Majolica Pottery


What is Majolica Pottery?

Majolica Pottery

Last Updated on 2 years by admin

Majolica pottery is colorful clay pottery that was first made in Majorca, a Spanish island, in the fourteenth century and was brought to Italy during the Italian Renaissance and then was made there. It was later made in France, England, and the United States. This type of pottery is characterized by its white glaze that was made with tin oxide, a white powdery ash that is expensive and made majolica pottery different from ordinary pottery.

 Majolica pottery also has unique vibrant colors of the paints used to make it. Cobalt blue, turquoise, yellow, white, pink, orange, brown, black, ruby red, and reddish brown are the signature colors for this type of pottery. The designs are dramatic and include historical figures, mythology, flora and fauna, and more.

What type of pottery pieces were made in the majolica pottery style?

Traditional ceramics were made in the majolica style, such as place settings, bowls, jugs, teapots, mugs, and dessert sets. It was also used to make sculptures and sculptural reliefs, smoking paraphernalia, and floor and ceiling tiles. The English pottery companies that made majolica pottery specialized in giant umbrella stands, plant stands, and plant pots with designs of life-sized animals, such as bear cubs, fawns, and herons. 

How is this pottery type made?

The steps to make majolica pottery involves applying a tin enamel, which was made with lead in the earlier process, to earthenware that has been fired. The surface of the pottery is then opaque and white. The painting process is next. This was challenging because the surface was porous and absorbed the paints quickly. The painter needed to have precise control when adding the designs to the pottery.  

This decorative pottery was first made with only original designs for each piece of pottery and later commissioned designs were repeated to make larger quantities, an early version of mass producing it. Later, the pottery was made at factories. One factory made as many as 26,000 teapots in one week. Molds were used and, eventually, the lead was no longer used in the glazes and paints. 

Do people still collect and decorate with majolica pottery?

Majolica pottery became less popular in the early 1900s until the 1960s, when there was a resurgence of people collecting it and using it to decorate their homes, again. Today, finding earlier pieces of Italian pottery from the Italian Renaissance is a trend for collectors. The English-made majolica from Minton, George Jones, and Wedgwood is collected in the United States. These pieces are elegant and grotesque and everything in-between.

The English pottery factories stopped using lead to make pottery in 1870. These pieces were made with safer materials than the ones made before this time period because of the laws that prohibited lead in pottery.  This type of pottery can be seen at different museums and galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has multiple items in its permanent collection. The tiles and plates can be used as wall decor destructive wave 5e or in a lit cabinet in the kitchen. The planters and umbrella stands make a bold statement in a sunroom or entryway area.

The storage vessels and pitchers with their attractive shapes and fun, whimsical designs are special decor for the kitchen and even the dining room. These historical decorations can be found at estate sales, consignment shops, online auctions, websites, and even thrift stores. Finding the perfect piece for the home could be easy since there are so many colors to choose from. The styles are, also, so varied that any home decorator would find satisfaction in decorating with the majolica pottery.

Leave a Comment