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Furniture glossary


Abacus: The topmost member of the capital of a column.

Acajou: The french word for mahogany.

Acorn: Turned ornament resembling an acorn, used as finials on chair posts, bedposts, as pendants, and as profile of leg turnings.

Acroterium: Ornaments applied to the top corners of bookcases, secretaries. Originally an ornament of Greek temples.

Air Bed: A mattress filled with air, covered with cushioning and ticking.

Alpine: The Alps were the meeting place of northern and souther furniture styles.

Amaranth: Also called violetwood and purpleheart, amaranth is a purplish wood used for veneering.

Amboyna: Amboyna is an East Indian wood, used as veneer and inlay. The burls are mottled and curled, and light reddish brown.

Ambry: A large cupboard with doors. The interiors are fitted with shelves for storage. A recess for the storage of goods.

Ambulante: Small portable table, used for serving tea.

Amorini: Painted or carved cupids in decoration. Sometimes only the head is used.

Angel Bed: Bedstead with a canopy, with no pillars in front, and drawned back curtains. The counterpane goes over the foot, the canopy over only a part of the bed.

Anthemion: Greek honeysuckle pattern. Conventionalized to radiating cluster.

Antimacassar: Cloth used to protect chairbacks from soiling by hair.

Antiquing: Antiquing is the process of finish on furniture, or treating wood to make it look old.

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