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Acanthus. Plant of Southern Europe whose characteristic leaf, broad, long and very cut, enters from the Antiquity in the composition of many reasons of decoration, as for the architecture as for the decorative arts, the furniture among others. Reemployed in the Renaissance, the motif "acanthus leaf" is used in various forms both in the seventeenth and eighteenth century through the classical or baroque styles.

Armrest. Part filled with the file of vowels and voyeurs.

Alcove. A place in which a bed is erected that can be concealed by means of curtains or doors.

Support. (furniture up to). Qualifies a piece of furniture on which a standing person can lean.

Crossbow. (in or in bow of). Profile of an type of dresser born under the Regency, created by Cressent, it is said, which has a curved line and counter curve evoking the shape of a crossbow bow or a sort of accolade.

Silversmiths. Furniture showcase that allows to expose objects of collections in the shelter of the dust! Shelves are glass and lighting can be installed.

Wardrobe. Furniture appeared at the end of the thirteenth century, the cabinet replaces the chest nomads. As the population became sedentary, families needed larger storage units. Thus the wardrobe made its appearance in the unique room of the house.
In Normandy, the wardrobe contained the linen and especially the woolen stockings guarded by the hostess.

Norman wardrobe. The custom was that every time a girl was born, the father would shoot the most beautiful of the oaks. He let it tide for several years in the rain and then sheltered it for a long drying. Until the day the girl was proposed to marry. The father or craftsman then set to work to turn the studs into a cabinet. In general the wardrobe was the dowry of the bride.

Aronde (dovetail). A dovetail consists of a trapezoid-shaped tenon and a groove of the same shape. This name was given because the trapezoidal shape of the piece resembles a swallow tail also called dovetail.
The dovetail assembly is mainly used for mounting drawers.

Artisan. He is a manual worker. He works for individuals. The craftsman works alone, with family or with companions.

Assembly. Process by which the various ends of the pieces of wood composing the frames or the frames of the furniture are joined together to form a whole.

Sapwood. Young part of a tree under the bark. The sapwood consists of the last annual layers of wood still alive and lighter in color than the heart.


Hutch. In the Middle Ages the chest was a large travel chest with domed top. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was used to store clothes, tapestries and dishes.
The expression transbahuter indicates its function for frequent movements.
Today the word "sideboard" means a storage cabinet in solid wood.

Canopy. Dais (stretched fabric frame) placed above a bed or a seat (usually throne) from which the curtains fall.

Baluster. Qualifies a vertical pillar shape whose bulge varies with the styles. Applies to the legs of the seats, consoles, armrests and table top support.

Baroque. In terms of style covers the period stretching from the end of the Renaissance to neoclassicism (1770 approx.). Opposes the classic. Etymologically the word originates from a Portuguese term "barroco" applying to irregular pearls. The Baroque style is characterized by its decorative profusion, its systematic use of curves and asymmetry.

Corbin's beak. Highly protruding molding with a profile reminiscent of the raven's beak.

Shepherdess. Armchair invented in France in the eighteenth century. The shepherdess chair is a wide and deep seat that consists of a backrest whose side jambs descend to the armrests and whose seat is usually furnished with a removable cushion.

Library. From 1750, the library is present in all bourgeois interiors. To make it functional, it will be divided into two bodies: The lower one will receive the largest and heavier works; it will be full wings. The upper body (glazed) will contain the works easier to handle; thus glazed this part will be more an exhibition window showing the beautiful bindings.

Billot. Furniture that was usually found at the artisan Boucher because the block was used to cut the pieces of meat.

Wainscoting. (furniture of). Qualifies a piece of furniture integrated into all the paneling and whose base takes the form of a plinth matching the paneling.

Happiness of the day. The happiness of the day owes its name to the success it knew overnight at its appearance, to 1760. It is a piece of furniture that serves both as a table and a secretary.

Bonnetière. It was used to store the headdresses of the hostess and those of her daughters. However, the bonnetiere did not have the same place in the heart of the family as the wardrobe.

Buffet. In the middle ages, the buffet was an opening left in the masonry, which had been furnished with planks and a leaf. This built-in sideboard was in the main room is the bedroom!
Today the buffet can be low or two-body. We put the dishes, cutlery, glassware ...

Office. "bureau" comes from "bure" which in the Middle Ages designated a woolen stuff. This common and coarse cloth, thanks to its solidity, was used at the time to cover the tables where accounts and parchments were drawn up.
Originally, it was therefore a table rug made of bure; this rug will be called the "XIVth century" office and in the 15th century it will be the piece of furniture covered with a green cloth that will take the name of "bureau".
It should be noted that this piece of furniture could be a bench, a chest or a table; it was the fact of being covered with a carpet that gave it the name of "office".


Convertible. French armchair Inspired by the Louis XV and Louis XVI. Its structure in gilded wood or lacquered and light and elegant. The cabriolet consists of a concave backrest and a padded seat.
It owes its name to a small carriage of the eighteenth century in the form of hood!

Couch. It is an invention of the time Louis XIV. The sofa reaches its peak under Louis XV who asked the cabinetmakers to match the chairs.

Caning. The caned seat is trimmed with latticework (Decorative pattern consisting of regularly crossed lines.) Made of strips of rattan bark according to a geometric design.

Splines. These are the vertical grooves carved on the height of an upright.

Capito. Stuffed and quilted seat trim, with small buttons at the stitching. Highly fashionable under Louis Philippe and the second half of the 19th century.
Cartridge. Surface with various contours, defining a space in which decorations and figures are inscribed.

Quiver. Arrow case. The quiver was part of the equipment of the archer, the hunter and the warrior. He figures in the decorative grammar of sculpture.

Belt. Traverse surrounding the underside of a table top.

Chair. Originally the chair was a privilege reserved for people of high rank. The common people used the trunk, the bench or the stool.
It is during the Renaissance that the chair enters the most affluent houses and it is only in the eighteenth century that it becomes a popular piece of furniture.

Bevel. Remove the sharp edge of a piece of wood by planing it at an angle of 45 °.

Fretted. Qualifies a shape or profile made of curves and counter-curves.

Hat (cornice in cocked hat). Piece of furniture that is curved whose shape is similar to that of the Napoleonic hat.

Fireside. Low chair with high backrest, straight legs and padded seat. The driver appeared in the sixteenth century to rest and chat by the fire.

Oak. The word oak has its origin in Celts "kaerquez" which means "beautiful tree". The oak tree is the king of trees, it represents strength and durability.

Bedside. For beds, bedstead panel higher than the footboard.

Bedside (table of). Small portable table invented in the middle of the XVII century, intended for the room.

Ankle. Small piece of frustoconical wood that serves to maintain the assembly said mortise and tenon.

Anchoring. During the assembly phase: installation of dowels.

Chiffonier. Small cabinet with bunk drawers invented in the second half of the 18th century. The rag was used by the elegant to store their belongings: needlework, jewelry, mail ...

Beeswax. Natural wax used for furniture polishing.

Wood chisel. Chisel and edged blade tool mounted on a wooden handle that is used to cut and carve wood.

Chiseled. Worked with the chisel, kind of small chisel.

Chest. It is the oldest piece of furniture and one of the few furniture of the Middle Ages. It served at the time of siege, table, wardrobe and sometimes even bed.

Dressing. Small dressing table with drawers and an ice cream, in front of which the women do their hair and put on make-up.

Gooseneck. Antique decorative motif taken under the Directory, the Empire and the Restoration in particular for the armrests of the seats or for the heads and feet of beds.

Convenient. Low storage cabinet with bunk drawers. The dresser appeared in the seventeenth century.

Jam. Small regional furniture that was used to preserve the jars of jam.

Console. Appeared in the seventeenth century, the console is a small mobile support that is applied against a wall and on which is deposited a vase, a statue, a clock ...

Shell. The limestone shell of the shell, especially the scallop shell, treated with natural, has been used as a decorative motif since antiquity; this motif found its greatest use during the triumph of the rock under the reign of Louis XV, at this time sporting an asymmetrical and jagged form.

Cornice. Molding forming the crown of a furniture facade.

Body. Main part of a piece of furniture from which the base, the cornice or the pediment are excluded.

Rack. System allowing the use of cleats to adjust the height of shelves or shelves.

butt (form in). Synonym of volute.

Cylinder. Curved lid composed of sliding or rigid slats equipping certain offices from the end of the reign of Louis XV




Router. Woodworking machine that cuts the wood to make mortises, grooves, moldings ...

Planing. Straighten with a jointer a part that would have been deformed by heat, physical or mechanical treatments.

Jointer. Machine tool to plan the faces of a panel.

Half Moon. Semicircular shape applied to tables, consoles but also chests of drawers and antique furniture of period or Louis XVI style in particular.

Ogee. Molding formed of two portions of a circle concave and convex. The concave occupies the upper part and the lower convex part. In an overturned doucine it is the opposite.

Draperies. Decorative pattern in the form of folded fabrics, used in neoclassical styles, especially in Louis XVI.

Heartwood. Central zone of the sapwood tree.


Cabinetmaker. Manual worker who manufactures furniture only. It uses techniques of joinery, marquetry, tabletterie ...

Cabinetmaking. Workshop in which the cabinetmaker craftsman transforms wooden blocks into furniture.

Inkstand. Small furniture designed to write sitting or standing.

Empire (empire style). Furniture style manufactured during the Empire period in France from 1804 to 1814, ie the reign of Napoleon I.

Corner. Name given to furniture that is placed in angles. The corners appeared at the beginning of the 17th century and met with great success towards the middle of the same century. The corners were often surmounted by a step, a sort of pyramidal shelf on which valuables were exposed.

Inkstand. Small writing desk usually equipped with a desk and a box to store the equipment for this purpose.

Corner. Small piece of furniture intended to take place at the corner of two wall panels, wedge-shaped. Comes from the 18th century, often in pairs.

Framing. Border serving as an enclosure for furniture or furniture panels.

Windings. Decorative patterns formed of spiral scrolls.

Lock entry. Metal plate (copper, bronze or wrought iron) covering the surrounding of the opening where the key is introduced.

Tracery. Ornaments formed of leaves, foliage and flowers forming curved lines intersecting and entangled. Also referred to as interlace are designs formed of combinations of broken lines and curved lines. The tracery is particularly used in the Renaissance style, then neo Renaissance in vogue under the Second Empire.

Spacer. Piece of metal or wood uniting to consolidate the feet of a piece of furniture.

Escargot (foot in). Foot of a dresser, a seat or any other period furniture or Louis XV style drawing the shell of the snail.


Armchair. The chair is included in the furniture of all great civilizations: it was the symbol of authority and prestige (in reference to the royal throne).

Fitting. Set of metal parts fixed on the furniture: hinges, keys entrances, wrists of drawers ...
They are also commonly known as "hardware".

Feuille. Treated naturally or stylized, the leaf figure prominently in all ornamental repertoires.

Fil. Meaning of wood fibers.

Net. Generally square molding separating two decorative elements.

Fleurette. Decorative motif "natural" or stylized used by almost all styles.


Curved. Qualifies a piece of furniture whose shape is fretted.

Gallery. Sort of small border or low grid of wood or copper openwork surrounding the trays of tables and secretaries especially under Louis XVI.

Trundle. Is said of a generally small table whose smaller and smaller form is repeated in several copies.

Godron. Ornamental motif in the form of oval molding or relief groove used in the XVII century.

Hinge. Iron piece angled on which pivots the fittings of a door.

Gouged. Tool, kind of chisel whose edge is curvilinear. According to the importance of the curvature of the edge, the gouge is called "hollow", "half-hollow" or "flat"; the gouges called "bends" are bent in the direction of their length to facilitate the performance of certain specific work.

pedestal. Small table with round top supported by a central column supported by a generally tripod base.


Standing man. Originally the man standing was a very tall cabinet with only one door. According to legend, this piece of furniture served as a hiding place during the revolution to escape the soldiers: a standing man could stay there.

Clock. It is to give the church people time that the mechanical clock was invented.
Initially this mechanical clock was the a-page of rich religious communities, kings, princes and trading cities.

Comtoise clock. It appeared in the 17th century in Franche-Comté in the jura. This work was done on farms, especially in winter when the snow covered the land which was then uncultivable.

Bread hutch. Chest closed on the top by a flap.


Indiscreet. Sofa born under the Second Empire with three separate seats and attached to a central axis.


Brass. Copper and zinc alloy. Brass is used for the manufacture of fittings that adorn the furniture.

Reading light. Small table equipped with a easel desk born in the second half of the XVIII century.

Diamond. Ornamental geometric motif used in incrustations or marquetry, especially under the reign of Louis XVI, the Directory and the Restoration.

Lectern. Reading desk, born in the 17th century, supported by a tripod base continuing with a central shaft; intended to receive the impressive prayer books.

Lyre. decorative ornament of the shape of the musical instrument, used in neoclassical styles. Some seat files, including Louis XVI, also have this form.


Maie. Country furniture used for the preservation of flour and bread making.

Mallet. This is a hammer entirely made of wood. It is used for example by the sculptor to hit the tool. The mallet is fashioned in hardwoods such as hornbeam, ash or cormier.

Cuff. Small padded cushion upholstering the armrests.

Massif (wood). As opposed to veneer.

Medallion. Ornamental circular or oval pattern, carved with various decorations; in use in Renaissance and neoclassical styles.

Medallion (folder). Qualifies the oval files of some Louis XVI seats.

Cherry. It is a wood softer than oak. It holds its originality of its red color. Wild cherry spreads naturally in the forest. It can reach a height of 30 meters because in forest it rises to look for the light.

Support cabinet. It is a piece of furniture whose height allows a person to support the elbow.

Furnishing. Applies to furniture intended to remain at a fixed place as opposed to movable furniture likely to be moved.

Middle furniture. See "in between".

Furniture height support. See "support"

Amounts. Vertical pieces of the frame of a piece of furniture.

Mortise. This is a cut that is made in a piece of wood to receive the tenon of another piece to be assembled with it.

Molding. Ornament protruding or hollow. Square or round the molding decorates the works of cabinetmaking.


Warhead. Arch or arcade composed of two portions of equal arches intersecting at acute angle, used in the Middle Ages, taken again in the troubadour or neogothic style.

Ears. In an armchair "in confessional", panels padded or quilted perpendicular to the backrest fixed at head height.

Origin (of). Synonymous with time, the moment of construction of the furniture, which was neither repaired nor restored.

Ornemaniste. Name used in the XVII and XVIII centuries to designate a draftsman-decorator-setter.

Orphan. Refers to a seat (chair or chair) or a corner, a single piece of furniture or in-between, which has lost its counterpart.

Sheep bone. Form of base in volutes and against pronounced volutes. Often used for Louis XIII and Louis XVI seats.

Framing. Synonym for building or structure. Part constituting the framework of the furniture where the panels, seats or files are fixed.

Oves. Ornamental pattern affecting the shape of an egg, most often used in friezes alternating with tongues, sharp darts or leaves of water. Frequently used in classical styles, Renaissance and Louis XVI in particular.


Sign. Solid wood surface constituting the facade, the back, the sides and the bottom of the furniture.

Palmette. Ornamentation pattern formed of small palms used in various neoclassical styles, under the particular Restoration. Often the palmettes are inscribed in an ogival curve consisting of several curved stems, five or more, connected by a kind of staple; the lower part winds up in foliage.

Sign. Solid wood or veneer surface constituting the front, back, sides and bottoms of the furniture.

By-close. Set of horizontal and vertical sleepers framing a wooden panel.

Parquetry. Action to strengthen a panel by lining it on the back of sleepers.

Patine. Exterior appearance of a piece of furniture or accessory given naturally (or artificially) by use, polishing, oxidation and other natural chemical agents. Evidence of an ancient origin and enhancing element, the patinas are sometimes accentuated, even created by antique dealers or unscrupulous second-hand dealers.

Antique patina. Aging furniture by holes, shots, galleries of worms, open joints ...

Flower beds (panel with flower beds). Thinned part of the panels fitting into a frame of furniture or door.

During. Applies to each furniture, object or table designed to form, in pairs, a symmetrical set. The furniture forming pendants are most often support furniture, in-between furniture, corners, consoles, dressers, etc.

Hinges. Metal strips, usually wrought iron, reinforcing the assembly of the wood panels. Hinges were mostly used in the Middle Ages, when assemblages were precarious, most often with live joints.

Pearls (rank of). Decorative pattern consisting of a series of small spherical or ovoid balls reminiscent of pearls; in use in neoclassical styles.

Base. Refers to the spacers, crossbars and feet of a piece of furniture.

Plating (wood of). As opposed to solid wood, thin sheet of wood or other material intended to cover a surface made of a less noble and more solid material.

Tray. Horizontal panel of a piece of furniture (tables, dressers, secretaries, low buffets) used to place objects.

Drawer handle (or draw). Fixed or movable object generally made of metal (iron, copper or bronze) arranged to be held tightly.

Psyche. Mirror in a frame mounted on a pivot; born under the reign of Louis XVI and very used under the Empire and the Restoration.

Desk. Small piece of furniture presenting an inclined plane intended to receive a book or paper. Some desks are equipped with rack systems to vary the angle of inclination of the tray.


Dovetail. see definition dovet.


Groove. Hollow and fine molding.

Rais-of-heart. Neoclassical decorative heart-shaped motif, composed of florets alternating with water leaves.

Rechampi. Hue method used to bring out moldings and / or sculptures by tinting them in a different color.

Rechampir. For painted decorations, detach certain lines or surfaces from the background by accentuating the line or the opposition of the colors. This operation was often performed on the seats of the XVIII century.

Relief. See "Middle relief".

Padded (or embossed). Garnished with tufts of horsehair or pieces of cloth.

Restoration. Repair (reconstruction) executed in the spirit of the time when the furniture was created.

Rinceau. Ornamental pattern composed of flowering stems arranged by winding; treated in different ways, the foliage has been used at all times.

Rockery. Qualifies Louis XV style characterized by windings, curves and counter-curves, asymmetry and exuberance of sculptures.

Kidney. Small coffee table born in the XVIII century in the shape of beans or kidneys; synonym of

"in beans".

Round bump. Sculpting process where the figure is no longer connected to any surface and can be viewed from all angles.

Rosette. Circular decorative pattern in the shape of a rose or star with several branches.

Rattan. Stem of a shrub used first to braid funds to seats or table tops. Under the Second Empire, they are small light garden furniture that are made entirely of rattan.

Rubans (nodes of). Neoclassical decorative pattern.


Doe hoof. Decorative forked hoof design that finishes the feet of certain types of seats. The hoof can be carved in full wood or executed in bronze to put on the end of the foot.

Living room. Set of chairs consisting of several chairs, chairs in pairs and one or more sofas.

Sculptor. Artist who sculpts the wood to decorate the furniture

Sculpture. Art of carving wood with various tools.

Secretary. The secretary or "secretary in wardrobe" appeared in the middle of the eighteenth century, it is one of the most characteristic furniture of the Louis XVI style.

Weekly. Small cabinet with seven drawers born in the second half of the XVIII century.

Sofa. Seat with several seats, backrest with padded cheeks, born in the 17th century.


Table. The table was always intended for the most diverse uses: meals, games, work or simply ceremonial.

Crotch shelf. Tray of a small table located at the bottom part connecting the four feet, consolidating the base and making it possible to place objects.

cleat. It is a piece of wood used as a resting place for another element. For us the cleats serve as shims for racks mounted on racks.

Tenaille (en). (for the seats). Synonymous with seats in X.

Tenon. End of a piece of wood carved in rectangular parallelepiped to fit perfectly in the mortise cut in the room to which it must be assembled. We speak then of assembly "with tenons and mortises".

Zippers. Mobile tablets equipping certain tables.

top (in). Triangular shape characteristic of some Louis XVI furniture legs.

Turned. Molding perpendicular to the axis of a piece of wood using a lathe.


Dresser. Provincial furniture consisting of a chest surmounted by shelves (or dresser) on which the dishes are exposed. His sculptures vary by region.

Velvet. Cloth to which is added a weft thread (or extra string) which forms a hairy plush. The velvet struck is crushed locally and the chiseled velvet combines curly velvet and cut velvet.

Varnish. Liquid based on alcohol (or turpentine) of linseed oil, gum and rosin to protect wood or other material.

Painted glass (Églomisé). Decorative process disseminated in the 18th century by the Parisian supervisor Jean-Baptiste Glomy; consists of applying to the back of a glass (coaster) a cold paint associated with shiny backgrounds - silver or gold - and black varnish.

Showcase. Furniture whose doors are lined with glass so as to allow the exhibition of precious objects without being touched. It appears in the 18th century. It is the parade cabinet par excellence that holds the best place in all the salons.

Volute (volute feet). Ornament formed of a spiral winding (Regency style).

Voltaire. Armchair creates to 1830 and named after the French philosopher. The voltaire has a high backrest padded, a deep seat and armrests with cuffs.

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