Glossary beginning with C

Peppered with unusual terms and descriptive phrases, the language of the antiques world is colourful to say the least. With our handy glossary, you'll soon be able to distinguish your maiolica from majolica and your chinoiserie from cloisonne.

c
Cabriole leg

An elongated ‘S’ shaped leg on a piece of furniture, often made with a pronounced ‘knee’.

Cameo Glass

Cased glass in two or more layers where the outer layer is carved away to reveal a design in relief.

Cameos

Beautiful relief carvings usually depicting classical scenes. Initially cameos were popular with men, adding flamboyance to their cabinets of curiosities, however, now generally linked to women's jewellery.

Canton

Porcelain imported from China in the 18th century.

Caquetoire

Also known as a 'gossip chair' this is a lighter style of open armchair, developed in the Renaissance.

Carcass

The main body of a piece of furniture before veneers are applied, or doors, shelves or drawers are added.

Carver

A type of dining chair with arms.

Cased glass

Glass made up of several layers of different colours.

Celleret

A deep, lockable box used for storing wine. First made during the 18th century.

Champlevé

Enamel laid in cavities or channels created by scooping out metal.

Chapter ring

The circle of numerals or other symbols of the hours on a clockface

Charger

A large, flat plate used for serving food.

Chasing

A method of decorating the surface of metal by indenting it, usually with a hammer and punches. This method creates patterns without removing any metal.

Chesterfield

A sofa type introduced in the late 19th century, with upholstery which covers the frame.

Cheval mirror

A large floor-standing mirror which pivots in a frame.

Chiffonier

A cupboard similar to a small dresser

Chintzware

These ceramic objects display an all over transfer-printed floral pattern.

Chippendale

Generic term used to describe furniture in the style associated with English designer Thomas Chippendale (1718-79).

Cloisonné

Enamel decoration in which a network of metal wires is fixed to the body of the piece. The resulting cloisons (compartments) are then filled with coloured enamel paste before firing.

Cockbeading

Delicate, moulded, bead-shaped decoration, usually around the edges of drawers.

Commode

A chest of drawers or a cabinet. It later came to mean a bedroom chair or cabinet that concealed a chamber pot.

Console table

A side table supported by wall brackets with two front legs.

Crazing

A defect in ceramics resulting in a network of fine lines on the glaze, caused by different rates of contraction between the body and glaze during firing, or extreme changes in temperature.

Crizzelling

A network of fine cracks on a glass object caused by progressive deterioration in the chemical balance.