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Antique Collectors' Dictionary (F)

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Faenza: One of the most important Italian maiolica centres from 1450. The French term faience (q.v.) probably derives from the Italian town.

Faience: Pale red earthenware covered with a tin glaze. The term dates from the beginning of the seventeenth century (though the ware was made at least 100 years earlier) and is thought to derive rather from the Italian town of Faenza than from the French Fayence. Faience was made in several European countries during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but outstandingly in France from c. 1700 to 1780; the main centres were Nevers, Lyons, Marseilles, Montpellier, Aprey, Rouen, Sceaux. Tablewares were the main products. Until the middle of the eighteenth century the principal colours were green, yellow, orange, blue; but after 1750 crimson, pink and vermilion came into use. Faience anglais was an attempt to copy English cream-coloured wares (Faience fine); Faience Japonnee was decorated in the Oriental manner; Faience parlante and Faience populaire were decorated with songs, sayings, proverbs, etc. ; Faience porcelaine was an attempt to imitate real porcelain by means of rich enamel overglaze decoration.

Famille Jaune: Chinese porcelain dating from the K'ang Hsi period in which a yellow ground was used for the polychrome enamel decoration. Examples are rare.

Famille Noire: Chinese porcelain dating from the K'ang Hsi period in which a black ground (washed with transparent green enamel) was used for the polychrome enamel decoration. Examples are rare-especially of the greatly esteemed large vases with floral designs.

Famille Rose: Chinese porcelain dating from the K'ang Hsi period, but associated mainly with the Yung Cheng and Ch'ien Lung periods, and so-called because of the use of a new colour (a European innovation), rose, an opaque pink enamel. The Chinese called this colour yang-ts'ai (foreign colours) and famille rose wares were made for the export market only. Much of the decoration was done in the studios of Canton. At its best the painting is extremely delicate; European subjects are quite common.

Famille Verte: Chinese porcelain of the K'ang Hsi period so-called because it exhibits the predominant use of a brilliant green enamel. The verte palette is a development of the Ming wu-ts'ai (five-colour) decoration, but the Ming underglaze blue gives way to overglaze blue enamel. Famille verte wares (at their best) are mainly responsible for the great esteem which attaches to the K'ang Hsi period. The paste is fine, the potting is of a high order, the decoration, whether vigorous or delicate, is superb.

Fan Back: Windsor chair back, flared like a fan.

Farthingale Chair: Chair without arms, with quite a wide seat and with narrow, high back; so-called because built to accommodate females in farthingales, for whom any other kind of seat was well nigh an impossibility.

Fauteuil: French term for an arm-chair; but when used precisely, an arm-chair whose sides are not, in contradistinction to the Bergere (q.v.), upholstered.

Feather Banding: See Herring-bone.

Fender: The wide hearth made fenders unnecessary till the late seventeenth century, but in the eighteenth century steel fenders, shaped, pierced and engraved, became common. Brass fenders, with bottom plates, came in the late eighteenth century. In the 1820's Birmingham began the manufacture of cast iron fenders which was to put an end to the decorative fender.

Feraghan Rugs: Persian rugs in which the red or dark blue ground is decorated with floral or foliage designs; three-stripe border usually; a coarse weave woven with the Senna knot.

Festoon: A garland of flowers, leaves, fruit, etc., loosely suspended between two points-hence a representation of similar ornaments in carving, stucco, painting.

Finger Vase: Vase consisting of five flower holders arranged as are the fingers of a hand. Made at Delft and other ceramics centres.

Finial: An ornament projecting from a roof or gable; hence applied to a similar ornament heading a canopy or piece of furniture, or the knob in the form of an acorn or even a human figure that tops a vase or cup cover or the end of a spoon.

Fire-back or Fire-plate or Reredo: Cast-iron slab placed at the back of a fireplace to protect the wall and to throw the heat forward. Early examples are wide and quite low, usually rectangular in shape; the tombstone shape came in in the late seventeenth century. And it is at about this time that many fire-backs were imported from Holland. Sussex was the traditional place of manufacture in England and some of the best early examples are in Sussex museums, Hastings particularly. The designs were impressed on the bed of sand (in which the plate was moulded) by means of movable wooden stamps.

Fire-dog: See Andiron.

Fire-fork: The forerunner of the poker, a lengthy iron twopronged fork for adjusting burning logs in the fireplace; went out of use when coal came in in the eighteenth century.

Fire-irons: Equipment for use at the fireside: fork (when wood was the fuel-see previous entry), tongs, shovel (when coal became the fuel), and brush. Tongs are the most elaborate item in most sets. Examples survive from the seventeenth century.

Fire Pan: A tray for holding burning charcoal.

'Fire Polish': The brilliant finish that is imparted to glass by repeated re-heating after it has begun to cool.

Fire Screen: Both the pole screen and the cheval screen were made to protect the sitter from the heat of an open fire. See Screen.

Firing-glass: Short, stubby drinking glass so made to withstand rapping on the table when toasts were being drunk.

Flagon: Formerly a bottle to hold liquor; later a tall drinking vessel with a handle and usually a lid; forerunner of the tankard.

Flambe: French term meaning singed, passed through flame.

Flambe Glazes: Glazes found on certain Chinese ceramics, such as vivid reds streaked with blue or purple. In early wares, as of the Sung dynasty, it is probable that these effects were unintended but brought about by uncertain kiln conditions; later, from the eighteenth century, they were brought about intentionally and were very popular during the Ch'ien Lung period.

Flashed Glass: See Cased Glass.

Flaxman, John (1755-1826): Sculptor employed by Wedgwood to design many of the relief decorations for the jasper ware.

Flintlock: A type of gunlock which dates from the early seventeenth century. The pan holds priming powder and has a hinged cover from which rises a piece of steel; a flint is held in the jaws of a cock; when discharged the flint strikes the steel and at the same time throws the cover back thus allowing the sparks to shower into the priming. See Snaphaunce.

Flora Danica: See Copenhagen.

Fluting: A decorative motif much used on silver vessels, also on furniture, comprising channels divided by a sharp fillet.

Foliot: Early form of mechanical clock controller which went with the verge escapement.

Fontainebleau: French hard-paste porcelain factory founded in 1795.

Form: The form or bench (the terms are interchangeable) is a seat with supports or legs which has remained essentially the same throughout its history. In early times the form was sometimes a plank resting on trestles.

Frankenthal: Porcelain factory founded at Frankenthal near Mannheim, Germany, in 1755 by Paul-Anton Hannong, who had produced porcelain at Strasbourg, with the aid of J. J. Ringler of Vienna. The factory purchased by the Elector Palatine in 1762; it closed in 1799.

Fretwork: This form of decoration was used a lot by eighteenth century English cabinet-makers, particularly when the Chinese and Gothic tastes were in vogue. Open fretwork, as on galleries of small tables, was usually made from several thicknesses of veneer glued together. Decorative fretwork patterns on a solid ground were used on a variety of furniture--chair legs, for instance.

Frieze: Member of an entablature coming between architrave and cornice.

Friggers: Improbable and even fantastic objects made of glass -tobacco pipes, walking sticks, bells, ships, riding crops, bellows (flasks), rolling pins-much else. Made at Nailsea particularly, and at Bristol, and to a lesser extent at other glassmaking centres.

Frit: A calcined mixture of sand and alkalis as used for glassmaking and in the manufacture of soft-paste porcelain.

Frog Mug: Type of mug made mostly at Sunderland, but also at Leeds, Nottingham and elsewhere, containing a model of a frog.

Fromanteels, The: The London branch of this famous family of Dutch clock-makers established itself in England in the 1620's and for almost 100 years practised their craft with distinction.

Frye, Thomas: Irish painter turned porcelain manufacturer who in 1744 registered jointly with Edward Heylyn a patent for making porcelain (unaker was a specified ingredient) and later in 1749 patented another formula which included calcined bones. In partnership with two London merchants Frye founded the factory at Bow (q.v.), which he managed until his retirement in 1759.

Fu (Chinese): A rectangular bronze container, usually on four feet. Chou dynasty.

Fuddling-cup: A number of cups cemented together with openings one to the other; made at Lambeth, Bristol, and other pottery centres in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Fulda: A porcelain factory founded at Fulda, Hesse, Germany, in 1765. The venture was under the auspices of the PrinceBishop of Fulda, Heinrich von Bibra. The factory was burned down in 1767 but was rebuilt and continued until 1790. A hard paste of excellent quality was made and figures are highly regarded. 'FF' linked to form an 'x' is the usual mark.

Fulham: This stoneware factory founded in 1671 by John Dwight (q.v.).

Furnishing Pieces: A trade term applied to antiques which, because their price is within the purse of most collectors, can be bought for use in the home. Such a piece would therefore usually be less than perfect and of somewhat doubtful provenance.

Furstenberg: This porcelain factory founded in 1747 at Furstenberg, Brunswick, Germany, under the auspices of Duke Karl I of Brunswick, but no porcelain was produced until the arrival of Johann Benckgraff (who had been at Vienna) in 1753. Hard-paste porcelain was made from this date, but not very successfully till c. 1770. However, during the period 1770-1800 much excellent porcelain, including figures, was manufactured. The letter 'F' is the usual mark.

Fusee: A device that equalizes the pull of the mainspring of a clock or watch. The spring would go too fast when fully wound and too slow when almost unwound were it not for the fusee, a pulley to which the strain is transferred and whose conical shape transmits a steady pull to the train. Invented in the fifteenth century and still in use in clocks of quality.

Fustian: A coarse cotton cloth used for bed hangings and counterpanes in early times; later the term seems to have applied to a richer material used as the outer cover of upholstery and even for clothing. Norwich was a prominent manufacturing centre of fustian in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Fustic: Wood imported from Central America and the West Indies and used for a time during the eighteenth century as a veneer; but its yellow colour, which presumably commended it at first, was found to be impermanent and the wood was no longer used by the end of the century.