Gavin Douglas Fine Antiques Ltd.

Fine Antique Clocks & Decorative Gilt Bronze

 

Glossary of Terms for Antique Clocks and Gilt Bronze Objets d'Art

 
  • Ravrio , Antoine-Andre:  (1759-1814 , maître 1777) was an prolific Parisian bronzier of the first rank, best known for his work in the Neo Classical style of the Empire. In 1786 he took over the firm of a marchand–mercier for whom he had worked, making and selling a wide range of decorative objects as well as furniture mounts. Among his specialities were clock cases which he often sold under his own name.
  • Aalto, Alvar:  1898-1976) Finish architect and furniture designer whose work during the 1920s and 30s had an enormous impact on 20thC design. Although mass-produced, Aalto's furniture is highly original, distinguished by clean, simple lines and curves, and the innovative use of materials such as moulded plywood and tubular steel.
  • Adam, Robert:  Neoclassical architect and interior designer.(1728 - 1792).
  • Aesthetic movement :  A decorative arts movement that had a Japanese influence, it flourished in Britain from circa.1870, and was a forerunner to Art Nouveau. This movement was not recognised in France or Europe but was in the USA. It overlapped with the Arts and Crafts movement although it had started to decline by the late 1880s.
  • Agate:  A fine grained quartz used as a semi precious stone in intaglio and cameo work and also in some items of jewellery such as signet rings and brooches, particularly in the 19th Century. When it is polished it reveals various tones of oranges and soft browns, blues, greens or greys and often has irregular milky bands.
  • Aide-mémoire :  A decorated slim case, fitted with a pencil and note pad, usually measuring about 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 1/4 ins. The ivory leaves of the 18th Century aides-mémoire, or tablettes, continued until the early 20th Century some however have been replaced with paper. The cases were decorated for example with gold, silver, ivory, enamel and tortoiseshell.
  • Alabaster :  A marble like mineral which is finely grained and dense, a form of gypsum. It is usually white, yellow or red in colour, and becomes translucent when it is thinly cut. It is easy to carve and was fashionable for pedestals, vases,portrait busts and clock cases in the late 18th Century and again in Circa 1890.
  • Albert :  A single or double chain that was metal with a bar for securing in a buttonhole at one end, and a swivel attachment to hold a pocket watch at the other end. In 1845 Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert was presented with one of these by a Birmingham jeweller, and so this was how it was named.
  • Alexandrite :  A gem that was discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1830, on the birthday of Tsar Alexander II. It is of green or greenish brown in colour, and when put under artificial light it glints various shades of red. There is a synthetic form of corundum which shows similar colour changes and is available to purchase in the middle east, it is sold as alexandrite, but has very little value.
  • Alexandrite glass :  Transparent art glass that has colour graduations of yellow through to rose and blue and was produced by continuing the reheating of parts of the glass. This process originated from Thomas Webb & Sons, a Stourbridge glasshouse, in 1886. The later versions had designs which were cut through an outer shell of rose and blue glass to reveal a clear yellow base beneath
  • Alloy :  A metal, which is formed by the melting of two or more elements together for example zinc, tin and cooper. Metals are normally used in the form of alloys to make them more durable and easier to work with.
  • Amalgam :  An alloy of mercury with one or more other metals For example, gold, silver or tin.
  • Amber :  A normally yellowish translucent fossilized resin deriving from extinct trees and used in jewellery. The best quality amber is clear, and rare specimens contain embedded insects - These can be introduced artificially.
  • Amboyna :  A wood that is reddish brown, durable and has a tight grain, it comes from the East Indies. It is a variety of Padouk, it was used by cabinet makers because of its highly decorative affect in inlay, and banding in the 18th Century and the 19th Century.
  • American Colonial Style:  A term used for North American furniture and architectural style from the early 17th Century pioneer settlements to the establishment of the federal government in 1789.
  • American Federal Style:  American furniture from the early years of American independence (1789 - 1830) it would generally have been adorned with patriotic or military symbols for example the eagle.
  • Amethyst :  A semi precious stone of a violet to a deep purple form of quartz.
  • Amorini :  An Italian term used for the winged cupids which were popular ornamental subjects during the renaissance and afterwards. On the cresting and on the front stretchers of chairs and tables they were features.
  • Amphora :  A jar with a round body and a narrow neck that had two handles, they were used in ancient Greece, Rome and China for storing oil and wine.
  • Ampulla :  A container with two handles used in ancient Rome for storing wine or water, since then have been used as a decorative vessel.
  • Argentan.:   Alloy of copper, nickel and aluminium, used by jewellers and sometimes as the base material for watch cases.
  • Baccarat:  Founded in 1764, a leading French glassworks. The first products were soda glass tableware and window glass. High quality lead crystal and decorative glassware started to be produced from 1816. Particularly noted for Millefiori paperweights and sulphides, which have been popular and collectable from the mid -19th Century.
  • Back board:  The wooden backing to case furniture or a framed mirror. Higher quality 18th and early 19th Century furniture usually has back boards. Plywood became more popular from the late 19th Century.
  • Backstaff:  Navigational instrument that has rods supporting two scaled arcs, this was invented by an Englishman called John Davis in 1954. The observer would stand with his back to the sun and align one scale on the horizon, the other on the shadow cast by its sighting piece. Both the readings added together gave the sun's height and then the latitude could be calculated.
  • Baff :  The Farsi word for 'knot' in the context of carpets. Armeni-baff are knotted by Armenians; bibi-baff are, strictly speaking, very finely woven rugs knitted by a bibi (princess) of the bakhtiari nomads of central Persia, but came to be used to describe any finely knitted bakhtiari rug.
  • Bail handle :  A simple, curved metal handle, as in a semicircular drawer pull, or the handle of a kettle.
  • Bain, Alexander :  (c.1811-77) Scottish clock-maker and scientist who patented the first ELECTRIC CLOCK in 1840.
  • Baize :  Loose-woven, woollen material, usually dyed green or red and used from the 17thC to describe a flannel-like cloth produced in the eastern counties of England. It was used for covering card and billiard tables, and for lining drawer
  • Bakelite :  A durable, opaque, easily dyed plastic patented by Leo Backland in 1907. It is a 'thermosetting' plastic - the ingredients heated under pressure in a mould, resulkting in a very hard, heat-resistant material. Bakelite was used for cheap ART DECO jewellery, in the form of imitation amber or jet buckles, for example - ornaments and numerous other articles, from ashtrays to radio cabinets.
  • Balance :  A wheel in a clock or watch that regulates the action of the ESCAPEMENT mechanism and thus of the timepiece itself. Its effect was erratic before the invention c.1675 of the balance spring. This uses a spiral hairspring to make the movement of the balance wheel more regular and ISOCHRONUS; it was as significant a development in the field of portable clocks and watches as the PEBDULUM was for standing clocks. However, the elasticity of the spring is very susceptible to heat and cold, making a spring balance less acurate than a pendulum. The problem was overcome by the development of various forms of compensation balance form the mid-18thC, especially in association with the development of CHRONOMETERS.
  • Baluster :  A turned column or post, usually one of many supporting a rail to form a balustrade. The shape is seen in table legs and chair backs, drinking-glass stems and silverware.
  • Bamboo furniture :  Furniture made either from, or in imitation of, bamboo. It was popular during the vogue for CHINOISERIE in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, usually crafted in strong woods such as beech and then turned, curved and painted to imitate real bamboo. A late Victorian craze for genuine bamboo furniture resulted in an abundance of rather fragile tables, bookcases, chairs, WHATNOTS and pot stands; in the USA at the same time, sturdier simualted forms were fashionable.
  • Banding:  A decorative, INLAID or VENEER strip, in contrasting wood or sometimes metal. Banding may be used as a border on a door panel, table top or drawer front. Straight banding is cut along the grain of the wood; cross banding is cut across the grain; feather banding or herringbone banding is formed of two narrow pieces of veneer laid at an angle to each other to give a chevron effect. Very fine banding is known as stringing or line inlay.
  • Banjo clock :  Pendulum WALL CLOCK resembling an upturned banjo, introduced by the Willard family of clock-makers in Boston, USA. Many reproductions were made in the late 19th to mid 20th centuries
  • Barograph :  A type of ANEROID BAROMETER that records air pressure, introduced in the 18thC. The aneroid mechanism moves a pen against a slowly turning drum on which a graph is mounted.
  • Barometer :  Instrument for registering atmospheric pressure and forecasting weather conditions, first made in the late 17thC. See ANEROID, ANGLE, FITZROY, STICK and WHEEL BAROMETERS.
  • Baroque pearls :  Pearls of irregular shape that were widely used in Baroque and Renaissance jewellery of the 15th to 17th centuries. The pearls were often decorated with gemstones or enamelling to take the form of mythological figures.
  • Baroque Style :  An extravagant and heavily ornate style born from the architechture of 17thC Italy. For the first time, sculptors played a crucial role in the design of furniture, ceramics, ivory and silver, joining forces with gilders and earning recognition as craftsman in their own right rather than as the employees of joiners and CABINET-MAKERS. Their influence was evident in elborate, rather architectural furniture and in the abundance of cupids, carnucopias, and other such decoration set in symmetrical, curvaceous designs. The style dominated the decorative arts thoughout Europe in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and in a less elaborate form in the USA during the first half of the 18thC. It paved the way for the lighter, more frivolous and colourful ROCOCO.
  • Barrel :  A hollow, cylindrical metal box or drum in a clock or watch that contains the driving or going spring and is connected ti the first wheel in the TRAIN. The casing has, from c.1580-1600, almost universally been of brass. A going barrel has the first wheel of the train mounted in the same ARBOR, thus dispensing with the two-part FUSEE. It was used for the striking trains of the 17thC German Renaissance clocks from c.1680, as it gives adequate timekeeping for most domestic purposes.
  • basalt ware :  A very hard abd fine-grained STONEWARE made by a number of Staffordshire potters and improved by WEDGEWOOD c.1768. It found a ready market as a relatively cheap medium for reproducing, in ceramic form, the Classical bronzes abnd cameos which were popular in the late 18thC. Products included vases (some examples are bronze-glazed), large busts, medallions and domestic pots.
  • Base metals :  The term for all non-precious metals including copper, lead, iron and tin and their alloys such as brass, pewter, bronze and nickel silver.
  • Baskerville, John :  (1706-75) Although best known as a typographer, Baskerville was also a key manufacturer of JAPANNED metalware. He was based in Birmingham and is credited with intriducing polychrome painting on japanned bases.
  • Basket-top clock :  A BRACKET CLOCK with either a REPOUSSE metal dome or a cushion-moulded (flat-topped with curved edges) wood dome.
  • Bassine-cased watch :  Shallow, circular pocket watch dating from the mid-17thC, with a rounded cover and back which curves gently into the central band. The case is often finely decorated with enamel.
  • Batavian ware :  Early 18thC CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN named after the Dutch East India Company trading station in Batavia (now Jakarta), Java. It is typically in the form of tea services decorated with blue and white, often fan-shaped panels, and with a coffee-brown glaze on the outer side of bowls and saucers. Copies of the style made at MEISSEN in Germany and LEEDS, England, were also known as Batavian and Kapuziner ware.
  • Bateman family :  London family of silversmiths producing domestic silverware in the 18th and 19th centuries. Hester Bateman (1708-94), the best known member, was trained by her husband John, and on his death carried on the business with her sons. A vast amount of domestic silver marked by its grace of line and simplicity of decoration was produced with her mark, including tableware, snuffboaxes, seals and wine labels. Hester retired in 1790, and her sons Peter and Jonathan, and Jonathan's wife, Ann carried on the firm. The change in management was marked by substituting a thread decoration for Hester's beading. Ann Bateman's son William took the business - and the style of Bateman silver - into the Victorian era.
  • Battersea enamel:  Factory based in Battersea, London, specialising in items such as snuffboxes, plaques, wine labels, and watch and toothpick cases. Early porcelain boxes made at CHEALSEA had Battersea enamel lids. Designs were often transfer-printed onto a white enamel ground, then painted in delicate colours. The factory, run by John Brooks, pioneer of the TRANSFER-PRINTING process, only lasted three years (1753-6) but its influence lived on in enamelware produced in South Staffordshire and Birmingham.
  • Bauhaus :  A German school of design founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius, an architect-designer. The Bauhaus aimed to produce prototype designs for everyday, mass-produced items. It explored the amnufacturing processes and new materials of the 'machine age' such as stainless steel and plastics, and coordinated the skills of architects, engineers, painters, sculptors and designers. The school was closed by the Nazis in 1933, but revived in the German city of Ulm after the war and insired industrial design in the mid-20thC.
  • beadwork :  A form of embroidering textiles using small, coloured glass beads with, or instead of, needlework. Beadwork was a popular covering for small boxes and mirror frames in late 16th and 17th-century Europe, particularly in Britain, and in the 19thC for chair covers, purses, pictures and other objects
  • Beauvais :  Centre for weaving in northern France. The Beauvais Tapestry Factory was founded in 1664, and ultimately amalgamated with GOBELINS in 1940. Typical Beauvais tapestries - in the form of wall-hangings, carpets and furniture covers - have COMMEDIA DELL'ART scenes or extracts from contemporary paintings, framed by heavily festooned drapes; Classical and CHINOISERIE motifs are also seen. They are brilliantly coloured, often with a dominant yellow ground known as 'Spanish tobacco'. From 1725, imitation Beauvais tapestries were made in Berlin. The 19thC brought specialisation in furniture covers.
  • Behrens, Peter :  (1868-1940) German illustrator, architect, craftsman and designer of industrial and domestic fittings. Behrens's early furniture, ceramics, jewellery and glass designs were in ART NOVEAU style, but by 1898 he was designing simple, stream-lined household onjects for commercial production. He was a founder member of the DEUTSCHER WERKBUND, 1907, a group of German artists and manufacturers. LE CORBUSIER, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe all worked under Behrens c.1910.
  • Belle époque.:  French term meaning “beautiful era”, referring to the period between approximately 1890 and 1920.
  • Belleek :  A ceramics factory in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, founded in 1857. Its speciality was a delicate PARIAN procelain. Wares are wholly or partly treated with a clear or pearlised, and sometimes iridescent, glaze. Belleek table and ornamental items are often decorated with or in the shape of shells and other marine life. Porcelain strips woven into baskets and perforated designs are also typical.
  • Berain, Jean :  (1637-1711) French draughtsman, engraver and designer, and one of the originators of the LOUIS XIV style. Berain worked as court designer from 1674, and his published symmetrical designs influenced ornamentation on contemporary furniture, carpets and silverware. Mid-18thC Moustiers FAIENCE was very often decorated in so-called style Berainesque.
  • Berlin ironwork:  Fine cast iron models of Lion's etc in the Grand Tour style, also jewellery. Early 19thC cast-iron jewellery made principally in Germany. People were given Berlin iron in exchange for their precious jewellery to boost the Prussian State gold reserves. Items such as brooches, necklaces and crosses in CLASSICAL or GOTHIC-style designs were typically crafted in delicate OPENWORK patterns and laquered black. Production continued in Germany and Paris until the end of the 19thC.
  • Bevel :  General term for any edge cut at an angle to a flat surface.
  • Bezel :  1 Metal rim holding the glass or watch or clock face. 2 Metal rim or band set around the edge inside the shutting edge of a container.3 Rim or setting edge of a ring that holds the stone or ornament, often loosely applied to the whole setting.
  • Blue John:  Blue John A type of Crystalline fluorspar with bands of yellow, purple, blue and white, mined in Derbyshire. It was popular in the late 18th and late 19th centuries, when it was used for OBJECTS OF VERTU, candlesticks and candelabra.
  • Bois Durci:  Bois durci \Bois" dur`ci"\ [F., hardened wood.] A hard, highly polishable composition, made of fine sawdust from hard wood (as rosewood) mixed with blood, and pressed.
  • Carat.:  Standard of fineness of gold. The fine-gold content of an alloy of 1 carat represents 1/24 of the weight of the alloy. An alloy of 12 carats contains 12/24 of gold; one of 18 carats 18/24. Pure gold is 24 carats. Unit of weight for precious stones, equal to 0.205 g. This unit is now superseded by the metric carat, which is equal to 0.200 g.
  • Cartel Clock.:  Small wall clock, usually of highly ornamental design.
  • Cartouche.:  Clockmaker’s term denoting a raised ornament, on a dial, for instance, numerals painted on white enamel circles, with or without ornament. On cases an unfurled scroll shaped device often engraved with a monogram.
  • Champlevé.:  adj. Refers to an area hollowed out with a graver in a sheet of metal, to take enamel. Champlevé enamels.
  • Chasing.:  The art of the chaser; chased work: to carve decoration and or detail into metals using fine chisels.
  • Damascening :  Process of setting fine pieces of contrasting metals into a metal body, such as the blade of a sword or a casket for decoration. Originally developed in the Near East, and then adopted in Europe in the 17th Century. Gold, Silver and copper wires were inserted into fine grooves cut into an iron, brass or bronze body and then hammered into the surface.
  • Damask:   A fabric that is reversible and used for curtains, table linen and upholstery. It was originally woven in silk and then later in linen, wool and man made fibres. With silver or gold threads it is known as Damassin.
  • de Lamerie, Paul :  de Lamerie, Paul (1688-1751) Dutch silversmith who became the leading London silversmith of his time, and who, in 1716, was appointed goldsmith to King George I. De Lamerie's early work from 1713 includes domestic silverware in queen anne and huguenot styles.
  • de Morgan, William:  de Morgan, William (1839-1917) Leading British ceramics designer whose work was inspired by William morris, with whom he set up a pottery at Merton Abbey, London. De Morgan's most characteristic work includes his early tiles and pottery with lustre decoration and ceramics influenced by hispano-moresque colours and designs. He also ran a studio pottery in Fulham, London, from 1888 to 1907.
  • Dent, Edward:  Dent, Edward (1790-1853) Clock-maker noted for his pocket watches, marine chronometers and the construction of the 'Big Ben' clock in London (which was completed by his stepson, Frederick). Dent was in partnership with John arnold 1830-40 and then worked on his own.
  • Design registration System :  introduced 1842 enabling British craftsmen and designers to take out patents on their original designs. Registered designs are marked with a symbol or number - a diamond-shaped mark was used 1842-83 and thereafter the letters RD followed by up to six digits were used. The marks are not a guide to the date of manufacture as they relate only to the design, which might continue for many years
  • Dial:  dial The 'face' of a clock or watch on which the time, calendar or astronomical information is registered. The term can refer to the whole face or to the individual discs or rings, such as the calendar dial, on which the periods of time are inscribed. Dials first appeared c. 1350. Previously, hours were recorded by a single strike of a bell. A dial plate is the metal plate in a clock or watch which is attached to the front plate of the movement, and to which the metal chapter ring or enamel dial is fixed.
  • die :  die Any of various devices used for cutting out, forming or stamping a material. In coins, for example, the designs on each of the two sides of the blank are struck simultaneously by a pair of dies or punches, either by hand or machine; usually the more complicated obverse die, or pile, is fixed on a solid base, while the reverse die, or trussel, moves up and down.
  • Directoire style:  Directoire style French decorative furniture style which peaked during the Directoire government (1795-9). The style was a simplified and austere version of the Louis XVI style. Minimal decoration was used, and Republican symbols - such as the cap of liberty and the fasces (a bundle of rods bound around an axe) - appear frequently on furniture, faience and textiles. The Directoire style merged into the empire period.
  • Distressed :  distressed Trade term for a work of art, normally a piece of furniture in obvious need of repair. The term is also used to describe a wood surface which has become rough and uneven through age, or which has been made to appear older than it is.
  • Dog of Fo:  dog of Fo Stylised Chinese Buddhist lion (Fo means Buddha), in Chinese mythology one of a facing pair of temple guardians. They are found as modelled figures in painted decoration on porcelain. The Japanese version is called shi'shi
  • Drum clock :  drum clock 1 Early table clock with a drum-shaped case often of gilt brass and especially popular in the 16thC. 2 Late 18th or 19thC French clock movement fitted into a brass, drum-shaped case.
  • Duplex:  duplex See escapement
  • Hermes:  Hermes, the herald of the Olympian gods, is the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of the Pleiades. Hermes is the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. Most importantly, he is the messenger of the gods. Besides that he was also a minor patron of poetry. He was worshiped throughout Greece -- especially in Arcadia -- and festivals in his honor were called Hermoea. According to legend, Hermes was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Zeus had impregnated Maia at the dead of night while all other gods slept. When dawn broke amazingly he was born. Maia wrapped him in swaddling bands, then resting herself, fell fast asleep. Hermes, however, squirmed free and ran off to Thessaly. This is where Apollo, his brother, grazed his cattle. Hermes stole a number of the herd and drove them back to Greece. He hid them in a small grotto near to the city of Pylos and covered their tracks. Before returning to the cave he caught a tortoise, killed it and removed its entrails. Using the intestines from a cow stolen from Apollo and the hollow tortoise shell, he made the first lyre. When he reached the cave he wrapped himself back into the swaddling bands. When Apollo realized he had been robbed he protested to Maia that it had been Hermes who had taken his cattle. Maia looked to Hermes and said it could not be, as he is still wrapped in swaddling bands. Zeus the all powerful intervened saying he had been watching and Hermes should return the cattle to Apollo. As the argument went on, Hermes began to play his lyre. The sweet music enchanted Apollo, and he offered Hermes to keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre. Apollo later became the grand master of the instrument, and it also became one of his symbols. Later while Hermes watched over his herd he invented the pipes known as a syrinx (pan-pipes), which he made from reeds. Hermes was also credited with inventing the flute. Apollo, also desired this instrument, so Hermes bartered with Apollo and received his golden wand which Hermes later used as his heralds staff. (In other versions Zeus gave Hermes his heralds staff). Being the herald (messenger of the gods), it was his duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld, which is known as a psychopomp. He was also closely connected with bringing dreams to mortals. Hermes is usually depicted with a broad-brimmed hat or a winged cap, winged sandals and the heralds staff (kerykeion in Greek, or Caduceus in Latin). It was often shown as a shaft with two white ribbons, although later they were represented by serpents intertwined in a figure of eight shape, and the shaft often had wings attached. The clothes he donned were usually that of a traveler, or that of a workman or shepherd. Other symbols of Hermes are the cock, tortoise and purse or pouch. Originally Hermes was a phallic god, being attached to fertility and good fortune, and also a patron of roads and boundaries. His name coming from herma, the plural being hermaiherm was a square or rectangular pillar in either stone or bronze, with the head of Hermes (usually with a beard), which adorned the top of the pillar, and male genitals near to the base of the pillar. These were used for road and boundary markers. Also in Athens they stood outside houses to help fend off evil. In Athens of 415 BCE, shortly before the Athenian fleet set sail against Syracuse (during the Peloponnesian War), all the herms throughout Athens were defaced. This was attributed to people who were against the war. Their intentions were to cast bad omens on the expedition, by seeking to offend the god of travel. (This has never been proved as the true reason for the mutilation of the herms.) The offspring of Hermes are believed to be Pan, Abderus and Hermaphroditus. Hermes as with the other gods had numerous affairs with goddesses, nymphs and mortals. In some legends even sheep and goats. Pan, the half man half goat, is believed to be the son of Hermes and Dryope, the daughter of king Dryops. Pan terrified his mother when he was born, so much so that she fled in horror at the sight of her new born son. Hermes took Pan to Mount Olympus were the gods reveled in his laughter and his appearance and became the patron of fields, woods, shepherds and flocks. Abderus, a companion of the hero Heracles, is also thought to be a son of Hermes, he was devoured by the Mares of Diomedes, after Heracles had left him in charge of the ferocious beasts. Hermaphroditus (also known as Aphroditus) was conceived after the union of Hermes and Aphrodite. He was born on Mount Ida but he was raised by the Naiads (nymphs of freshwater). He was a androgynous (having the characteristics of both sexes) deity, depicted as either a handsome young man but with female breasts, or as Aphrodite with male genitals. It was Hermes who liberated Io, the lover of Zeus, from the hundred-eyed giant Argus, who had been ordered by Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, to watch over her. Hermes charmed the giant with his flute, and while Argos slept Hermes cut off his head and released Io. Hera, as a gesture of thanks to her loyal servant, scattered the hundred eyes of Argos over the tail of a peacock (Heras' sacred bird). Hermes also used his ingenuity and abilities to persuade the nymph Calypso to release Odysseus, the wandering hero, from her charms. She had kept Odysseus captive, after he was shipwrecked on her island Ogygia, promising him immortality if he married her, but Zeus sent Hermes to release Odysseus. Legend says that Calypso died of grief when Odysseus sailed away. Hermes also saved Odysseus and his men from being transformed into pigs by the goddess and sorceress Circe. He gave them a herb which resisted the spell. Hermes also guided Eurydice back down to the underworld after she had been allowed to stay for one day on earth with her husband Orpheus. Known for his swiftness and athleticism, Hermes was given credit for inventing foot-racing and boxing. At Olympia a statue of him stood at the entrance to the stadium and his statues where in every gymnasium throughout Greece. Apart from herms, Hermes was a popular subject for artists. Both painted pottery and statuary show him in various forms, but the most fashionable depicted him as a good-looking young man, with an athletic body, and winged sandals and his heralds staff. His Roman counterpart Mercury inherited his attributes, and there are many Roman copies of Greek artistic creations of Hermes.
  • Maenad:  Maenads were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the retinue of Dionysus. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a pine cone, weave ivy-wreaths around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.
  • Rochat:   FR (Frères Rochat) Sons of David Rochat (1746-1812), who was received Master watchmaker in 1766 - François Elisée, Frédéric, and Samuel Henri. David Rochat and sons worked for Jaquet-Droz and Leschot, providing ebauches of singing bird mechanisms, at the end of the 18th century. Around 1813, these three Rochat brothers moved to Geneva and went into business on their own, soon splitting up into two groups. François remained on his own (later aided by his son, Ami Napoléon), and Frédéric and Samuel worked together, (with Frédéric's sons, Antoine and Louis). FR is usually thought to stand for these Rochat brothers, although it is possible that the signature FR may stand for a single name: François Rochat, or Frederic Rochat. There were also other Rochats working in Geneva at the time. Among them is Louis Rochat, originally from l'Abbaye in the Vallée de Joux, who is considered to be the maker of a piece with clock and singing birds (today in the Peking Museum) which won a prize from the Genevan Réunion des Industriels in 1829. In 1814, Louis and his brother François formed an association along with Pierre Daniel Campiche, called Frères Rochat et Compagnie. To complicate matters, there were ties between the various Rochats. For example, Louis Rochat from l'Abbaye worked with Antoine (son of Frédéric) for a time, around 1850. It is however clear that the Rochat family produced a majority of the fi nest and most complex singing bird objects.
  • Thyrsus:  A wand tipped with a pine cone, sometimes when used as a mount it can have a pine cone at both ends. It is an attribute of Bacchus and of his attendants the Satyrs. The pine cone is a symbol of fertility.