Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Aqua Antique-Inspired Majolica

This antique-inspired majolica is as close to the old collection in your grandmother's hutch as we've seen. The beautiful aqua's, greens, and chocolates are so pretty. All of these pieces are so reasonable in price and run in the $30-$40's each. These look wonderful with a small arrangement done in them-I can see the green and brown pitchers being beautiful for Fall.
Majolica mania began in 1851 in London when Herbert Minton delighted the public with a stunning display of new, jewel-toned earthenware, inspired to a large extent by the French and Italian maiolica of the Renaissance and later. Majolica, named after the Spanish island of Majorca, where the first examples of this pottery were said to have been created in the fifteenth century, is defined by the process of its formation as much as by its fantastical designs. It is heavy, richly-coloured clay pottery that is coated with enamel, ornamented with paints and finally glazed. Below is some imagery from an article on Majolica that ran in the March, 2005, issue of Martha Stewart Living and from the book Majolica: A Complete History and Illustrated Survey.
Many Majolica plates depict the food that is meant to be served upon them. (Be careful not to serve food on vintage Majolica platters, since the glazes likely contain lead.) Left row, from top down: a leaf-shaped plate, a lotus blossom plate - for ambrosia, perhaps - and corn-shaped pitchers, possibly American. Center row from top down: A corn platter, pear clusters adorning a brown dessert platter, a bread plate is marked by a starburst of wheat, a plate decorated with grapes. Right row from top down: A banana-leaf fruit plate, a berry plate, a strawberry plate adorned with leaves and flowers.

All the components of an English tea service are arranged on these shelves: creamers, pitchers, teapots, jars and serving plates. Teapots, especially those decorated with monkeys and serpents, are highly prized by collectors. The one formed by a monkey hugging a coconut (top shelf) is by Minton. On the center shelves are rare tea cups, once part of a larger service. Majolica teacups usually had vibrant hot-pink or turquoise interiors. The cabbage teapot with the snaky handle and spout (bottom shelf) is Portugese. The bamboo plate next to it is especially rare.

This green is just beautiful! The Victorian English, with their love of all things natural and unusual, quickly filled their dining rooms, parlours, conservatories and gardens with majolica ewers, candelabras, urns, pitchers, fountains and garden seats all glistening in cobalt, turquoise, lavender, gold and every shade of green known to Mother Nature. Other potters in England, such as Wedgwood, George Jones and Holdcroft, followed Minton's example and offered their own highly-prized majolica collections. Americans, too, caught on and manufactured majolica beginning in the 1890s.