ivory, lava, plastics and glass, and some are made by setting a relief carving to a contrasting background which could be of a different material.

Cameos that are created by a mould rather than carving are considered faux or fake cameos, although they are collectable in their own right as costume jewellery. This includes cameos in materials such as porcelain, glass, resin, Bakelite, celluloid or other plastics.

After 1850 demand for cameos grew, as they became popular souvenirs of the Grand Tour among the middle class. Italy was an especially popular destination due to its prestigious history in mythology, the arts and culture. Most of the finest cameos came from there, and were often bought as souvenirs, or sent back home as a gift for loved ones. Popular subjects for cameos included classical groups, the classical heads or busts of maidens, youths or warriors, and mythological deities.

By the end of the 19th century the popularity of the cameo was waning. Though they were still being produced, the quality of the carving in many cameos became poor, with figures and portraits being much cruder than their life-like predecessors of the Georgian and Victorian period.

When valuing a cameo, many factors have to be taken into account, including the materials used for the cameo, the quality of the carving, the desirability of the subject matter and whether the subject matter is rare. The quality of material and workmanship of the mount is also important. Any damage to a cameo can affect its value.

The evaluation of a cameo should include an examination to reveal any cracks or breaks, and this can be ascertained by holding the cameo up to a strong light, and/or examining it with a magnifying glass or jewellers loupe.

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Cameo Glass

Cameo glass is produced by creating an object with several layers, usually incorporating an opaque glass on a coloured ground with a matt finish, and then removing the outer layer by hand or wheel carving or etching, to reveal the opaque glass underneath.

Revived in Britain in the late 19th century, the technique was known to the Romans, and is seen at its best in the famous Portland Vase, dated from 5 - 25 AD.

In Britain, the best and earliest cameo glass was engraved by hand, but towards the end of the 19th century when cameo glass increased in popularity, various mechanical processes were introduced. Cutting could be done on a wheel, but more often decoration was applied in acid-resistant materials and the surrounding area then removed by immersing in acid.

Cameo glass on a commercial basis, using acid-etching, was introduced by Thomas Webb in 1884 and from then until 1911, Webb Cameo glass, with its white floral or classical motifs on a coloured base, was exceedingly popular. These pieces were invariably stamped 'Webb's Gem Cameo' and many examples in the 1890s also bore the date of manufacture. Other companies producing cameo glass were Stevens & Williams of Stourbridge, and J. & J. Northwood.

From about 1884, Emile Galle began producing a type of cameo glass, in which the decoration was cut by a wheel into the various layers of coloured glass. Galle also adopted acid-etching in the 1890s to cope with the demand for cameo glass, mainly from the Near East and Mediterranean markets.

Cameo glass is sometimes confused with a white enamel-painted glass, of German or Bohemian origin, designed to compete against cameo glass

Campaign and Military Furniture

Most of the campaign furniture on the market is associated with the time of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries when there was a high demand from military officers, administrators and colonists.

Campaign furniture is demountable, through clever use of wooden screws and sometimes metal hinges, so that it can disassembled and then packed into lots of managable size for ease of movement by ship or animal between postings or camps.

The most common example of campaign furniture is the chest, which breaks into an upper and lower section, each with brass or rope handles at the sides. The corners are protected by brass cappings, and the handles are recessed so they are flush with front of the chest. The usual form is two half drawers and three full drawers, standing on baluster legs which usually unscrew, again for ease of transport.

Many campaign chests bear the label or plate of the retailer or maker, such as the Army & Navy Stores in London or Ross & Co. of Dublin, Ireland.

Other examples can be found that were made in India in the late 19th century, for use by the occupying British army, in local timbers such as camphor wood and teak, which resembles a paler version of mahogany when polished but without the grain markings.

The campaign chest is the most commonly seen item, but a wide variety of items were produced including beds, chairs, tables and desks.

Because of its situation, use and frequent moves, campaign furniture often bears the scars of its extensive travelled life.

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Campbell's Pottery

John Campbell was born in 1857 in New Zealand and moved to Victoria with his family as a child. He became an apprentice at Bendigo pottery and his newly learned potters skills were rewarded by winning medals in the 1879-80 Melbourne Juvenile Intercolonial Exhibition for his exhibits - a stoneware fountain, a whisky still worm and two terracotta fire grate backs.

At around age 23 he moved to Tasmania and in 1881 in partnership with his father in law, bought Alfred Cornwell’s 'Victorian and Tasmanian Potteries Launceston pottery works. In the 1891-2 Tasmanian Exhibition in their home town of Launceston, Campbell’s exhibited a range of pots and urns, vases, teapots, cheese dishes with covers, jars, bottles and Toby jugs.

Pipe and brick manufacture was the largest part of the Campbell business, but John Campbell's own interest were the hand-thrown decorative items that they manufactured.

John Campbell died in 19129 and the business was taken over by his eldest son, Colin who continued the business. After his death in 1956 the business continued. However pottery sales were declining due to overseas competition, and input costs such as glazes were increasing and the pottery closed in 1959.

The pipe and brick manufacturing business closed in 1976.

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As well as a small item of "finger food", canape is also the French word for a sofa or divan, and like its English equivilent it will have a high upholstered back, upholstered seat and arms, and is designed to seat two or more. The canape will often have two or more matching bergeres, the French word for an armchair. The most common wood used in their manufacture is walnut, and where lesser timbers are used, the surface is often gilded or painted.


A candelabra is a multi-branched candelstick for use on a large table. In addition to the central stem, they may have between two and six branches.

Long ago made redundant through electrification, their purpose these days is decorative.

They were sometimes made in sets of two or more., although very few sets have survived.

Most commonly they were made in silver and silver plate from the mid 17th century, but other materials used were ceramic and pewter.

Silver candelabra often had a flame shaped finial that fitted in each candle socket when the candlelabra was not in use. As an aid to cleaning, the ornate arms are often removeable.

The plural of candelabra is either candelabra or candelabrum

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From around 1550 to 1930, canes were a dressing accessory without which a lady or gentleman, properly dressed, would never leave the house. However their use went out of fashion after this, leaving the market to collectors.

For a collector, the main interest lies in the handle, which could be made of wood, bamboo, ebony, ivory, tusk, animal horn, or bone. Sometimes they were made out of porcelain, Bakelite, gold, silver, or glass; enameled or cloisonnéd; or sprinkled with precious gemstones. The height of good taste was a gold handle with minmal decoration, as silver handles were despised by the wealthier classes. However silver handled canes have survived in large numbers, and exhibit a wide variety of decorative treatment, from the comparatively plain, armorial or regimental style to the more flamboyant excesses of Art Nouveau.

Carved handles can be found depicting grotesque animal or human forms, and are highly prized nowadays. Also keenly sought are multi-purpose canes, with a concealed spirit flask, tobacco pipe or even a tiny fire-arm for personal safety.

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Canopic Jars

Canopic jars or boxes were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the internal organs of their owner for the afterlife. They were commonly either carved from a stone such as alabaster, or were made of wood or pottery.

Canted Corners

A decorative method of construction, found particularly on longcase clocks, some chests of drawers and the upper sections of tallboys. Where the front of the piece meets the sides, the comer, instead of being joined at a ninety-degree angle, is bevelled at forty-five degrees. As a general rule the canting is 'stopped', that is, it does not extend up the entire length of the face. The canted corner is often decorated with fluting, reeding or blind fret. Where the piece is veneered, it may be enhanced with stringing or other forms of inlay.


A small cabinet, or a box with drawers or lift out trays, for storing a set of cutlery.


A low, partitioned stand, used for storage of sheet music, and nowadays also used to hold magazines and papers. Invented in the late 18th century, most canterburies available on today's market date from the Victorian age, frequently in burr walnut veneer and with open fretwork galleries.

Early music canterburies are generally of plain design, in the form of a low-sitting magazine rack, in keeping with design principles of the period, whilst the later versions are much more flamboyant, and have an extra tier added, with a shelf on the top section.

Captain Cook Period

As applied to New Zealand Maori artifacts, the artefact dates from the 1760s to the 1790s

Captain's Chair

A cottage chair, or Windsor chair, with a rounded back supported by plain or baluster turned spindles, providing an arm rest. The seat may be either caned or, more frequently, a saddled wooden seat. The term is applied to a variety of similar low-backed chairs made throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Other names include a 'pub chair', 'smoker's chair', and so on. A great many office chairs are of much the same design.

Car Badges

An Automobile Association badge with a convex bulge, which was introduced in 1945.

The first car badges were issued by the Automobile Association in Great Britain in 1906, following the formation of the association in the previous year.

The purpose of the AA was to educate drivers about road law, create and provide road maps and provide a meeting place where members could meet socially and no doubt talk about their automobiles. The AA also acted as a lobbying group to push for improvement of the abysmal roads, and lifting the restrictions on the speed limit which had been set to a maximum speed of six kilometres per hour on country roads and three kilometres per hour in built-up areas by the Locomotives on Highways Act of 1895.

The RAC (Royal Automobile Club) of Great Britain had been founded in 1897 but did not introduce their first badge until 1907 when Edward VII became their patron, and the first word in their name became "Royal".

Badges were designed to be attached to the bumper bar and were designed to be durable as they would be likely to be exposed to all weather conditions, so most had a chrome plated and enamel finish.

The Australian automobile associations followed the lead of their UK counterparts, with the Automobile Club of Victoria, the forerunner of the RACV) issuing badges in 1909, the RACWA in 1910 and the RACQ in 1911. The New South Wales motoring organisation, the NRMA was not formed until 1923 and NRMA badges were issued in the following year.

As well as the automobile associations, badges were issued by vehicle manufactures, owners car clubs and other clubs and associations.


The main body of a piece of furniture, built in the solid, such as a chest of drawers, a chiffonier or bookcase. In some cases the carcase may be built in the solid, that is where the entire piece may be made of cedar, oak or other timber. In other cases, the carcase may be out of cheaper timber, such as pine, and the piece veneered and decorated with more expensive timber.

Carcel Lamps

The Carcel lamp was invented by the French watchmaker Bernard Guillaume Carcel (1750–1818) to overcome the disadvantage of the Argand lamp.

Because of the weight of the oil, the reservoir of the Argand lamp was mounted above the burner, and the wick was supplied with fuel by a gravity feed.

The result was a shadow cast behind the reservoir of the Argand lamp.

Carcel invented a clockwork mechanism located in the base of the lamp, that that drove a small pump in the tank that fed Colza oil from a reservoir below the burner.

Both the Argand lamp and Carcel lamp were superseded when kerosene became available as a fuel for lamps.

Complete Carcel lamps (with their clockwork mechanism and pump) very rarely come onto the market.

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Card and Games Tables

Also known as 'gaming tables'. From the early 18th century there have been a wide variety of styles and designs. The playing tops are usually covered with cloth or green baize. Queen Anne and early Georgian examples, with simple cabriole legs, often had recesses for gambling chips. Fold-over card tables, either rectangular or circular were introduced during the mid-18th century, and continued to be made until this century. In some versions, the table legs opened by a concertina or gateleg action to provide support for the top. Other tables, dating from the early 19th century, had a swivel top that rested when opened on the pedestal block or a box-like construction to contain the cards. Collectors will have to rely on stylistic and other evidence to judge the age of card tables, whether they be the elegant half-round tables on tapered and strung legs of the Neoclassical style, the early Victorian pedestal card tables, or the later 19th century card tables frequently veneered in burr walnut in the Rococo revival manner. The small, square tables with fold-up legs and baize or leather tops are a 20th century innovation.

Card Cases

In the early 19th century etiquette dictated that upper class ladies and gentlemen should carry a visiting card, also known as a calling card, being a small paper card, about the size of present day business cards, printed with the individual's details, and often bearing an artistic design.

In 19th century England, the caller or the footmen accompanying the caller (if he or she was very important) would deliver the visiting cards to the servants of their prospective hosts, introducing the arrival of the card bearer.

Card cases solely for the purpose of holding visiting cards were introduced at this time and etiquette dictated that ladies should always carry their cards in a card case, although it was acceptable for a gentleman to carry his cards in the breast pocket of his jacket.

Reflecting the fact that card cases were mainly used by ladies, the designs were feminine in nature.

The early card cases were made of silver and leather with fine gilt tooling. The earliest French cases, c1760, were made of gold, silver and enamel, sometimes with ivory panels or beadwork. Eventually they were made in a variety of materials, including silver, gold, ivory, enamel, mother of pearl and tortoiseshell.

With the advent of popular tourism in the 19th century, card cases were made to depict places of interest and examples include silver castle-top cases, Scottish Mauchline ware and tartan ware and, from Ireland, Killarney ware.

Among silver card cases, castle-tops are the most valuable, with versions of Windsor, Warwick, Kenilworth and Abbotsford popular. Rare examples fetch much higher prices.

The most prolific makers of silver card cases were Nathaniel Mills, Yapp & Woodward and Taylor & Perry.

Most card cases had a lid that was hinged to one side, but there were a variety of other opening methods.

The use of visiting cards declined at the end of the 19th century, reducing demand for and consequently the production of card cases.

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Carlton House Desk

A Sheraton table desk of D-shaped design, surmounted by a low galleried section containing drawers and pigeon holes along the back and sides of the writing surface. Originally made for the Prince Regent's residence at Carlton House. Occasionally a Carlton House desk will appear on the Australian market, but invariably it will be a later Victorian or Edwardian copy of the Regency design, but usually very well made, and command a high price.

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Carlton Ware

A striking Carlton Ware 'Scimitar' Art Deco baluster vase, attributed to Violet Elmer.

The Carlton Ware works were set up about 1890 by James Frederick Wiltshaw, James Alcock Robinson & William Herbert Robinson in Stoke-on-Trent, and Carlton Ware was adopted as a trade name in 1894.

About 1890 the company introduced its "Blush Ware" range, with floral designs on delicate pastel coloured backgrounds, sometimes with gilded additions.

In 1911 the partnership was dissolved and James Frederick Wiltshaw became the sole proprietor.

During the 1920s, the company became known for its Art Deco lustre wares, which command high prices today.

Many of the patterns were of imaginative geometric and stylised floral designs, some using Egyptian and oriental influences, such as the highly collectable ‘Tutenkahmen’ and ‘Mikado’ ranges.

The "Handcraft" range introduced in 1928 offered modern freehand painted designs with matt glazes which distinguished them from other manufacturers of the time using similar designs.

Other later collectable areas of Carlton Ware are the high-lustre table ware in the "Royale" brand, introduced in 1949 and continuing through to the early 1970s, advertising wares, particularly those displaying the Guinness name, and the Walking Ware range of the 1970s, which was the company's last great success.

In 1966, following the death of Cuthbert Wiltshaw, the company was sold to Arthur Wood & Sons and continued to trade until it developed serious financial difficulties in the late 1980s, forcing it into receivership in 1989, resulting in it finally closing in 1992.

In 1997 the company's intellectual property and moulds were purchased by FJ Publications, which now produces objects for the collector's market.

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Carnival Glass

Australian amethyst carnival glass master bowl with kingfisher, 24 cm wide

Carnival Glass is pressed glass that has been iridised. The glass is firstly pressed into a mould while molten, and being in liquid form, takes on the shape of the mould. After it has been removed from the mould, it is sprayed with a coating of liquid metallic salts. This gives the surface an iridescent lustre, similar to the effect of oil floating water.

Although the technique was known in Roman times, it was not until 1907 that it was revived by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Other manufacturers taking note of their success followed suit and were able to produce a cheaper product by spraying the mixture on the glass, instead of including it in the glass mixture as Tiffany was doing.

Carnival glass was at its peak of popularity from about 1908 to the 1920's and as its popularity declined manufacturers, were left large stocks they were unable to sell. Popular legend has it that it was sold cheaply to travelling showman for prizes at carnivals, from whence came the name by which it is know today, carnival glass.

Prior to this, it went under a variety of names, including Iridill, Imperial Jewels, Imperial Art Glass, taffeta, lustre glass, Aurora and rhodium.

The Fenton Art Glass Co, is credited with being the first producer of carnival glass. Other major United States producers were Northwood Glass Company, Imperial Glass Company and Millersburg Glass Company.

Carnival glass was also produced in England, Europe, Central and South America, India, China and Australia.

In Australia, carnival glass was manufactured by the Australian Crystal Glass Company Ltd., which also traded as Crystal Glass Ltd. This company amalgamated with Australian Glass Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (later renamed Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd. and then A.C.I International Ltd.)) which eventually had a monopoly on glass production in Australia.

As in the United States, most of the carnival glass produced by Crystal Glass Company Limited was in the mid to late 1920s.

Australian themes featured strongly in their product line, with designs including the kingfisher, kangaroo, swan, emu, kookaburra, magpie, and waratah.

The range of shapes was similar to that of other carnival glass manufacturers and included various shaped bowls, salvers, jugs and tumblers, vases, float bowls and smaller items such as sugar bowls and butter dishes.

Most items made by Crystal Glass Company were in the 'marigold' colour, which showed an orange iridescence over the clear glass. This was also the most widely produced colour in the United States, the reason given being that it would brighten the dull interiors of the time. The other colour used was 'dark' which varied from light amethyst through to black, with a silvery iridescence. In other countries there was a virtual palette of colours produced.

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Carriage Clocks

A French gilt repeating carriage clock, by Henri Jacot, Paris, circa 1870, 8-day strike repeat with alarm, lever platform escapement, the white enamel dial with Roman numerals and Arabic minutes

Carriage clocks are one of the steps in the development of portable horology, the ability of a person to keep track of time when travelling.

In order to fulfil this function, the clock must keep accurate time, be portable and cased for protection, and allow easy access to the dial for the reading of the time.

Travelling clocks, known in French as "pendule de voyage", have been in use since the 15th century, and remained little changed until the early 19th century. French clock maker Abraham-Louis Breguet developed the first modern travelling clock, known as a "carriage clock" or "officer's clock" in 1796, which he sold to Napoleon several years later. His clock was highly complex. As well as showing the time it also showed the date and temperature.

The carriage clock is rectangular in shape with a carrying handle, and usually has a plain or gilt-brass case set with glass or more rarely enamel or porcelain panels. A feature of carriage clocks is the platform escapement, sometimes visible through a glazed aperture on the top of the case. Carriage clocks use a balance and balance spring for timekeeping and replaced the larger pendulum bracket clock. They were originally supplied with a padded leather carrying case, but many clocks have become separated from their leather case over the years.

From the 1820s, carriage clocks became more prevalent in both France and Britain, although most of the carriage clock manufacturing industry was based in France. Clock makers such as Paul Garnier and Alfred Drocourt in France designed distinctive models that were both aesthetically pleasing but also had advanced methods of time-keeping. Other renowned French makers from this period are Henry Marc, Henri Jacot and Leroy & Fils.

British clock makers, such as James McCabe, began producing carriage clocks in order to reduce the need for French imports to satisfy the market.

The golden age of classic carriage clocks was between 1860 and 1900. The industry was centred around Belfort in France, and production was then mainly exported to England. The factory of Armand Couaillet, in Saint-Nicolas d'Aliermont (France) made thousands of carriage clocks between 1880 and 1920. A French carriage clock became a standard wedding present from the 1880s to the 1920s.

The production of carriage clocks declined from the 1930s as the wristwatch, a much cheaper, personal and more easily transported method of timekeeping, was becoming popular

Prices for carriage clocks increase depending on the quality of the case, the maker and the degree of complexity of the movement. Additional features such as striking trains, calendar indicators, engraved gorge cases, porcelain or enamel panels, grande sonneries or subsidiary dials will add to the value. If the clock has retained its original travelling case, this can also make the piece more expensive.

As a general rule, English carriage clocks sell for higher prices than French pieces, due to the fact that they were produced in smaller numbers and were significantly larger than French carriage clocks.

Carte De Visite

The carte de visite was a standard size small albumen photograph, that when mounted on a thicker paper card, measured 2.5 inches (64mm) by 4 inches (100mm).

The advantage over previous methods of photographic reproduction that allowed for only a single reproduction at a time, was that the inventor, Frenchman Adolphe Disderi had patented a photographic method in 1854 using the 'multiplying camera-obscura', that took multiple separate negatives on a single plate thus reducing production costs. Later versions of this camera took 8 and then 12 negatives on a single plate.

The format and cheaper cost meant that for the first time it was economical for relatives and friends to exchange portraits either by hand or by post, no matter where they were located, and from about 1859 their use spread from Paris to other areas of Europe and the Americas.

The popularity of the carte de visite was enhanced through their use by the ruling classes. In 1859 in France photographs of the Emperor Napoleon by the inventor of the carte de visite, Disden, made the first more popular, and the second famous. In England in 1860, a set of 14 portraits of the Royal Family, comprising Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children bound into a Royal Album was an immediate success, and hundreds of thousands were sold. During the Civil War in America photos of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and other celebrities of the era were instant hit in the North..

Most cartes de visite depict individuals or groups in a studio setting, although some landscape examples do exist.

However the era of the carte de visite was short-lived. After the peak period of popularity between 1863 and 1877, production waned. Other types of photographs, such as the larger cabinet card slowly replaced the carte de visit as the preferred method of recording family portraits. Both the carte de visite and cabinet card became redundant with the invention of the Brownie camera by Kodak in the 20th century, and the services of a professional photographer were no longer required to produce a photograph.

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French silversmith and jeweller Louis-Francois Cartier established a modest workshop in Paris in 1847. He had the good fortune to come to the notice of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte who gave him many valuable commissions, which enabled him to expand his business. Under the management of his grandsons, Pierre and Jacques, the firm moved to its present location on the Rue de la Paix in 1889.

Cartier's enjoyed the patronage of most of the royalty and nobility of Europe in the years before the First World War, opening branches in London, New York, Cannes and Monte Carlo.

In 1972 the business was purchased by a group of investors and the New York and London branches which had been sold off, were repurchased. The company was renamed "Les Must de Cartier" in 1981 and then "Vendome Luxury Group" combining it with other luxury brands including Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Karl Lagerfeld.

Cartier is now part of luxury goods company Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, based in Switzerland, but founded by South African businessman Johan Rupert.

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An ornamental panel in the form of of a shield, oval or rectangular scroll with curling edges. It may be carved into the back of a chair or the top of a sideboard, or present on a piece of silver or jewellery, and contain the initials of the original owner, heraldic symbols, or some other inscription, such as the details of a presentation.

In ceramics the term defines the central area of a vase or similar with a decorative border in one of the shapes above, into which a decorative scene or figures have been painted.

Carver Chair / Elbow Chair

A carver chair is a dining chair with arms, also called an elbow chair. They are usually made in pairs as a part of a suite of dining chairs. Presumably they got their name from the fact that the master of the house would sit in one at the head of the table while carving the joint.

Carver chairs are always larger in size, both height and width, than the equivalent side chair. A 'long' set of dining chairs that includes two carver chairs will always command a considerable price premium over a set of side chairs of the same number. Be aware that sometimes side chairs have had arms added at a later date to create carvers. In this case the giveaway is that the dimensions of the carver chairs will be the same as side chairs.


A Greek term that in architecture applies to a carved or cast female figures that acts as a column or pillar, supporting an entablature on her head.

In decorative arts , in furniture of the Renaissance and Classical Revival periods. Male figures are known as Atlantes.

Carved figures are rare on Australian furniture until the later 19th century, Australian craftsmen generally preferring to adopt the designs of the pattern books to rather more simple forms, such as scrolls or columns.

Cash Registers

A rare small early 20th century National Cash Register with embossed decoration pre-decimal Australian £ currency

The cash register was invented in 1879 by James Ritty, saloon owner in Dayton, Ohio, to keep employees from stealing from the cash drawer. In 1883, he patented a model that resembled a clock and registered amounts of money.

Soon after the patent was granted, James Ritty sold the business, and it was quickly on sold to John Patterson who renamed the company National Cash Register Company and it dominated the market for cash registers for the next 100 years, over the period diversifying into other business equipment including point-of-sale terminals, auto teller machines, cheque processing equipment, barcode scanners and small computers.

The first registers were entirely mechanical, and did not keep a record of transactions, or print receipts. The employee was required to enter every transaction, and when finished the total key was pushed, the drawer opened and a bell would ring, alerting the manager to a sale taking place.

Later improvements were a drawer to hold cash and a roll of paper to record transactions. By the early 1900s, elaborate brass cash registers were made that were works of art.

Cash registers are bought by home-makers to add a decorative piece of history to their house, by businesses as a feature in a store, and by collectors. Small cash registers are particularly sought because of their smaller footprint, otherwise value is determined by the condition, number of features and rarity of the model.

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Cassina Spa

An LC-4 chaise longue, designed in 1928 by Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, manufactured by Cassina, Italy, c.1985 chromed metal, steel, cow hide.

Cassina SpA is a furniture manufacturing company specialising in a broad range of furniture including chairs, armchairs, tables, sofas and beds by well known designer.

The company was founded by brothers Cesare and Umberto Cassina in 1927, but it was not until the 1950s that it launched industrial design in Italy and expanded in size and fame.

Designers collaborating with Cassina included Mario Bellini, Gio Ponti, Vico Magistretti, Toshiyuki Kita, Gaetano Pesce, Theodore Waddell, Hannes Wettstein, Philippe Starck, Jean-Marie Massaud, Piero Lissoni, and others.

Aiding the company's growth to the mid 1960s was the large number of commissions for cruise ships, exclusive hotels and restaurants which accounted for a great part of the company's activity right up to the mid-sixties and beyond.

In 1964 the company acquired the rights to manufacture furniture designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, the most important names of 20th century design, and a new division, the "Cassina I Maestri" (Cassina Masters) Collection was created. Rights for further designs were later acquired from Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin and in 1971 the designs of Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, and of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1972.

Cassina has its own stores in Milan, Paris, New York and Tokyo, as well as authorised distribors throughout the world.

Since 2005 Cassina has been part of the Poltrona Frau Group, founded in Turin in 1912.


An italian word for a chest or coffer. In the Renaisance period the designs were very ornate and richly carved, and may have had applied gesso or painted decoration.

They were made as marriage chests and were the contribution of the bride's parents to the wedding.

The cassone available on the market in Australia are of a later period, and do not carry the elaborate decoration of the originals.

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Cast Iron

Cast iron is produced by heating iron with a high carbon content until it liquefies, and then casting the iron into moulds of compressed sand.

Cast iron was invented in China in the 5th century BC and poured into moulds to make ploughshares and pots as well as weapons and pagodas. Although steel had been invented, was in use, and was more desirable, cast iron was cheaper and thus was more commonly used for warfare in ancient China.

In the west, cast iron did not become available until the 15th century, and its earliest uses included cannon and shot, and later, cast iron cannons, which, while heavier than the existing bronze cannons, were much cheaper to manufacture and enabled more to be produced..

Cast iron pots were made at many English blast furnaces from about the 17th century. In 1707, Abraham Darby patented a method of making pots and kettles thinner and thus cheaper than his rivals could. This meant that his Coalbrookdale furnaces became dominant as suppliers of pots, an activity in which they were joined in the 1720s and 1730s by a small number of other coke-fired blast furnaces.

The ability to manufacture lighter items led to the popularity of cast iron for furniture and garden decoration during the 19th century, of which the Coalbrookdale company was the leading exponent.

Wrought iron became very popular again in the 1920s during the Art Deco period, and its uses included chairs, firescreens, decorative lamps and legs for tables.

Wrought iron differs from cast iron in that articles made from it cannot be mass produced. Each piece must be individually made (wrought) using a hammer on an anvil and a blacksmith's forge.

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Cast Iron Door Stops

An old painted cast iron ‘Mr Punch’ door stop.

Cast iron door stops, also called "door porters", were made in large quantities during the late 19th and early 20th century, and were made in a wide range of designs.

Being cast-iron, they were quite robust and they frequently come onto the market.

A popular character for door stops was children's character "Mr. Punch", sometimes with Judy. Door stops depicting fauna are also popular, particularly with Australian animals such as the kookaburra and kangaroo.

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Casters are so-called because they ‘cast’ their contents over food. They consist of a container, usually in silver or pewter with a removable perforated top which allows for the sprinkling of condiments such as sugar, pepper and nutmeg.

Castle, Len

Born in 1924, Len Castle completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Auckland in 1946.

He was introduced to pottery at night classes while training to be a secondary school teacher.

His career path turned after he won a scholarship to study with master potter Bernard Leach in St Ives, Cornwall. During this period, recalled Castle, he absorbed a strong work ethic and became strongly drawn to the Oriental aesthetic.

Castle returned from England to a job teaching science at Auckland Teachers' College.

In 1963, he left the Teachers' College and became a professional potter, and in the same year, was instrumental in establishing the New Zealand Society of Potters.

In 1966, he won a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council fellowship, which he used to go to Japan and Hawaii. His trip cemented his love of Japanese pottery.

In 1986, Castle was made a Commander of the British Empire and in 1990, he received a New Zealand Commemorative Medal, and in 2003 was made a Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit.

Len Castle died in 2011.

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Castle-Harris, John

John Castle-Harris was born in 1893 at North Waratah, New South Wales. Harris made punched and embossed leather table-cloths, often incorporating Australian floral motifs, until he was taught pottery in Melbourne by Una Deerbon (1882-1972) in the 1930s.

He is thought to have worked in the early 1930s at the Premier Pottery at Preston, Melbourne, where some Remued Ware is modelled in his style. Later he returned to the town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, where he established his studio and worked until his death on 7 April 1967. Named John, Castle Harris was known, and signed himself, as Jack as well as hyphenating his second and surnames. Pots are signed Castle Harris without a hyphen.

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Wheels, fitted especially to chair legs, couches, tables and some smaller pieces of furniture, to enable them to be easily moved about. The earliest castors were of brass, with shanks fitting into the base of the leg, and the wheels often made of leather. In the late 18th century, brass 'bucket' or 'cup' castors were introduced, either rounded or square, fitting directly over the end of the leg and held in place with screws. The wheels were generally solid brass. Bucket/cup castors continued in use throughout the 19th century and indeed are still made today. In the later 19th century wheels were sometimes made of wood, china, either white or brown, and sometimes of steel.


Casuarina, is also known as beefwood (because of its appearance) she-oak, swamp oak, river oak, forest oak and Botany Bay wood. It is a native Australian hardwood, red brown in colour with dark flecks.


Celadon is the colour of a glaze applied to stoneware and porcelain, that in turn, has given its name to the wares to which it has been applied.

The technique can be traced back to the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC - 1046 BC) in Southern China. The technique spread other areas of China in the 3rd and 4th century, and later to South Korea, Northern Thailand and Japan.

Celadon glazes can be produced in a variety of colors, including white, grey, blue and yellow, depending on the thickness of the applied glaze, the type of clay to which it is applied, and the exact makeup of the glaze.

However, the most famous shades range in color from a very pale green to deep intense green, often meaning to mimic the green shades of jade.

The color is produced by iron oxide in the glaze recipe or clay body.

European potters found it very difficult to attain the sea green colour until the 19th century, following advances in knowledge of chemistry and several factories including Sevres, Copenhagen and Rockwood produced Western versions of the Chinese celadon.

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Celestial Globe

A celestial globe is a revolving globe which displays the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies. It is an imaginary sphere of gigantic radius, with the earth at its centre.

They are often found with a matching terrestial globe.


In 1864 an American scientist by the name of Parkes mixed camphor with nitrocellulose, etc. The result was what came to be known as "celluloid", the first form of plastic, and a product for which Parkes could find no use.

Some time later when the supplies of ivory for making billiard balls were becoming difficult to obtain, an inventor produced a perfect billiard ball from a mould using "celluloid".

Toys, dolls and other products such as combs, cutlery handles and costume jewellery made from celluloid began appearing on the market from 1913 and continued to do so until the early 1950s by which time it was superseded by more modern products due to safety concerns because of it was highly flammable and brittle product.


Popular in Victorian times, a centrepiece was designed to stand on a dining table or sideboard, and convey the theme of the gathering such as Christmas or Easter, as well as the social status of the owner.

Often very elaborately made, they can take many forms, including epergnes, sculpture, multi basket containers for fruit or sweetmeats, and large bowls.

They have been made in a variety of materials including glass, ceramics, silver, silverplate and bronze.

Centrepiece is also the name given to the central feature of an item of jewellery such as a necklace or bracelet.

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Chaise Longue

A French term meaning literally 'long chair'. Originally made in two or three sections, chaise longue now means a couch with a rolled upholstered end and a back which does not extend the whole length of the piece. The chaise took many forms, from the Grecian designs of the Classical Revival, with sabre legs and scrolled arms, to the more massive productions of the later Victorian period. The Victorian nine-piece drawing room suite would usually include a chaise longue, a gentleman's chair, lady's chair, and six drawing room chairs, usually of the balloon-back type.


Stricktly speaking, a cup on a stem, usually made of precious metal, and used to hold the wine used to celebrate the Eucharist in the Christian church. The term is also loosely applied to any elaborate metal cup on a stem.

Chamber Stick

Chambersticks consist of a central socket for the candle, mounted on a circular or rectangular tray, and were intended for use in rooms that were usually unoccupied such as the bedroom, or for moving between rooms. The earlier chamber sticks had a slot in the candle socket for ejecting the spent candle, and a bracket or support for holding a cone shaped candle extinguisher. For carrying, the earlier chamber sticks of the 18th century had or a long saucepan style handle. In the 19th century they usually had a ring or half-ring handle, which sometimes included a support for the snuffer.


An enamelling technique in which the pattern is formed by scooping depressions into the metal surface to be decorated, each of which will contain a single colour, added in powder form and then fired until the enamel melts. When the item has cooled, the surface is polished sothat the enamel is flush with the metal surface. The uncarved sections of the surface remain visible, framing the enamel design.

In technique, champleve differs from cloisonne where the troughs are created by soldering metal strips to the surface of the item.


Strictly speaking, a chandelier is any multi-branch ceiling light.

But what we understand in popular usage as a chandelier today - a grand ceiling light fitting with many lights and multiple crystal prisms - is the result of a long evolutionary process of this type of light.

Originally made in wood as a cross with spikes on which to fix the candles, they were able to be lowered for lighting, and then hoisted to a suitable height by means of a pulley.

From the 15th century they were made in a wider variety of materials including brass, wrought iron, gilded wood and silver.

By the 18th century, developments in glassmaking allowed for the introduction of prisms in their manufacture, because of their light scattering properties.

An elaborate chandelier was a status symbol of the wealthy in the 18th and 19th century and materials now used included bronze and porcelain. Manufacturers of the crystal prisms included famous names in glassmaking such as Baccarat and Waterford.

Prestigious English manufacturers of the time included Parker & Perry, of Fleet Street, F.& C. OSLER of London and Birmingham and Maydwell and Windle.

Chanel, Coco

Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) opened a millinery shop in Paris in 1909 and went on to launch her own couture houses in Paris, Deauville and Biarritz. From humble origins, she became one of the greatest icons of fashion in the 20th century.

The creator of the little black dress and Chanel No. 5, Chanel pioneered a new style of women’s clothes, combining simplicity and comfort with elegance, to create an unmistakable style which had a great influence over the fashions of the 1920s and 30s.

Her innovations in costume jewellery were introduced through her Paris salon, where she opened a boutique specializing in accessories and jewellery.

Instead of copying the style of fine jewellery, her costume jewellery was designed specifically to reflect the elegant simplicity of her clothes and to compliment and ‘finish’ an outfit.

The simple but effective use of multiple strings of faux pearls with a black pullover epitomises this style. Other key pieces for Chanel include gold tone chains, pate-de-verre jewellery from Maison Gripoix and classic Maltese cross cuffs designed by Verdura.

Chanel closed her business when she was exiled to Switzerland during World War II, following her affair with a Nazi officer.

She re-invented the Chanel brand throughout the 1950s and into 1960s, working with designer Robert Goossens, producing long, rosary style necklaces, with chains of pearls and beads, and Maltese cross brooches decorated with glass cabochons in her signature colours of red and green.

In the mid 1950s the House of Chanel introduced leather handbags with metal and leather chains, which allowed carrying the handbag from the shoulder or in hand, and later, quilted-leather handbags.

After the death of Coco Chanel in 1971, control of the company passed to the Wertheimer family who had been shareholders and partners in the business since the late 1920s.

In the 1990s the company diversified into other luxury goods, including watches, sunglasses, all types of clutches and bags, and affordable jewellery.

As of the present time, Chanel S.A., known as the House of Chanel, is a French private company, that remains in the ownership of billionaires Gerard and Alain Wertheimer.

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Chapter Ring

A separate metal plate on the face of a clock, on which the numerals are displayed,, usually wheel shaped and sitting on top of the dial plate.

Character Doll

A character doll was originally one with an expressive face, especially gazing, laughing, crying or pouting, but the description has been extended to include any doll with a natural looking face..


An oversize dish or plate in ceramic, silver, or pewter primarily made for display, but able to be used for serving at the table or on a sideboard.


An oversize dish or plate in ceramic, silver, or pewter primarily made for display, but able to be used for serving at the table or on a sideboard.


An oversize dish or plate in ceramic, silver, or pewter primarily made for display, but able to be used for serving at the table or on a sideboard.

Charles Allerton & Sons

Charles Allerton & Sons was founded at Longton, Staffordshire in 1859 by Charles Allerton and was continued after his death in 1863 by his four sons. The company continued manufacturing until 1942. Although it was taken over in 1912 by Cauldon Potteries Ltd. the Allerton brand continued after this under the company name of Allertons Ltd.

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The method of decorating gold and silver objects using a punch and hammer so that the design appears in relief.

Flat or surface chasing is done from the front giving the item definition, but not cutting into the metal.

Chasing is the opposite technique to repousse, but an object that has repousse work, may then have chasing applied to create a finished piece.


Originating in the 17th century as a device for suspending seals, by the late 18th century the chatelaine had evolved to become a major item of jewellery, worn from the waist, to which a variety of small implements, cases, and containers could be attached.

It took the form of a metal shield or plate fitted with a hook at the top to attach it to a belt, with a number of hooks at the bottom from which hung a number of short chains.

The objects attached to those chains covered the full gamut of household and personal activities and depending on the station of the wearer, could typically include about 4 to 6 from the following selection: sewing scissors, a scent bottle, keys, a spectacles case, a seal, a sovereign case, a vinaigrette, a vesta case, a pin holder, a snuff bottle, a tape measure, a thimble and a notebook.

Again depending on the station of the wearer , materials used included gold, sterling silver and silverplate.

Nowadays it is common for single items from the chatelaine to come onto the market.

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Chest of Drawers

Until the mid-19th century, the standard chest had either four long, or three long and two short drawers. Rarely were there any exceptions to this rule. A chest with three drawers, or a series of small upper drawers, purporting to be Georgian, will probably have been converted from a chest-on-chest or tallboy. It is true that the 18th century commode often contain two long deep drawers, but this was a much grander and more decorative piece altogether, intended for drawing rooms, not bedrooms, and in any case was usually made to stand on legs. The standard chest of drawers continued to be made throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries (some Edwardian pine chests even had bracket feet), but variations were introduced during the mid-Victorian period, with some chests having seven or more drawers usually a deep hat drawer and smaller glove compartments. Chests with barley-sugar twist or split bobbin-turned supports date from the mid-19th century.

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A double-height item of furniture consisting of a chest of drawers placed on top of another chest. The lower section usually contains three drawers, the upper section having three or four long and maybe three shorter drawers across the top.

The upper section sometimes has canted corners and a fairly substantial cornice. The drawers on most chests made until at least the mid-19th century were generally graduated that is, the upper drawers were quite shallow, the lower drawers becoming proportionately much deeper.

Also known as a tallboy in England and Australia.


A substantial double-ended couch, usually button upholstered in leather, intended for smoking rooms, clubs and large sitting rooms. They date from the later 19th century, and are the forerunner of the modern deeply buttoned leather lounge suites, that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. However the Victorian examples have a visible and often ornate frame, usually in mahogany.

Cheval Mirror

A long dressing mirror supported on a timber stand, the angle of which is able to be adjusted with thumbscrews. On the earlier Victorian examples, the mirror supports were sometimes fitted with candle brackets. The heavier and more stylistically confused they are, the later they are likely to be.


An Australian Colonial cedar chiffonier, made in NSW, circa 1845 by Joseph Sly.

An early 19th century innovation, chiffoniers continued to be made virtually until the end of the Victorian period. It usually consists of a two-door cupboard, with a long cutlery drawer and a shaped back, with one or two shelves, supported by spindles for ornaments and such like.

Regency chiffoniers were quite small and delicate, with the doors often decorated with pleated silk behind brass grilles. The backs were usually square, sometimes with a triangular pediment, although from the 1820s they often featured the carved Regency scroll.

Many Australian cedar versions have simple Doric columns and recessed panelled doors. Victorian chiffoniers tended to take on the characteristics of the Rococo revival with a notable increase in carved ornament and scrollwork around the serpentine-shaped backs, and the size became more substantial. Some were of breakfront design.

During the later part of the 19th century, they tended to supplant the sideboard in many dining rooms. While some early chiffoniers had marble tops, usually white in colour, most available on the Australian market have solid timber tops.

Chinese Chippendale

Chippendale style furniture, inspired by his book, 'The Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director' published in 1754, employing chiefly straight lines with Chinese motif decoration such faux bamboo turnings, blind fretwork, lattice and sometimes decorated with Chinese style painting.

The fashion continued during the Regency period, as can be seen at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, and into the 19th century.

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Furniture and decorative items decorated in imitation of a Western interpretation of the Chinese style. The Chinoiserie style first became popular in the late 17th century, though there were frequent revivals, notably by Chippendale (hence 'Chinese Chippendale') during the Regency period, and the Anglo-Japanese style in the second half of the 19th century.

The ubiquitous 'willow pattern' is the most common 'Chinese' theme used in porcelain, while on furniture the Chinoiserie style usually has black or red painted and lacquered decoration, though the hallmark of the furniture style is the use of fretwork in geometrical patterns, pagodas and other decorative forms.

Japonaiseries, as the name implies, are motifs in imitation of the Japanese taste.

See also "Chinese Chippendale".

Chip Carving

Chip carving is a technique of carving associated with folk-art furniture, in which the chisel is used to remove a chip from the surface of an item in a single piece, leaving a geometric pattern on the surface.

Chiparus, Demetre

A patinated bronze and ivory figure, Hindu dancer, the standing female figure with arms raised, dressed in an exotic costume and headdress, signed D. H. Chiparus to the veined black marble base.

Romanian-born Demetre Chiparus (1888 – 1950) studied in Italy from 1909 with Raffaello Romanelli and from 1912 in Paris under Antonin Mercie and Jean Boucher and exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Francais sporadically from 1914 to 1928.

Chiparus developed the technique of chryselephantine bronze, (usually a bronze body with ivory face, hands and feet), pioneered in Belgium at the turn of the century, and gave it its peculiar Art Deco character.

He initially produced numerous figures and small groups of children, principally girls, their features carved in ivory set into the bronze, gilded and enamelled. In his later period from the 1920s, as he became more famous, his most notable output were depictions of various dancers in the Art Deco style, leading to huge commercial success.

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Probably the only household name in antique furniture, taking the last name of Thomas Chippendale, a furniture London cabinet maker and furniture designer who published a book of his designs, titled 'The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director' in 1754.

The designs in the book reflected the current London fashion for furniture for that period, and were used by other cabinet makers outside London.

Very little of the furniture described as 'Chippendale' can be actually traced to Chippendale's workshop, and if it can, the value of the items is greatly increased. Certainty of manufacture by Chippendale would require an invoice from the time, together with a history of the item since manufacture.

In fact most 'Chippendale' furniture that comes onto the market was made at a later date following in various degrees the designs from his 'Director', as the popularity of Chippendale designs has continued through to the present time. The name 'Chippendale' has become a generic term for furniture in the style associated with him and sometimes in later examples, the style bears little resemblance to the designs in the 'Director'

Chippendale was also an interior designer who advised on soft furnishings and colours and his aristocratic commissions included Blair Castle Perthshire for the Duke of Atholl, Harewood House Yorkshire for Edwin Lascelles and Petworth House Sussex for the 3rd Earl of Egremont. In all 26 of these commission have been identified and furniture from Chippendale's workshop can be identified in these houses.

Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) was born in Yorkshire and appears to have come to London about 1745. he was in partnership with James Rannie, a cabinetmaker from about 1753 until Rannie's death in 1766, and then with Thomas Haig from 1771. At the time the partnership was formed, Chippendale is recorded as employing 22 cabinetmakers in his workshop.

Following Chippendale's death in 1771, his son Thomas Chippendale II took over his share of the business and continued the partnership with Haig until 1796. Thomas Chippendale II opened showrooms in the Haymarket, London, and then moved to Jermyn Street in 1821. Thomas Chippendale II died in 1823.

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Chocolate Pot

In 1521, during the conquest of Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors discovered cacao seeds, from which cocoa and cocoa butter, the basis for chocolate, are extracted. They took them back home to Spain, where new recipes were developed. About 100 years later, the drink spread throughout Europe and the Europeans began adding sugar and cream to their hot chocolate.

Chocolate pots were popular between about 1700 and 1800, and in style similar to a coffee pot , except that they included a small additonal secondary lid attached to the main lid, so that a rod called a molinet could be inserted into the pot to stir the chocolate before pouring. The handle is often set at right angles to the spout to facilitate pouring, and like a tea or coffee pot, may be insulated from the body of the pot.

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Christmas Cards

With the establishment of the public postal service in 1840, the first 'Penny Post' postal deliveries began. Before that, only the very wealthy could afford to send articles by post. The new Post Office was able to offer a Penny stamp because new railways that could carry larger quantities of freight, were being built.

Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant was very interested in the new public postal service, and he is credited with originating the idea of Christmas cards in order to make use of the new postal service.

Cards could be mailed for half a penny, half the price of an ordinary letter, and as printing methods improved they were produced in large numbers from 1860.

The idea spread gradually to other countries and, by 1890, the volume of Christmas cards had reached such proportions that postal administrations had to make special arrangements for the handling of such mail.

The first cards usually had pictures of the Nativity scene on them. In late Victorian times, robins and snow-scenes became popular. There was a fashion for elaborate cards, composed of scraps, silk vignettes and lace ribbons, in the later 1800s and then the fashion moved to novelty cards with pop-up pictures or animated devices. From 1900 up to the First World War, Christmas cards in the form of picture postcards were fashionable. Floral compositions or real photographs of very young children were favourite subjects.


A chronograph is a watch that also incorporates the features of a stopwatch, to measure elapsed time. Most chronographs are operated by two buttons, one to start and stop the chronograph second hand, and the other to return that hand to the starting position.


Sometimes used as a decoration on clocks, chronos, also known as "Father Time", is the Greek god of time. He is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, winged and wearing a robe or loin-cloth, and with a scythe or sickle, and hourglass. It has been said the Chronos was derived from the Greek god of agriculture, Cronus, and the Greeks confused their word for time, "chronos", with their god of agriculture who had a sickle as an attribute..


Art Deco Chryselephantine female dancer on onyx lamp base, signed F Rigaud

Chryselephantine is not a name for a single material or substance. Originally, chryselephantine was the name given to sculptures made from gold and ivory, a technique in use since the second millenium BC.

The word was derived from a combination of the Greek words for "gold" and "ivory".

Due to the high value of some of the materials used and the perishable nature of others, most chryselephantine statues were destroyed during antiquity and the Middle Ages.

However "chryselephantine" is now used to describe a statue, usually from the Art Nouveau period in which the skin is represented by ivory, and the clothing and other items in the statue are made from another material, most commonly bronze.

A more common way to describe a statue made from these materials would simply be as a "bronze and ivory" [figure].

Other materials used included marble, onyx and silver.

Cigarette Cases

Pocket cigarette cases evolved from the leather containers for cigars which first became popular in the mid-nineteenth century. As cigarette smoking gradually overtook cigar smoking, pocket cigarette cases in leather or papier mache often decorated with floral motifs or geometric patterns became popular.

After 1900, however, pocket cigarette cases of an all-metal construction came into fashion.

The metal pocket cigarette cases were most frequently made of silver and gold, and plated versions of these metals, and offered greater scope to the designers and craftsmen and soon enamelling, filigree work, guilloche engraving and other decorative techniques could be found decorating cigarette cases.

As well as gold and silver, pocket cigarette cases were made in ivory, wood, Lucite, pewter.

A lerger version of the cigarette case evolved to sit on a desk or sideboard. Many of these were silver boxes, lined with timber. A popular form was the miniature AWA radio table cigarette box, in various colours of Bakelite. Others were made of wood and ceramics.

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Cigarette Lighters

An Elkington & Co silver plate table cigar lighter, in the form of elephant and mahout with elaborate embroidered saddle cloth and howdah on an oval base with casters

Cigarette lighters can be subdivided into three types: pocket lighters, table lighters and compact lighters with cases.

Dunhill is the most popular and desirable name for collectors. Their first lighter was released in the early 1920s and they are still producing today.

Other collectable manufacturers are Ronson, who have been making lighters for over 100 years and invented the automatic lighter in 1926, and Zippo, which was founded in 1932.

Lighter collectors should look for inset watches or concealed features such as compacts.

Early lighters were powered by naphtha, a petroleum mixture, and these are more desirable than the butane gas lighters, that were introduced in the late 1940s.

Lighters made from precious materials, often by jewelers, or those in novelty shapes such as aeroplanes and animals are popular. Wear to plating or loss of parts of covering will affect value detrimentally, as will dents or splits. Replaced parts will also affect value.


Technically speaking, cinnabar is an intense deep red colouring agent that has been in use for thousands of years, derived from crystalised red mercuric suphide. It is made into a coating by grinding ore into a fine powder then mixing the powder with lacquer made from the sap of the Rhus tree, which grows in East Asia.

As applied to Oriental antiques, cinnabar refers to successive layers of laquer applied to the metal base of an object. Once the coating has dried and hardened, a further layer is applied. The layers continue to be applied until the thickness is 3 to 6 mm, and this may take up to 200 to 300 coats. At this stage, the surface is ready for the carving, that is characteristic of cinnabar items.

Because of the labour required, cinnabar items are usually small, such as vases, boxes, trays and snuff bottles.

However buyers should be aware that the cinnabar technique has been copied using modern plastic type materials that are moulded rather than carved. A close examination of a genuine cinnabar item under a strong magnifying glass or jewellers loupe should show evidence of the many layers that make up its thickness, and possibly tool marks left by the carver.


A Latin term meaning 'about', often used in the antique trade to give an approximate date for the piece, usually considered to be five years on either side of the circa year. Thus, circa 1900 means the piece was made about 1900, probably between 1895 and 1905. The expression is sometimes abbreviated to c.1900.

Circle of .....

In the opinion of the cataloguers, a work of the period of the artist, and closely related in that person's style.

Circle of ......

In the opinion of the cataloguers, a work of the period of the artist, and closely related in that person's style.

Claret and Wine Jugs

Although wine had been decanted into jugs for centuries, claret and wine jugs, also known as wine ewers as we know them today, are a product of the Victorian era, first making an appearance in the late 1830s.

In the early 19th century the technique of glass manufacturing was developing, and instead of being delivered in casks, wine was now able to be bottled in uniform sized and shaped glass bottles at the end of the production process.

For presentation purposes on the dining table, the more formal claret jug was preferred over that of the factory produced bottle, and as the industrial revolution progressed, the increasing wealth of the upper and middle class led to increasing demand for claret jugs.

Some claret jugs are all silver, but the majority have a glass container with silver, silver plate or gilt mounts forming the top including the pouring spout and the handle.

The bowls of most claret jugs are clear glass, sometimes with engraved decoration with the vine being a common theme, which was often carried through to the shape of the handle. Other examples have wheel cut decoration with a hobnail cut or other geometric variation on this theme. However examples in coloured glass such as ruby, green, amethyst and blue are sometimes seen on the market, as well as rarer examples in cameo glass such as those by Thomas Webb & Co.

The simplest and most common shape of the bowls of claret jugs is of a tapering cylinder or a concave sided cylinder, but overall the range of shapes was only limited by the glass blower's imagination and the practicality of the shape.

Amongst the most collectable claret jugs are those made by London silversmith Alexander Crichton from the late 1870s. Based on the drawings of animals and birds in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" Crichton created a series of whimsical designs including walrus, dodo, fish, squirrel, owls and penguin. Some of the Crichton jugs bear the hallmark of William Leuchars, a silver dealer with premises in London. Crichton had patented his designs and Leuchars purchased the rights to some of the designs.

The most famous silver claret jug is simply known as the "Claret Jug" and is awarded to the winner of the British Open golfing championship. It was first awarded in 1872 and this jug had the winner's name engraved on it until 1927, when a replacement was introduced which is used to the present day. As well as having his name engraved on the jug, the winner receives a replica of the jug to keep.

The peak period of popularity for claret jugs was 1840 to 1900 although they continued to be made in small numbers to the present time.

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Claw Feet

Carved or cast in the shape of a lion's claw or the talons of other more fabulous beasts. They may be found on chair and table legs, supporting platform bases, and cabinets in the Classical Revival manner. Claw feet are not uncommon on Australian furniture made throughout the 1850s and 1860s, though, as with all forms of carving, the deeper and richer the claws are carved, the earlier the piece is likely to be.

Clerk's Desk

An interesting Australian 19th century cedar clerk's desk the gallery top rail above sloped top with book support and three drawers with and turned legs

A sloped writing desk, sometimes with a hinged lid, on tall legs, at which a clerk could either stand or sit on a high chair.

Many Australian country versions are to be found in pine, where they were often used in the shearing sheds to keep the 'tallies'.

Cliff, Clarice

Clarice Cliff, 'Bizarre' vase, model 362 in 'Orange Battle' print, printed factory marks on base. Height 20.5 cm

The life story of English potter and designer Clarice Cliff, (1899-1972) is a real-life rags-to riches story. Clarice was born in the potteries area in Tunstall, Staffordshire in 1899, and her father was an iron moulder, while her mother took in washing.

She attended school until age 13 and then left to work in a lowly paid job in the potteries. At that time the potteries were the major employers of women in the North Staffordshire and at the time she commenced work there were over 20,000 women employed.

The jobs for women ranged from being assistants to the men who threw the pots, to the less menial but repetitive task of painting prescribed designs onto clay blanks.

After 10 years, and a several of changes of employer, she had learned a number of trades and mastered the techniques of gilding, enamelling, lithography and design.

At the age of 17 Clarice Cliff was working for the Royal Staffordshire Pottery owned by A J Wilkinson owned by the Shorter family. and at this time the firm's pattern books begin to credit her as the designer of some of the items illustrated in the books.

She attended evening classes at Burslem School of Art from 1924-1925 and studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1927, but returned after only a few months to set up a small studio in Wilkinson's Newport Pottery, decorating traditional white-ware.

In 1927/8 a market testing of 60 dozen pieces of "Bizarre Ware", using reject stocks of sub-standard whiteware, and masking the blemishes with highly coloured decoration was organised by Colley Shorter.

Wilkinson's salesmen were shocked by the extreme boldness of the Clarice Cliff designs and further astonished by the rapidity with which they sold. Handpainted Bizarre, the name chosen by Colley Shorter, the managing director of Wilkinson's, to cover the whole range, was launched.

She then produced her most famous and popular design, ‘Crocus’, which features flowers between brown and yellow bands. From then, all Cliff’s ware was stamped with: Hand Painted Bizarre by Clarice Cliff, Newport Pottery, England . Cliff then designed modern shapes; the 1929 ‘Conical’ range consists of cone-shaped bowls, vases and teaware, with triangular handles or feet, decorated with sunbursts and lightning flashes; the 1930 ‘Stamford’ teapot has flat sides and angular edges

In 1930 she was made Art Director of A. J Wilkinson, and by 1931 Clarice Cliff was supervising a workforce of up to 1000 at the Newport Pottery, with 150 boys and girls

In 1940, following the death of his first wife, Clarice Cliff married Colley Shorter. Her designing career ended with her marriage and World War II, during which time there was a ban on decorated china, and she retired to live in Shorter's Arts & Craft mansion in the Staffordshire countryside.

Her husband died in 1963 and the following year she sold the business to Midwinter Pottery, a company established in the 1950s, and became a recluse.

Her death in 1972 was unexpected.

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Cloisonne is an enamelling technique in which the pattern is formed by wires soldered to the surface of the object to be decorated, which is usually made from copper, forming cells or cloisons, each of which holds a single colour of enamel paste which is then fired, and ground and polished.

The champleve technique also uses an enamelling technique, but the cells are formed by carving into the surface ot the object, or in the casting.

The cloisonne technique has been in use since the 12th century BC in the west, but the technique did not reach China until the 13th or 14th century. It became popular in China in the 18th century. Initially bronze or brass bodies were used, and in the 19th century copper, at which time the quality of th eitems produced began to decline.

Chinese cloisonné is the best known enamel cloisonné, though the Japanese produced large quantities from the mid-19th century, of very high technical quality.

In the west the cloisonne technique was revived in the mid 19th century following imports from China, and its use continued in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods.

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Close Plate

Generally made in Birmingham in the 18th century and the first half of 19th century, close plate consists of silver foil soldered onto a steel base that had been dipped into tin, and was used for items such as candle snuffers, knife blades, buckles and spurs requiring greater strength than fused plate. With advances in technology, the process was obsolete by the mid 19th century.

Clothes Press

Also known as a gentleman's wardrobe. A double-heightened piece, in fashion before the wardrobe with hanging space. The lower section consists usually of three long, or two long and two half drawers. The upper section has blind-panelled cupboard doors, with the interior fitted with three or more sliding open drawers. Many presses have been converted into bookcases or china cabinets, with the addition of glazing bars and shelves. Frequently the sliding drawers in the upper section have been removed to provide hanging space. Clothes presses continued to be made until the mid-19th century, and notable Australian examples in cedar sometimes bearing the trade labels of makers such as Andrew Lenehan turn up on the market from time to time.

Coalbrookdale Company

The Coalbrookdale Company was founded in 1709 by Abraham Darby, who was originally involved in the making of brass pots and began experiments in 1707 that finally led to the patent for casting iron bellied pots in dry sand and in particular, to the art of casting them in thin section.

He leased a furnace at Coalbrookdale, and from there the company expanded rapidly to meet demand for its castings and forgings. Additonal furnaces were established locally and in surrounding towns, and by about 1750 the company was the largest in England.

Coalbrookdale had a growing reputation among engineers, and by 1778 the Company had cast more than 100 steam cylinders and many complete engines, including Boulton and Watt engines, under licence.

At this time the company commenced building the world's first cast iron bridge, completed in 1781, and which gained Abraham Darby III (grandson of the founder) the Gold Medal of the Society of Arts in 1790.

In the 1840s, the company was in the hands of Francis Darby, the son of Abraham Darby III, and it began developing lines of decorative furniture. Due to the strength and resistance to rust when painted, cast iron was an ideal material for outdoor furniture and decorative items.

Once the moulds had been manufactured, it could mass produced, making it more economical than wrought iron furniture which had to be individually made.

Coalbrookdale furniture was designed in a variety of styles, in line with that of furniture fashions of the times, including Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, Rococo. Ornate and often lavishly detailed decoration of fruit, vines, ferns, leaves, and floral motifs were especially popular.

Garden seats are amongst the firm's most best-known items, either with wooden or cast iron seat slats.

Coalbrookdale items made during the 19th-century usually have a cast indented 'Coalbrookdale' or 'C-B Dale Co.' and often a date lozenge, a kite or diamond shaped mark indicating the year the design (for that item) was registered. Often these markings are difficult to make out due to the build up of successive layers of paint over the years.

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Coalbrookdale Company

The Coalbrookdale Company was founded in 1709 by Abraham Darby, who was originally involved in the making of brass pots and began experiments in 1707 that finally led to the patent for casting iron bellied pots in dry sand and in particular, to the art of casting them in thin section.

He leased a furnace at Coalbrookdale, and from there the company expanded rapidly to meet demand for its castings and forgings. Additonal furnaces were established locally and in surrounding towns, and by about 1750 the company was the largest in England.

Coalbrookdale had a growing reputation among engineers, and by 1778 the Company had cast more than 100 steam cylinders and many complete engines, including Boulton and Watt engines, under licence.

At this time the company commenced building the world's first cast iron bridge, completed in 1781, and which gained Abraham Darby III (grandson of the founder) the Gold Medal of the Society of Arts in 1790.

In the 1840s, the company was in the hands of Francis Darby, the son of Abraham Darby III, and it began developing lines of decorative furniture. Due to the strength and resistance to rust when painted, cast iron was an ideal material for outdoor furniture and decorative items.

Once the moulds had been manufactured, it could mass produced, making it more economical than wrought iron furniture which had to be individually made.

Coalbrookdale furniture was designed in a variety of styles, in line with that of furniture fashions of the times, including Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, Rococo. Ornate and often lavishly detailed decoration of fruit, vines, ferns, leaves, and floral motifs were especially popular.

Garden seats are amongst the firm's most best-known items, either with wooden or cast iron seat slats.

Coalbrookdale items made during the 19th-century usually have a cast indented 'Coalbrookdale' or 'C-B Dale Co.' and often a date lozenge, a kite or diamond shaped mark indicating the year the design (for that item) was registered. Often these markings are difficult to make out due to the build up of successive layers of paint over the years.

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Coasters were intended to hold bottles or decanters of wine at the dinner table, and act as a recepticle to cash drips and ribbles on the foot of the wine container. As wine contains achohol, and residual liquid remaining on the base could damage the top of the table, more so if the table had a French polished surface. if the table had a cloth, the wine could leave a permanent stain.

On a table without a cloth, the felt base also allowed them to be slid from one guest to the next along the top of the table.

Made of silver or silverplate, they usually have a turned hardwood base, sometimes with a central silver boss, and usually covered in green baize on bottom.

The sides are usually cast or pierced, often with vine leaves, grapes and tendrils incororated into the design.

It is quite common for them to be available in pairs

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Cock Beading

A thin, slightly rounded timber moulding, projecting about 2mm around the edges of a drawer. It was introduced in the early 18th century, essentially to protect the veneer on the drawer-fronts from damage, though the decorative possibilities of cock beading were soon realized. The device continued to be used well into the 19th century. Cock beading is either glued or pinned to the upper and lower lips of a drawer and into shallow rebates on each side. The joints are neatly mitred, and crude butt joints should therefore be treated with suspicion.

Coconut Cups

Possibly one of the earliest types of cups standing on a stem or base, coconut cups are formed from the shell of the coconut, with a silver rim, and silver stem and foot, or multiple feet.

They were fashionable rarities in Western Europe in the late 15th century and throughout the 16th century. They again became fashionable in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which is the period of those coming onto the market at the present time.

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Coffee Pots

Before the invention of the dripolator, percolator and the expresso machine, the roasted and ground coffee beans were placed in a pot, and hot water was added, to infuse the water with the coffee. After the coffee had brewed it was ready for pouring, a similar process to that used to make tea now.

It was not until the invention of the percolator in the late 19th century, that use of the coffee pot began to decline.

From the early 18th century to the end of the 19th century, coffee pots were produced in silver, silver plate and by most of the major ceramics producers who produced dinnerware, including Wedgwood, Royal Worcester and Belleek.

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Coffee Table

A popular 20th century innovation, so any 'antique' coffee table you see will be an antique table that has been reduced in height to make a low convenient piece for those customers who insist on one. 'Antique' coffee tables are also made up from an antique tray mounted on a specially made stand, or a blanket chest.

Cold Painted

This is term applied to so-called "Vienna bronzes" manufactured in that city starting in late part of the 19th century, and it continued in the early 20th century, but was also used by sculptors working in other areas of Europe at the time..

Traditionally bronzes are finished by treating them with various acids and chemicals and heats, and the patina is incorporated into the surface of the piece.

A cold-painted bronze is decorated with oil paints. The color was not fired, hence the term "cold painted". Reputedly the painting was carried out mainly by women working at home, a typical cottage industry.


A collier is wide necklace that encircles the neck from the collar bone to the chin, and as such is usually of shorter length than a conventional necklace.

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A Royal Doulton figure of 'Columbine'

Columbine is a character from the Italian commedia dell'arte, a form of theatre typified by characters wearing masks, and acting out unscripted performances. There are corresponding characters in French and Spanish theatre.

Columbine is the mistress of Harlequin, and the wife of Pierrot.


An architectural feature sometimes used for decorative effect and sometimes as part of the supporting construction. Columns should generally taper slightly towards the top. They may be plain or decorated with carving, fluting or reeding. Columns may be fully rounded or, more commonly, half-rounded and attached with glue, screws or pins to the outer stiles of doors, or the facing uprights on cabinets and bureaux.

Colza Lamps

Colza oil is a vegetable oil produced from rape seeds. It was used for domestic lighting in Europe before the invention of kerosene. It was used in both Argand lamps, and Carcel lamps, but is more associated with the Cancel lamp.

The Argand lamp was invented and patented in 1780 by Frenchman Aimé Argand (1750 – 1803). Because of the weight of the oil, the reservoir was mounted above the burner, and the wick was supplied with fuel by a gravity feed.

This was a major disadvantage of the lamp as a shadow was cast behind the reservoir.

The Carcel lamp was invented by the French watchmaker Bernard Guillaume Carcel (1750–1818) to overcome the disadvantage of the Argand lamp. He invented a clockwork mechanism that that drove a small pump in the tank that fed the Colza oil from a reservoir below the burner.

Both the Argand lamp and Carcel lamp were superseded when kerosene became available as a fuel for lamps.

Kerosene had been invented in 1846 by Canadian Abraham Pineo Gesner (1797 –1864). His research into minerals resulted the development of a process to refine a liquid fuel from coal, bitumen and oil shale. His new discovery, which he named kerosene, burned more cleanly and was less expensive than competing products such as whale oil, colza and olive oil.

Kerosene also produced a whiter flame, and as it had a lower viscosity than the oils previously used, it could easily travel up a wick, eliminating the need for complicated mechanisms to feed the fuel to the burner.

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Commemorative Ware

A rare large Crown Devon musical jug commemorating the Coronation of King George VI.

Commemorative ware comprises items that are made to commemorate an event within a short time, before or after its occurrence.

Manufacturers have never been slow to exploit the commercial possibilities afforded by the tourist trade, or by events of national or even local interest, and souvenirs and commemorative ware offer the collector a wide and varied field.

Although commemorative pottery was known to exist from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the industry really got under way with the invention of transfer printing in the 1750s. George Ill's jubilee in 1809, the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817, and George IV's coronation, were among the earliest events to be commemorated on a large scale by the ceramics industry.

Thereafter coronations, royal weddings, births, jubilees, etc have all been memorialised on china. In the Victorian period commemorative wares were produced in ceramic, glass, wood, papier-mache, stone, metal, ivory, and many other materials.

Much commemorative ware is based on important events - coronations, weddings, anniversaries, visits - in the lives of the British Royal family. There were wares made for the coronation of Edward VI in 1902, and in 1935 there was a great commemorative burst for the silver jubilee of George V and Queen Mary. When George VI and Queen Elizabeth were crowned in 1937 there were at least six 'only authentic' souvenir booklets, quite apart from the official guides. There were also pencils in red, white and blue, bearing tiny pictures of the King and Queen or the Union Jack in paper, hats, flags, lapel pins, brooches, cufflinks, models of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, diaries, tablemats, napkin rings, spoons, and ashtrays. The romance and subsequent marriage of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981 produced a spate of commemorative ware, as did the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

Doulton & Co were one of the major producers of ceramic items. Other producers in this category include Moorcroft, Pratt , Royal Winton, Aynsley and Paragon. Staffordshire potteries poured out a stream of commemoratives.

With Australia being a member of the Commonwealth, many of these items found their way here, and many of these items can still be found, although the articles made of paper are scarce.

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The word "commode" when used to describe an item of furniture, has three usuages:

1. As used to describe an item of English furniture, it refers to what is euphemistically called a 'night table', that is a small cabinet concealing a chamber pot.

2. In its 18th century French usuage it describes a low and highly decorated chest of drawers for salons and reception rooms. A bombe commode is a commode with rounded sides and front, giving the chest a somewhat swollen look.

3. It is also used to denote a half round or serpentine shaped cabinet, with panelled doors, standing on legs. They were pieces on which the cabinetmaker lavished his most accomplished art, with rich veneers, marquetry inlays, gilt mounts and other ornamentation.

Commode Chair

A George III mahogany commode chair, the shaped front and side panels concealing the chamber pot.

In common usage, commode is another rather more polite term for an item of furniture concealing a chamber pot. Commode chairs were and are still used by the elderly or infirm.

They resemble armchairs, but are distinguished by a removable wooden seat and a deep apron at the front to hide the pot. Also made as commode stools, in the form of a square box with hinged lid concealing the pot, with a lower section sliding out as a footrest.

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A cone finial on a silver jug.

A popular decorative motif based on the shape of the pine cone, and used in silver ceramics and furniture. Because of its shape it is most suitable for use as a finial.

Console Table

A giltwood console table and mirror with green variegated marble top, extensively carved, with two front legs and wall fixing brackets to the back.

Similar in design and function to a pier table, a console table is a side table supported on legs or scrolled brackets at the front, with the back secured to the wall.

Usually surmounted with a tall mirror, they were made to stand in the piers or divisions between the windows of a drawing room.

Later Victorian versions were often freestanding on a platform base, with straight rear supports to enable the table to stand flat against the wall.

Console tables usually had marble tops. Potential purchasers should be aware that many converted marble top washstands are now marketed as 'console tables' or hall tables.

Contact Period

As applied to New Zealand Maori artifacts, the artefact dates from the 1790s to the 1840s


In marquetry work, when two sheets of material are temporarily held together, and then a design is cut out, there are two versions of the design, the original, known as the partie, and the design remaining, known as the contrepartie.

Usually the contrasting designs, say it is a door panel, are used on a first and second object, so that while the pattern matches, the materisl do not.

Conway Stewart

In 1905 Conway Stewart was established in East London to manufacture fountain pens. Around 1919, Conway Stewart began producing lever filling fountain pens in which ink was sucked into the sack by using a metal lever in the barrel. Their designs were aimed mainly at clerical workers and students and were therefore often bright and inventive. Although they produced pens with alternative filling systems, the bulk of sales remained lever fillers.

During the 1920s and ’30s they used the new plastics to create pens in every conceivable colour and in patterns imitating everything from Italian marble to cracked ice. Some of the prettiest were the small pens designed for ladies and known as ‘Dinkies’, many of which came with a ring in the cap so that they could be worn on a ribbon.

The next size up was known as a ‘Dandy’. A vast number of model number/colour/pattern combinations were made making these pens a popular collectable item.

The firm suffered financially in the 1960s, due to the popularity of cartridge pens and the dominance of the Biro, and in 1975 the business was wound up.

In 1998, a new company was registered under the name of Conway Stewart based in Plymouth, Dorset to produce pens for the upper-end of the pen market. The range is characterised by the use of precious metals, enamels, and special edition pens.

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Cooper, Susie

Susie Cooper began her career as a paintress decorating wares for A. E. Gray & Co. Ltd. in Staffordshire in 1922, and her early work features bright, geometric and abstract patterns, hand painted onto tableware.

By 1930 she was working in her own design business, Crown Works and based in London. She purchased blanks from local potteries, and these were decorated by her team of six paintresses.

In 1931, she moved and expanded production to Crown Works, part of Woods & Sons, in Burslem. In 1932, she began to design her own shapes as well as designs, unlike fellow designer, Clarice Cliff.

Her wares were intended to be attractive yet functional: cups that retained the heat and handles designed with comfort in mind.

Her most famous shape, "Kestrel", was considered an ingenious design when it was launched in 1933; the lid to the vegetable dish also acted as a stand for the tureen as well as an extra serving dish.

Susie Cooper was awarded the Royal Designer for Industry award in 1940

Cooper perfected the technique of applying patterns by transfer, and some of designs applied in this way, such as "Patricia Rose" and "Dresden Spray", introduced in 1935, are as collectable as the hand painted wares. Cooper's early designs have a triangle mark applied by rubber stamp, replaced by the leaping deer with facsimile signature in 1932.

It is not uncommon for a complete set of, for example, "Dresden Spray" to bear a mix of factory marks, since the mark used depended largely on the size of the item.

In 1958, the Susie Cooper Company merged with R. H. and S. L. Plant, before being acquired by the Wedgwood Group in 1966. The Crown Works were closed in 1980. Cooper designed in the Potteries until 1986 and died in 1995.

Her work in the Art Deco style, with bold, geometric patterns and bright colours, is the most popular amongst collectors. Designs were painted freehand or applied by lithographed transfer. Close examination for variations in the application of the paint caused by brush strokes will reveal the difference between these decorative forms.

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An architectural term for a support for a projecting bracket, ostensibly supporting a beam or horizontal feature, but used in bookcases, sideboards and chests as a decorative element. Corbels are often carved with acanthus or other scrolling decoration.


Seats in Danish furniture of the 1940s to 1960s were often finished with Danish cord, a three ply twisted paper cord, which has a similar appearance to rush, which has been used for seating for centuries. As it is available in continuous lengths, unlike rush, the weave patterns are much more intricate.

Corgi Toys

Corgi 349 Pop Art Morris Mini Minor with a red-orange body, lemon interior, cast hubs, and jewelled headlights

Corgi Toys were produced by Mettoy Playcraft from 1956. Made in Swansea, South Wales, they were named after the Welsh dog, the favourite breed of the Royal family. The name was short and snappy like that of their intended rival, Dinky, and both Mettoy and Playcraft were based in Swansea, Wales giving it added relevancy.

Die cast vehicles were of a very high standard and came with many attractive features – plastic windows (Dinky cars had open windows) and from 1959, spring suspension and detailed plastic interiors.

The early ’60s saw the introduction of ‘jewelled’ headlights and opening doors and boots.

One of the first ranges produced was the Chipperfield Circus range in 1960, and in 1964 the Corgi Classics range of veteran and vintage cars.

This focus on moving parts and features made Corgi the natural choice to produce James Bond’s gadget-packed Aston Martin DB5 in 1965, one of the most popular toys ever made with sales of nearly three million.

A host of other film-and television-related toys followed such as the Batmobile and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. car (1966) ; The Avengers’ Bentley and Lotus Elan and the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty (1967); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and many others, including further Bond cars.

In 1970, Corgi introduced their Whizzwheels line to compete with Mattel’s hugely successful Hotwheels series.

As a result of competition, particularly from US company Mattel, and a fire at the Swansea factory the company got into financial difficulties in 1983, resulting in a management buyout the following year. Five years later, Corgi was acquired by Mattel, followed by another management buyout in 1995 and then the sale of the company to American collectables manufacturer Zindhart, which changed its name to Corgi International.

In 2008 Corgi International came back into British hands when it was acquired by Hornby Hobbies Ltd.

Corner Cabinet

A cupboard built in triangular form designed to stand or hang in the corner of a room as a space-saving measure. The doors are either panelled or glazed.

Freestanding corner cupboards with an upper and lower section are scarce, and most that come onto the market are of the later Victorian to early Edwardian period.

The smaller hanging corner cupboards are much more readily available. Australian made corner cabinets are extremely scarce.

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The upper section of a high piece of furniture such as a bookcase, wardrobe or cabinet that sits immediately on the main structure. The cornice is usually decorated with a variety of architectural mouldings, worked either with a moulding plane or, from the later 19th century, by machine. The front and side of the cornice are mitred together, strengthened by glue blocks, and the back is generally a simple dovetailed rail to hold the structure together. Cornices are generally, though not always, fitted separately to the piece and are held in place either by screws sunk into the top board or by wooden corner blocks. A pediment may sit above the cornice, but sometimes the terms cornice and pediment are used interchangeably.


The cornucopia, literally the horn of plenty, is a symbol of abundance and wealth. It is traditionally is represented by a curved goat horn overflowing with grain and fruit.

Modern cornucopias are often depicted as horn-shaped baskets filled with food, and this symbol is often associated with the harvest. This decorative device has a long and ancient history, with roots in Greek mythology.

In one version, when Zeus was playing with the goat Amalthea he accidentally broke off one of her horns. To atone for this, Zeus promised Amalthea that the horn would always be full of whatever fruits she desired. This became the cornucopia of the Roman goddess Copia, the personification of plenty. Other goddesses, including Fortuna and Pax, also held the cornucopia.

In furniture and decorative arts, cornucopia as a decorative element have been popular since the 16th century and can be found on items as diverse as light fittings and candelabra to clocks, sculpture and statuary and furniture.

In ceramics, cornucopia shaped vases were popular in the 19th century, in singles and pairs.

Cottage Chairs

Any small wooden chair for domestic or kitchen use, generally mass produced. The seats are usually wooden, with a saddled or slightly hollowed-out section for the sitter's comfort. The deeper the saddling, the earlier the chair is likely to be. The seats were sometimes caned or fitted with embossed plywood. See American spindle chairs, Federation chairs, Windsor chairs, etc.

Cotton-Reel Turning

As the name implies, cotton-reel turning consists of a series of spherical and straight sections and looks like a row of cotton reels.

Country Stool

Usually thought of as a primitive stool, roughly shaped from a slab of adzed timber, usually gum in Australia. The four stick legs are wedged into holes bored with an auger bit in each corner, generally splayed outwards for additional support.

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Court Cupboard

The object from which the term 'cupboard' derives literally, a cup board. A freestanding open side table, used during the 16th and 17th centuries, containing shelves for the display of silver or pewter plate. Also used to serve food in dining halls.

However the term court cupboard has now evolved to mean a cupboard containing sections enclosed by doors. They were usually made of oak, with turned and carved supports. Many versions were made during the Jacobean revival in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The word 'court' in this sense means 'short'.

In Australia, present usage of the term is to describe a European imported double heightened cupboard, in which the upper section is often glazed, with a full depth serving surface, and cupboards below.

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Cow Creamers

The popularity of cow creamers in the late 18th century and early 19th century is attributed to the Dutch or German silversmith John Schuppe, who worked in London, and may or may not have invented them. All the early cow creamers are silver, and the more familiar and affordable ceramic cow creamer, of which the unmarked Staffordshire models are best known, were not produced until the mid 19th century. Production ceased after the late 19th century, except for some collector editions.

The creamers were designed to hold milk or cream, with mouth acting as the pourer, a hinged or removeable lid in the centre of the back to add or remove the liquid, and a curled tail which acted as the handle. Sometimes the lid has a finial in the form of a fly or bee.

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Crackle Glass

A finishing process for glass that causes fine cracks to appear in the surface, so that it looks like cracked ice.. The glass piece while still hot is immersed in cold water causing the surface to crack. It is them reheated to seal the cracks.

The process is believed to have been invented in Venice in the 16th century.

Crackle glass is also known as craquelle glass, abd in the United States as ice glass.


In ceramics, crackles may be introduced intentionally during the firing process, as was often the case with Oriental ceramics, and are known as artificial crackles. Natural crackles occur with age, and if the glaze is transparent, may be difficult to detect. Natural crackles may not cover the whole surface of the object and may be uneven in size.


A network of fine cracks in the glaze of a ceramic item, caused by uneven shrinking during the firing process.

Cream Jugs

The cream jug or milk jug was a component of most 18th and 19th century tea and coffee sets, but the numbers coming onto the market as single units, easily outnumber those being sold as part of a setting.

Silver cream jugs first appeared around 1700 as tea was becoming popular, following its introduction to Europe by the East India Company. The major ceramics manufacturers, such as Royal Doulton, Royal Crown Derby, Shelley, Royal Winton and Wedgwood all included a cream jug with their dinner and tea ware settings. Small jugs made by individual craftsman potters have also been labelled cream jugs, probably being the name most suitable for the size and style of the vessel.

Cream and milk jugs mostly have a pitcher shape, with a wide pouring spout and a baluster foot or three legs.

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An Italian term describing a buffet or sideboard containing shelves enclosed by cupboard doors. The word has a particular meaning in the Australian and British market, referring to an ornate Victorian drawing room cabinet, either with or without a mirrored back in a carved Rococo frame. The base may have either a white marble top or a timber top, and below there may be mirrored doors. The distinguishing feature is the shape of the piece, with the two sides either rounded, or running at an angle towards the front and fitted with doors in section resembling half a hexagon. Commonly found in burr walnut or mahogany, and frequently inlaid. In current everyday usage, a credenza refers to a storage cabinet at the side or behind an office desk.


An architectural term used to describe the battlements in a castle, but in decorative arts is used to describe items with a battlement style rim or cornice.


The decorative carving at the top of a piece of furniture, such as a sideboard back, a mirror, or a chair back.

Cricket Table

A small table with a rounded top standing on three fixed splay legs. Essentially a cottage piece, several early Australian examples have been found. The derivation of the term is uncertain though it is commonly believed to refer to the three stumps used in the game of cricket. Some authorities believe it derives from the old English word 'cricket', meaning a three-legged stool.


A term used to describe a type of 16th and 17th century leather covered chair, either upright or with arms, with an austere rectangular partly upholstered back, the upholstery decorated with brass headed nails.

Cross Banding

A decorative veneer, up to about 2 cm wide, laid at right angles to the parallel grain of the main carcase, continuing around the edge of the piece, used around the edges of table tops, drawer fronts, tops of chests and desks, and sometimes on door frames. The cross band may be either in the same or contrasting timber to the carcase and the joint may be sometimes hidden by a line of stringing or herring-bone banding. Cross banding is found on furniture constructed both of solid and veneered timber. Where solid timber is used, a rebate will have to be cut to accommodate the cross band, so that the upper surface of the piece is flush. However, due to the natural shrinkage of timber over the years, the cross banding will have been pushed up in places, and the joint can be felt by the fingertips. If the cross banding is completely flush or even countersunk below the surface of the carcase and shows no other evidence of strain, it may very well have been a more recent addition.

Cross Hatching

A decorative technique used in art, decorative arts, gilded frames and furniture to indicate light and shade through sets of parallel lines crossing each other at an oblique or right angle. The lines can be incised or engraved, as on metalware and ceramics, drawn or painted as in works of art and ceramics, or carved or applied as in furniture and mirrors. When used in art, the lines are usually very close together, whereas when used on ceramics, frames or furniture the lines may be much further apart effectively creating a square or diamond shape, which may contain further decoration.

Crown Lynn

The Crown Lynn story is part of the New Zealand's heritage. Operating during the period 1948 - 1989, the factory produced domestic ware commonly used in most New Zealand homes c1950.

The story began in the 1860s, at Hobsonville where a farmer, R. O. Clark, encountering drainage problems, made his own clay drainage pipes. Demand was such that he went into business as a manufacturer of bricks and tiles and began a family business which was to have a lasting impact on New Zealand households.

In 1931 Thomas Clark, the great grandson of the original owner joined the firm. He realised the opportunities and expanded into domestic ware, opening a porcelain Specials Department in 1937. During WW2 the Specials Department was declared an essential industry and moved into making vitrified mugs and cereal bowls for the American Forces in the Pacific. Until 1947 half the production from the specials department was exported to Australia. The Specials Department became a separate company in 1948, and was called Crown Lynn. Important designers include Dave Jenkin, Mirek Smizek, Frank Carpay, Daniel Steenstra, Ernest Shufflebottom, Dorothy Thorpe.

By 1959 Crown Lynn Potteries had produced its 100 millionth article, and at their peak in the 1960's Crown Lynn employed 650 people in their Auckland potteries, manufactured around 17 million pieces of dinnerware annually in over 82 patterns and exported half of their production.

Crown Lynn became Ceramco in 1974 and diversified into a series of new interests, including electronics, appliance wholesaling and making acquisitions including Bendon lingerie. The Crown Lynn pottery factory closed in 1989, unable to compete with foreign competitors. Sir Thomas Clark died in 2005.

Crown Wind

A winding method for a watch, using a knurled or fluted knob, located at 3 o'clock on a wristwatch and 12 o'clock on a pocketwatch.

Cruet and Condiment and Sets

A cruet also known as a caster, is a small container to hold condiments such as oil, vinegar, mustard, pepper. Its shape and adornments will depend on the specific condiment for which it is designed. For example a cruet for liquids may have a jug-like shape, while a cruet for a spice may be cylindrical with a lid and perhaps a small spoon for serving.

Cruets were made in silver, silver plate, ceramic and glass, and sometimes a combination of two materials, usually as a glass body with a silver or silver plated top.

The earliest cruets, from the beginning of the 18th century were known as "Warwick cruets" after a cruet set made by Anthony Nelme in 1715 for the Duke of Warwick, and include three elaborately decorated and shaped matching silver casters, usually with one unpierced, which held powdered mustard, and the other two for oil and vinegar, combined in a stand with a handle enabling it to be passed between dinner guests.

In the Victorian era with more elaborate dining settings, the number of condiments used during a meal increased, as did the number of containers in the cruet set, and some cruet sets contained up to six or eight containers, either arranged tw-by-two, or in a circular container. Glass bottles replaced the silver containers of the earlier era and the holders became simpler, sometimes being a metal frame attached to the base.

Completeness and originality is important when purchasing a cruet set, and missing containers, replaced containers and missing or chipped stoppers will depreciate the value of a cruet set.

Another type of cruet set is an egg cruet, typically consisting of four to eight egg cups in a stand, often with a spoon for each egg cup. These were mainly made in silver or silver plate, and occasionally ceramic. The egg cups may fit in rings, or over a stud on the base of the stand. Sometimes the interiors of the egg cups are gilded to prevent corrosion. The stands are either solid, or a framework with a handle.

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Cruise Line Memorabilia

Mementoes of luxury cruises can give modern collectors a fascinating insight into the golden age of sea travel.

The development of the steam engine influenced ships even more than trains. It led to an explosion in ship building in the mid-19th century, when ships were mainly used for transporting mail. By the turn of the century large, often opulent, cruise liners were being built by vast shipping companies such as the Cunard Line and its competitor, the White Star Line, owned from 1902 by J. Pierpont Morgan’s International Mercantile Marine company. Ships included the Olympic, Titanic, Lusitania and Mauretania.

Another surge occurred after the 1920s and 1930s, when the Normandie, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were built. Used as hospitals during wartime, they played host to many of the wealthy and famous during peacetime.

The great ocean liners were matchless symbols of leisurely luxury. Their heyday was in the 1920s and 1930s, before World War II blighted international travel and before the increasing range, sophistication and affordability of air travel in the 1960s and 1970s virtually killed the passenger trade for ships.

Some of the most glamorous destinations were in the Orient, but the journey from Europe to the USA (or vice versa) was the most famous and the most lucrative sea route. The fastest liners took four days to do the Atlantic Crossing, so obviously they could not compete with aeroplanes in terms of speed.

The ocean liners sold souvenirs of the voyage to the passengers, always with the name of the ship prominently displayed. These included posters, prints, photographs and postcards, toys and models, miniature lifebuoys, as well as mugs, ashtrays and paperweights, all emblazoned with the company's name and badge or a picture of the liner involved.

However, passengers would take their own souvenirs from the voyage, and these unofficial mementoes included anything that could be smuggled off the ship, from pieces of cutlery or crockery, passenger lists, wine lists, concert programs and other pieces of printed ephemera that reflected the glamour and fun of an ocean cruise.

Shipping memorabilia attracts collectors of all ages and from all walks of life, and it is easy to get started, because even those with little money and storage space can collect ephemera.

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An ancient system of writing in use from the 34th century BC to about the 2nd century AD by Middle Eastern people, using wedge or arrow shaped characters. Cunieform documents were written on clay tablets using a blunt reed as a stylus.

Currie, Herbert Kitchener (kitch)

An Australian sterling silver amazonite bangle Circa 1950 by Herbert Kitchener Currie, Perth, open work firm design and central stone, stamped marks 7 cm diameter.

Herbert Kitchener Currie was born in Perth in 1915.

After his education at Wesley College, Kitch Currie attended the Perth Institute of Art. There he worked part time as an assistant for jeweller J.W.R Linton but received no formal apprenticeship until 1936 when he joined Linton's workshop in the evenings learning the art of jewellery making and silversmithing.

For over a decade, Kitch Currie joined his brother on a gold refinement plant in Wiluna before returning to Perth in 1945 to resume his position with James Linton until Linton's death in 1947.

Kitch Currie continued the skills taught to him by Linton, and with his sister Betsy, moved to Greenmount. He joined the Fremantle Technical College as a teacher of jewellery and design founding a new generation of prolific jewellers.

The work of Herbert Kitchener Currie is displayed in the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

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Cut Glass

Cut glass is decorated with facets, grooves and depressions of various sizes and shapes, made by cutting into the surface of the glass using a rotating abrasive wheel. The glass is ground so the surface consists of facets, which have a high degree of light refraction, so that the surface sparkles.

The techniques of glass cutting had been known since the 8th century BC, and the practice was revived in Bohemia and Germany in the early part of the 16th century and in England in the 18th century. Cutting became the most common method of decorating glass in the second half of the 18th century and the early 19th century.


A short single edged sword with a flat wide, slightly curved blade. The cutlass is associated with pirates, who used it frequently in their sea raids, during the "Golden Age of Piracy" from around 1650 to 1720. The cutlass was adopted as the standard sword by the English, French, and American armed forces, from 18th century well into first half of 20th century.


An Art Nouveau hammered silver 'Cymric' rose bowl and stand by Liberty & Co, Birmingham 1919, the Celtic motifs and design by Archibald Knox and the stand inscribed Liberty & Co. Ltd Regent Street London.

A trade name used by Liberty & Co. for a range of silver objects released under the "Cymric" name in 1899. The designs were an Art Nouveau interpretation of the Celtic style, and often featured enamelled pictorial plaques, many designed by Archibald Knox. Liberty & Co had registered their own silver hallmark in 1894.

See also: Liberty & Co.

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