Mad For Majolica

As I continue to see the beautiful items that come into our store each day and my never-ending desire to learn more about them, one of my favorites from the very beginning has been majolica.  It's the color!  The color of majolica pieces are bright and fun, with naturalistic shapes that are whimsical, designed in the shape of leaf and vegetable.


So what is majolica?  One definition states that it is "a kind of earthenware made in imitation of Italian maiolica, especially in England during the 19th century." Another states "earthenware covered with an opaque tin glaze and decorated on the glaze before firing," and ,finally, "a 19th century earthenware modeled in naturalistic shapes and glazed in lively colors."  I choose the later definition because as Mariann Katz-Marks describes in her book The Collector's Encyclopedia of Majolica, "Welcome to the wonderful world of Majolica: where cauliflower turn into teapots, fans become ice cream dishes, pickles are served from begonia leaves, and sugar is spooned from a pineapple."

Set of Four Majolica Geranium Leaf Butter Pats

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Barrel Staves and Floral Majolica Platter

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Parrot Pitcher

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You are likely to find these pieces displayed as a collection on an oak Welsh dresser, tabletop using a plate stand, or hanging on the wall.  Wherever they may be displayed, the colors are striking. As with most collectible pieces, you will find that you can focus your collection on certain aspects such as English Majolica (Wedgwood, Minton, George Jones, and Holdcroft) or American versions such as Etruscan Majolica made by the Pennsylvania Firm Griffin, Smith and Hill.  In her book, Ms. Katz-Marks gives the good advice to structure your collection around what appeals to you.  For example, I have begun a collection of pieces where the primary color is turquoise, although I still have a soft spot for the classic green Wedgwood majolica strawberry leaf plates.

Strawberry Plate similar to Wedgwood Plate

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Begonia Cornered Platter

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Nautilus Shell Form Majolica Centerpiece

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One of the best sources I have found (and I adore the name of this blog) is Glazed and Confused.  If you are really interested in learning more about majolica, he keeps his blog up to date and provides a wealth of information on the subject.  I enjoy checking in from time to time.  I hope you will take the time to learn a little more about majolica: these beautiful antique pieces that were once functional kitchenware but are now considered pieces of art.

Happy Collecting!




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