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IF YOU ARE NEW TO ANTIQUES AND COLLECTABLES OR WERE AFRAID TO ASK THEN THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION OF COMMON ANTIQUE TERMS SHOULD HELP YOU.
1./ An antique is an item over 100 years old,however recently, 50 years is considered Antique.
2./Mint condition means,as good as the day it was made,or,as near perfect as is possible.
3./Firing cracks,marks.These are not damage but faults that occured when the Pottery or Porcelain was made.It usually happened in the Kilns.
4./Hairline cracks. These are very fine cracks which are not normally visible to the naked eye, but are seen under an eyeglass,
5./ Circa or "C" placed in front of a date, means that the item can be dated to ten years either side of that date.
6./Hard Paste. This is a term applied to Continental porcelain, usually Europe, but not Great Britain.Germany was renowned for it's hard paste Porcelain.
7./Soft Paste Porcelain. This is the term usually applied to Porcelain made in Great Britain.It is a softer porcelain mixture, but the French also made soft paste porcelain.
8./ Pottery. This is Earthenware/Not translucent like Porcelain when held over a light.
9./ The Victorian Period, was divided into three sections because of the unusually long reign of Queen Victoria,1837-1901. Therefore you will see Early,Middle and Late Victorian, these are terms applied to Furniture and ceramics.
10./ Other Periods that are older than Victorian , can be called,Elizabethan, Carolean,Queen Anne, William and Mary and Georgian.etc.,
11./ Edwardian. Post 1901 to Approximately World War 1, but the actual demise of Edward the 7th was earlier in 1910/11.
12./Fairings. These were small ornaments made cheaply in Germany for the British market,in fact Germany made a tremendous amount of English Souvenier ware.Fairings depicted comical household scenes, with a caption written underneath the scene, saying something like "Last to bed turns off the light" and "Coming home at 3'o'clock in the morning". Fairings were sometimes very "Risque", quite unlike the prim and proper Victorians!. Some Fairings were made in Bisque, that is unglazed porcelain,or Matt porcelain.These Fairings showed in the main children with dogs and cats, or at play with other children.Some had writing and some didn't.
13./Matchstrikers. These again were little highly glazed ornaments made in Germany,showing scenes of Children at play etc., and they had a ribbed area, normally on the back,for striking the Vestas on (Old word for matches) also there was normally a receptacle like a small spill for holding the Vestas.
14./Staffordshire.> A) Famous Pottery area of Great Britain,renowned for hundreds of Victorian potteries, many are still in existence today,including very famous named potteries like Royal Doulton and Wedgwood.
14./Staffordshires>B) Popular Victorian name for Staffordshire ornaments,these are larger than Fairings and made in Britain,from around the beginning of the 1800's to the early part of the 20th century. Staffordshire figures are a complex and difficult area for the beginner to master as there has been a constant reproducing of these ornaments, even up to the present time.Staffordshire figures represented a pictorial view of olde England as seen through the eyes of uneducated ,working class people. There were Staffordshire figures of Kings and Queens,Famous Army Generals,Murderers,Sporting scenes,Farming scenes,Circus and entertainers,and so on with the list being endless.We have a special section devoted to Staffordshire Figures on The Glamorgan antiques website, please refer to this for a more detailed description.
15./ Enamels. Types of hard paints used to decorate Porcelain and Pottery.
16./ Spongeware. Patterns found on pottery that were applied to the glaze with the use of Sponges by untrained pottery assistants.
17./ Swansea Cottage. The old Welsh name for Gaudy Welsh China.
18./Transfer Printed. Scenes transferred onto white unglazed china before the firing process.
19./Jackfield ware. Area of Shropshire,famous for it's black glazed china in Victorian times
20./Jasper ware. Wedgwood is the most famous pottery associated with Jasper ware,in fact Wedgwood invented this process. It shows classical scenes in relief,in white, "standing" on the Matt surface of the Jug etc., but also found on lustrous surfaces too.
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