Antique Speak

Sometimes there are words that antique dealers use that can be quite confusing if you are not familiar with them. Below is a list that may help those of you who need some help!

Seminaire otherwise spelt as Semainier.

The French word for a tall, narrow chest with typically six or seven drawers, intended to provide a drawer for fresh personal linen for each day of the week.

A tall chest of drawers, or tall boy as the English would have called them.


A Bureau Plat in French, is a writing table or desk that has four legs, and drawers directly under the surface for writing implements.

Versions such as these in beautiful timbers and with stunning gilt bronze mounts were typically used by gentlemen in personal libraries.


A smaller ladies desk is called a Bureau de Dame, they were typically more narrow, with a drop down lid that revealed shelves for papers.


A French chair called a Bergere, is an enclosed lounge chair with upholstered sides, back and armrests.

The wooden framing is typically carved, sometimes, gilded and painted.

Bergeres usually have a loose but tailored cushion, to make them more comfortable.