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Antique Collectors' Dictionary (O)

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Oak: A hard and heavy wood, the most common species in England being the common oak and the sessile-fruited oak. Native and imported oak was practically the `universal timber' for furniture till the Restoration and remained in use in country districts throughout the eighteenth century for `yeoman' and farmhouse furniture. The `age of oak' 1100-1660.

Objets d'Art: Valuable small items that cannot be classified under other headings.

Oeben, Jean Francois (?-1763): One of the greatest of French cabinet-makers who made much furniture for Louis XV; particularly esteemed are his superbly made bureaux, elaborately fitted with secret drawers and locking devices. Oeben is said to have died a bankrupt (a small marquetry table of his sold at Christie's in 1958 for 34,000 guineas), but his widow continued the business, which thrived when she married his former assistant, Riesener (q.v.).

Ogee: (Cyma Reversa) A moulding consisting of a double curve, convex above and concave below.

Ogee Bowl: A favoured shape for the bowl of drinking glasses in the second half of the eighteenth century. The bowl curves out from the stem, then in a little and then out again-like an elongated S.

Okawachi: Japanese porcelain factory near Arita; founded in the mid-seventeenth century; made stoneware and porcelain.

Olivewood: A close-grained wood of greenish yellow colour that was used for parquetry, particularly during the late Stuart period.

Omnium: A Whatnot (q.v.).

O'Neale, Jeffrey H.: Eighteenth-century ceramic artist and miniaturist who worked at Chelsea and later as an outside decorator did a lot of work for the Worcester porcelain factory.

Opaline: Semi-translucent milk white glass which glows when held up to light.

Opaque-twist: Glass Stems (See Latticino.) Came into favour about 1745 and stayed there till the end of the century.

Ormolu: Bronze, or brass of high purity containing an admixture of zinc, cast in ornamental forms and gilded; the use particularly favoured by the French for furniture mounts, clock-cases, vases, candlesticks, chandeliers. (See next entry.)

Or Moulu: A gilt made from a fusion of finely ground gold with mercury, which came to mean the gilded metal itself, `ormolu'.

Orrery: A mechanism representing the motions of the planets round the sun, invented by George Graham, c. 1700, and named after Charles, Earl of Orrery, for whom a copy of the invention was made.

Ottoman: A backless upholstered sofa in what English cabinetmakers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries supposed to be the Turkish manner. Usually the ottoman is long and low but sometimes the term is used to describe what is little more than an upholstered stool.

Ouchak Rugs: From the great weaving centre of Ouchak in Asia Minor; valuable specimens can be found dating back to the sixteenth century. The earliest have medallion and Turkish scroll designs; `White' Ouchaks with white or ivory ground date from the seventeenth century. Can be very coarse (sixteen to seventy-two knots) but extremely durable and of carpet size.

Outside Decorators: Independent specialists in the decoration of porcelain to whom the factories sent their wares in the `biscuit' state for painting, enamelling and gilding. Some Outside Decorators purchased the undecorated porcelain; others solicited work.

Over-glaze: Decoration applied to pottery and porcelain after glazing.

Overlay Glass: See Cased Glass.

Ovolo: A convex moulding of which the section is a quartercircle. The popular term is 'quarter-round'. Ovolo mouldings with egg-and-dart enrichment was a favoured ornament on furniture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Owl Jug: Jug in the form of an owl; the detachable head is a cup. Made in earthenware (and stoneware) from as early as the mid-sixteenth century in Germany, and a popular Staffordshire product of the eighteenth century.

Oyster Veneer: Veneer made up of discs (cross-sections) of wood cut from branches of trees and laid together as parquetry. Finely grained light-coloured woods were used.