Thursday, October 21, 2021



From The Magazine Antiques:

In the late nineteenth century, when the colorful and glossy earthenware called majolica was at the height of its popularity, ceramics factory floors teemed in Britain and America. Entrepreneurial owners made fortunes as staff artisans pummeled, sliced, squeezed, and sculpted slabs of clay. Glazes for multiple kiln firings were concocted from antimony, arsenic, manganese, and lead. Buyers of almost every socioeconomic stratum could afford the results of the gritty, arduous manufacturing process.

 Whimsical and astounding creations emerged from the kilns. Along the rims and handles of teapots and vases, monkeys squabbled, sailors sprouted three legs, and deities performed contortionist backbends. Miniature boots, hats, rowboats, lighthouses, and beehives held matches, ink, ferns, toothpicks, and food. Serving pieces and flowerpots also depicted various organisms in mid-decay. Vessels “disguised the dribbling contents of a game pie in a tureen topped with lifelike duck and hare heads, hid a tangle of roots and soil in a planter seemingly woven from sticks and leaves, or preserved smelly Stilton in a cheese dish besieged by mice,” Jo Briggs, a curator at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, writes in a new book, Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915. (Read more.)


From Pender and Peony:

Today, Majolica mostly refers to the Victorian pottery popularized by the English ceramicist Herbert Minton at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Designed for the Minton Factory by Leon Arnoux, Victorian Majolica advanced fanciful charm, visual pun, exuberant colors, and unique forms.

The pottery technique for producing Majolica dates back to 14th century Spain and was then introduced to Italy via the island Majorca. This style of pottery is known as Maiolica. 18th century French Faience is also a direct pre-curser to Majolica. (Read more.)


From Apollo:

The first time I visited the majolica collection of one of the largest lenders to our upcoming exhibition, I remember feeling a bit bewildered by the concentration of material in front of me – shelves upon shelves of teapots and game-pie dishes, jugs and ornamental figures, garden seats and jardinières – many in the form of moulded animals or embellished with exuberant historicist decoration. I recall thinking, where does one begin to understand this glorious excess? The combination of vibrant colours and sheer diversity of objects was reminiscent of a Victorian interior in its density of display, yet it complemented this sleek Manhattan apartment in a wholly contemporary manner. It was the first of many paradoxes that encounters with majolica would present – and this was just the beginning of an ‘Alice Through the Looking-Glass’ type of visual journey that has culminated in the exhibition and catalogue ‘Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915’. (Read more.)

More HERE.


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