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Collections / Antiques / Furniture / Furniture Glossary
Furniture Glossary

Antique furniture
Furniture Glossary
Furniture Styles
Taking Care of Furniture

Study Suits
Chairs and Armchairs
Bedroom Suites
 Private collections of this section

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Rail - horizontal spats of a chair back

Reeding - decoration created by narrow, convex moldings in parallel strips and divided by grooves

Rocaille - ornament style from the rococo period consisting of an abstract shell or leaf motif

Rococo - decorative style that evolved in the early 18th century partly as a reaction to the Baroque; featured asymmetrical ornament and flamboyant scrollwork.

Rolled arms - arms which flare out and then down to meet the sides of a chair or sofa

Rule join - type of join on furniture contrived in such a way that, when open, no separation shows between the two joined parts

Runners - strips of wood on which doors slide


Sabot - French term for the gilt-bronze "shoe" at the bottom of furniture legs

Sabre leg - outward-curving leg that became fashionable on late 18th century Empire and Regency chairs

Seat rail - framework that supports the seat of a chair and holds the legs together

Secretary/Secretaire - writing cabinet with a fall front that lets down to provide a writing surface; often has bookshelves above and drawers below

Secretaire а abattant - type of writing cabinet with a fall front and resting on a chest-of-drawers or small cupboard

Sectional - a sofa that has several segments, which may be used in combination or separately to fit in a room

Serpentine - possessing a compound curvature

Settee - a long seat or bench with a back and arms; seats two or more people

Shellac - resinous varnish obtained from the lac insect and used in japanning

Shoe - a projecting piece rising from the back rail of a chair seat into which the base of the splat is fixed

Sideboard - a serving piece with a long, flat top and a lower section used for storage

Side chair - a chair without arms, designed to stand against a wall

Skirt - a piece of fabric at the bottom of a sofa, loveseat, or chair that hangs for decorative purposes

Slat-back chair - type of 17th century chair with slats across the back

Sleigh bed - a bed in which the head and footboards are scrolled

Sofa - a long seat with back and arms

Sofa table - a rectangular table with two hinged flaps at the ends designed to stand in front of a sofa

Spade foot - tapering foot of square section

Splat - central upright in a chair back, loosely applied to all members in a chair back

Squab cushion - loose flat cushion on the seat of a chair

Sussex chair - chair with an ash frame and rush seat, based on a traditional country design

Swan neck handle - curved handle popular in the 18th century


Table ambulante - French term for a small, portable occasional table

Tallboy - see chest-on-chest

Teapoy - a small piece of freestanding furniture designed for holding tea

Tee seat cushions - loose cushions whose outside front edges extend laterally in front of the arm of an upholstered piece

Tester - canopy or ceiling over a bed

Thrown chair - a chair constructed from turned pieces of wood

Thumbpiece - flange attached to a hinged lid, which, when pressed by the thumb, raises the lid

Transitional - a style created from the fusion of Neo-classical decoration with Rococo forms

Trestle table - a long narrow table with two uprights joined by a single stretcher

Tripod table - a small table with a round top supported by a three-legged pillar, originally made for serving tea

Triptych - a large, three-part hinged mirror, panel, or screen

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