Specialist terms and phrases

Read the Trusted Source articles about specialist terms and phrases...

Maiolica plate painted by Francesco Xanto Avelli showing Pyramus and Thisbe Made in Urbino, Italy, 1534.

What are maiolica and majolica? 

Maiolica and majolica are names used for different types of ceramics produced from the late-medieval period onwards. The names are sometimes used interchangeably which can lead to confusion.

The Palladian Bridge, and house (not owned by the NT) in the distance, at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset

What is Palladianism? 

Palladianism was an approach to architecture strongly influenced by the sixteenth century architect Andrea Palladio. Characterised by Classical forms, symmetry, and strict proportion, the exteriors of Palladian buildings were often austere. Inside, however, elaborate decoration, gilding and ornamentation created a lavish, opulent environment.

A River Landscape with Jacob and Laban and his Daughters, by Claude Lorrain, 1654

What is the picturesque?  

The picturesque is an aesthetic category developed in the eighteenth-century. It was associated with fashionable landscape gardening, however its cultural significance extended far beyond this.

Chromolithograph of The signing of the Armistice, November 11th 1918 by Pollard

What was the Armistice? 

The Armistice was the ceasefire that ended hostilities between the Allies and Germany on the 11th of November 1918. The Armistice did not end the First World War itself, but it was the agreement which stopped the fighting on the Western Front.

Panoramic view of Levant Mine near St Just in Cornwall

What is the Anthropocene? 

The Anthropocene is the idea that the Earth is entering a new epoch in its geological history, in which human beings have for the first time become the primary agents of change on a planetary scale.

Petworth House from the Lake: Dewy Morning, painting by JMW Turner, c. 1810

What is Romanticism? 

Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement which took place in Europe between the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries.

Henry VIII depicted in 16th century stained glass at The Vyne.

What was the Reformation? 

The Reformation was a European-wide conflict over the hearts and minds of Christendom which gave rise to the distinction between Catholic and Protestant.

Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 1908 by Dean and Son Ltd.

What is the Peerage? 

The Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom is comprised of the Lords Spiritual - the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and twenty-four other bishops - and five ranks of secular peers.

Mary Victoria Leiter, Lady Curzon (1870-1906) by Fransz Seraph von Lenbach

Who were the titled Americans? 

Over 300 British aristocrats married American women between 1870 and 1914. While popular perception understands these marriages as arranged trades of titles for dollars, this explanation is correct for only a few exceptional cases.

The octagonal dovecote in the Walled Garden at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk

What is a dovecote? 

Dovecotes are structures designed to house pigeons or doves. They are also referred to as ‘culverhouses’ (English), ‘columbaria’ (Latin) and ‘doocots’ (Scots).

‘Love Among the Ruins’ by Burne-Jones displayed in the Great Parlour, Wightwick Manor

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites? 

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a nineteenth century art movement founded in 1848 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and several of their friends.

One of a pair of Coade stone sphinxes at the south front portico of the house at Croome Park

What is Coade stone? 

First marketed at the turn of the 1770s, Coade stone was a remarkable new building material. Using a recipe which was not fully understood until the 1990s, its makers claimed to have produced the first ever ‘artificial stone’. Tough and hard-wearing, it offered new opportunities for fine-detailed decoration. Just as extraordinary as the stone was the person who sold it: Eleanor Coade, one of the few women to be acknowledged as a major influence on eighteenth century architecture.

The Tall Pavilion and Long Canal at Westbury Court Garden, Gloucestershire

What is a water garden? 

A ‘water garden’ is a broad term that can be applied to any garden that makes use of water for ornamental effect, be that a series of cascades or a decorative canal.

A view over Housesteads Fort at Hadrians Wall

What is archaeology? 

Archaeology is the study of human society and life in the past through physical remains.

The Egyptian temple in Egypt at Biddulph Grange

What is Egyptomania? 

The term Egyptomania refers to the enthusiasm for everything that is related to ancient Egypt. Although Egyptomania has been seen in many places and at many times, several peaks are especially noteworthy.

Standing Stones at Avebury

What is a World Heritage Site? 

A World Heritage Site is a cultural or natural landmark that has been recognized by UNESCO due to its universal value to humanity, both in the present and for future generations.

Shabti fragment from a box marked 'Minor Egyptian Antiquities', Kingston Lacy

What is a shabti? 

A shabti is a generally mummiform figurine found in many ancient Egyptian tombs. The meaning of the Egyptian term is still debated, however one possible translation is ‘answerer’, as they were believed to answer their master’s call to work in the afterlife.

Geese on water with the Palladian Bridge in the background at Stowe

Who were the Whigs? 

The Whigs were an association of aristocratic men who in the 1670s demanded the exclusion of Charles II’s Catholic brother, James, from the royal succession.

A handcrafted replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet

What are the Beasts of Battle? 

‘Beasts of Battle’ is a recurring image in Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and Old Norse (Viking) poetry. The three beasts are the raven, the eagle, and the wolf, who feast on the bodies of the slain.

A view across a lake with bright sky reflections of clouds in the water to golden style temples at Stowe

How has the English landscape garden developed? 

The English landscape garden is characterised by structured informality. Orderly, aesthetically arranged elements draw attention to local flora and landscape features which appear entirely natural, or even ‘wild’.

Castlerigg Stone Circle in frost at dawn

What was the open space movement? 

From the later nineteenth-century, open space campaigners in England and Wales sought to preserve open space for recreation.

The pale green sitting room at Monk's House

What was the Bloomsbury group? 

The Bloomsbury group was a circle of artists, writers and intellectuals who embraced a culture of sexual equality and freedom, informality and fierce intellectual debate, largely at odds with their strict Victorian upbringings.

The Black Beacon on Orford Ness

What is queer ecology? 

Although it remains a derogatory term in some contexts, the word ‘queer’ has acquired two more positive senses.