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Antique Collectors' Dictionary (N)

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Nailsea Glass: Glass-house founded 1788 by John R. Lucas at Nailsea, near Bristol. Several types of glass made: at first bottle-glass of brownish-green tint with flecking or mottling and white enamel decoration, and a light green bottle-glass with crackling or white enamel decoration; then, from c. 1815, opaque coloured glass with looped and mottled or flecked decoration, also white and coloured latticino in pale green and clear flint glass; from 1845 translucent coloured flint glass. Nailsea produced what is probably the most flamboyant glass eve: made in England; the combinations of colours would tax a mathematician; the number and variety of `friggers' (q.v.) produced must have been phenomenal. Colourful to the last, the Nailsea Glass-house closed in 1873, 30,000 in the red.

Nantgarw: This porcelain factory founded in 1813 by William Billingsley who had been at Derby. Billingsley produced porcelain of exceptional translucency, almost like glass. But kiln wastage was so high, sometimes 90 per cent, that the enterprise was bound to fail, .and in 1814 the factory was transferred to Swansea (q.v.). Billingsley returned to Nantgarw (1817-20) but was unable to evolve a commercially successful formula. Inevitably Nantgarw porcelain is very scarce. The soft, S6vres-like paste is highly esteemed by collectors. Some of the wares produced were decorated at Nantgarw but most were sent to London for that purpose. The usual mark is `NANT GARW' in rough capitals with `c.w.' smaller underneath (probably standing for `China Works').

Neale, James: Pottery manufacturer active at Hanley, 1776-1800, who worked with various partners and traded as Neale & Palmer, Neale & Co., Neale & Wilson; made creamcoloured wares but the best-known products are those in imitation of Wedgwood, jasper, basalts, etc.; this firm's Toby jugs are notable.

Nef: Table ornament in the form of a ship.

Neo-classic: Of the eighteenth-century classical revival.

Nest of Drawers: The case of small drawers, or diminutive chest of drawers, was often so termed in the eighteenth century.

Nest of Tables: Graduated tables made to fit one below the other were first made towards the end of the eighteenth century. Four was the normal number and for this reason they were called `Quartetto' tables.

Netsuke: (Japanese, pronounced `netsky', from ne-a root, and tsuke-to fasten) A toggle with holes used to secure the cord on which a man carried his personal belongings. Very old, but as works of art date from late sixteenth to late nineteenth centuries. Tiny, of wood, ivory, bone, horn, amber, often exquisitely carved and fashioned into fantastic human, animal or mythological figures. If made of two materials, then probably of late date.

Nevers: Important French centre for the manufacture of faience from the late sixteenth century, the craft having been brought to the district by Italian potters. Several factories flourished in the seventeenth century and for much of the eighteenth and the wares produced are among the best ever made in France. The Chinese influence, not only in decoration but also in shapes, was strong in the last quarter of the seventeenth century.

New Hall: The factory founded about 1781 by a group of Staffordshire potters who manufactured hard-paste porcelain to the formula that Richard Champion had used at Bristol and which he had got from Cookworthy. From about 1810 onwards bone-china was made. New Hall porcelain is not so esteemed as Plymouth and Bristol. Early wares are often decorated in the Chinese manner; elaborate painting and gilding is typical. The letter `x' accompanied by a number was the usual porcelain mark; the name `New Hall' encircled was applied to bone-china.

Niderviller: French ceramics factory founded about 1754 for the production of faience. Porcelain seems to have been made here from about 1765, though very little, if any, survives from that date. The factory changed hands in 1771 and several times thereafter but it is still in existence. Figures of excellent quality are the most esteemed product of Niderviller.

Nien Hao: (Chinese) Reign mark.

Night Clock: Clock which usually has a pierced dial so that a light placed behind it will enable the time to be seen in the dark.

Night Table: The successor to the close-stool (q.v.). The night table dates from the middle of the eighteenth century, is nearly always on legs, is sometimes combined with a washing stand, frequently has additional drawers and a tray-shaped top and may have a tambour front. Some are like a small chest of drawers.

Nock, Henry: London gunsmith of the eighteenth century. In 1787 he invented a breech plug, `Nock's Patent Breech', the feature of which was that a thin gold or platinum touch-hole instantly communicated the flash to an antechamber within. (Thus a flintlock with this patent breech cannot be older than 1787.)

Non(e)such: The term is applied to a chest with an inlaid decorative design of architectural representations. These chests were made during the latter half of the sixteenth century, on the Continent and in Germany particularly. The name comes from the palace of Nonsuch at Cheam built by Henry VIII.

Norman, Samuel: Cabinet-maker and carver who did work for Woburn Abbey in the 1750's. He redecorated the picture gallery and the principal drawing-room and supplied furniture including a `Grand State Bed'.

Nottingham: From c. 1690 to 1800 Nottingham was an important pottery centre, being famous for its brown salt-glazed stoneware. The glaze has a strange metallic gleam to it. Decoration is usually incised. Owl and bear jugs (the detachable heads are cups) were a speciality.

Nove: A maiolica factory had been in existence at Nove, Venice, for many years before attempts were made to manufacture soft-paste porcelain about 1752. Porcelain was produced here until about 1835. A star, sometimes with the word `Nove', is the usual mark.

Nulling: See Gadrooning.

Nuremberg Egg: Early German watches are so called; the term is a complete misnomer.

Nuremberg Faience: Nuremberg, Bavaria, was an important centre for the manufacture of faience from the sixteenth century. Superbly decorated jugs of the seventeenth century are particularly esteemed. (Nuremberg was celebrated for its hausmalerei, i.e. painting done by private decorators working at home.)

Nymphenburg: This hard-paste porcelain factory founded in 1753, with J. J. Ringler from Vienna (q.v.) as arcanist. Situated first at Neudeck, the factory was transferred to premises in the grounds of Nymphenburg Palace in 1761. Under the patronage of Prince Max III Joseph of Bavaria and, more actively, Count Sigismund von Haimhausen, and with the services of one of the greatest European modellers, Franz Anton Bustelli, the factory flourished until about 1770 and then went into a slow decline, passed to the State, was leased to a private company in 1862 and continues in production. Nymphenburg's great reputation is due to the figures of Bustelli, chief modeller from 1754 to 1763. He was the master of the rococo in terms of porcelain, or at least the Bavarian expression of it. The most common Nymphenburg mark is the shield.

Nyon: Swiss porcelain factory near Geneva that produced hard-paste porcelain from 1781 till 1813. The mark is a fish in underglaze blue.