Comport, Compote and Tazza - a reflection on the terminology of antiques by a guest contributor.

Nicoleta Cherechesiu, the prime member of Auld Curiosities and she is also responsible for helping with my terrible typing mistakes - for which I am eternally grateful. I have her kind permission to publish some thoughts that she shared...


"I saw a "Beautiful Webb Corbett footed comport" among the items on Auld Curiosities and, if I didn't see the image, I confess that I wouldn't have known what a "comport" is. I was curious enough to start looking for the term. I ran to the dictionaries on the internet, but all the references led me to the word “comportment” or variations of it. Finally I found out that some terms in the antiques and collectibles world come from the era when the items were produced and that the origin of the word “comport” is the 16th-century variation of “compote”. And still there is another word in the family : "tazza", an Italian word first used in XIX century. Mainly, all these three words describe footed bowls or plates but there are some differences. While a tazza designates “a shallow cup or vase on a pedestal” and can be purely ornamental, a compote is strictly a serving dish for food and can be made of glass but also , porcelain, or metal usually with a base and stem from which fruits, compotes, nuts, or sweets are served. There are differences between compotes and comports. Compotes look  like vases or candy dishes and usually have a lid while comports are usually more of a bowl form or have a saucer appearance like the “Webb Corbett footed comport” on this website. The advantage of knowing these obsolete terms is that buyers can look for and find the wonderful objects on the antique websites where sellers capitalize them as tags in the titles of their items."


Thank you Nicoleta

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