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Antique Majolica Pottery

Updated on May 1, 2017

Majolica history and how to identify a majolica piece.

By Sharon Stajda,

History shows that earthenware pottery known as Majolica was derived from Chinese porcelain. It appeared in Italy during the last quarter of the 14th century. It is now believed that this type of painted earthenware was inspired by the Hispano-Moresque luster-decorated ware of Spanish origin introduced to Italy by Majorcan seagoing traders. History tells of Majolica pottery being derived from centuries old Chinese porcelain. As early as the 13th century, Spain exported its tin-glazed Hispano-Moresque pottery to Italy. The Spanish port which the earthenware was shipped from was the port of Majolica. This is how the wonderful pottery got its name "Majolica". By the 17th century, Majolica pottery was being widely produced in England, and France. By the late 1800s, it was being produced in the United States.The Victorian era brought with it mass production of majolica pieces. Companies both here and abroad were producing lovely majolica items. Due to it's affordability, most households could afford the wonderful majolica wares.


Older Majolica

The older Majolica pieces were made with earthenware clay. The older pieces were heavy in weight and sturdy.This may be due to the fact that most Majolica piece's made were utilitarian in nature, such as jardinières, umbrella stands, pitchers, teapots, and a variety of useful food containers. Majolica designs often include animals, leaf figural shapes, fruit, and vegetable forms. Many of the items lacked any hallmarks, due to the fact that majolica was being mass produced, and meant to be utilitarian for the home. Among the companies that did mark their pieces were Holdcroft, Wedgwood, Griffin,, Smith & Hill, Minton, Avalon and Clifton, and Etruscan.

How Majolica Is Made

Majolica was made by molding the earthenware into a unique realistic shape. The shapes depict a three dimensional form of a given subject or a scene on an item such as a platter or bowl, etc. The piece was then hand painted using vivid appropriate colors. The piece was then glazed with either a tin or lead glaze, and then fired at a very high temperature. The combination of the tin or lead glaze, and increased firing temperature, produced a glass like glaze. This unique glazing process brought out the wonderful vivid colors of the piece. On the down side, this process also left the piece a bit brittle and prone to chipping.

Collecting Majolica

Majolica is widely collected, and can still be found in today’s antique marketplace. A fascinating majolica piece’s can add just the right touch to almost any room. Keep in mind there are many reproduction piece’s out there. Many of these replicas are hard to distinguish from the real thing?

Here are few tips to keep in mind when buying majolica. The antique Majolica Earthenware piece's as a rule are heavy, so always pick the item up, and check for weight. Note the color, a good piece of majolica will have vivid colors, and will be well painted. Colors will be appropriate for the pieces design. For example, a monkey will be in tones of brown, a leaf green, and so on. As I mentioned, many majolica pieces were not marked with a hallmark. Many of the companies that produce majolica fakes will add a popular pottery companies hallmarks, hoping to fool a possible customer.

Looks Good - however, it's a reproduction.

Things To Consider When Buying Majolica

It is wise to be careful when buying majolica. If the piece is inexpensive, but you are not quite sure if it’s the real thing, but you love it, buy it. If you love it and are not sure it’s the real thing, and it has a high price attached to it. Consider the dealer. Are they reputable? Will they let you return it, if you have it appraised, and it turns out to be a fake? It is smart to have guarantee up front, and in writing. A good antique dealer will as a rule stand behind their merchandise.

Majolica is still being produced today, and there are wonderful pieces to be had. The Majolica of today as a rule may not be as heavy as antique Majolica. The artist of today use other clays, as well as earthenware to produce Majolica item's. The piece's of today give way to good competition in regard to the Antique Majolica of yesterday. Love Antiques? Visit The Online Encyclopedia Of Antiques - At Old And Sold.You will be pleasantly surprised at the A - Z information listed on Antique's. Please visit. Encyclopedia Of Antiques

Your definitive resource for antiques! Have a question? Find an answer! Browse our six volume encyclopedia for great information.

How to tell the real from the reproduction

Need A good Appraisal ?

Appraisals At Old And Sold

It is easy to get your antiques and collectibles appraised! In association with Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, Old And Sold can now offer you an easy way to find out the value of your items. Please stop in and check it out.

Need To Identify An Old Hallmark/Mark?

Guide To Pottery And Porcelain Marks

This extensive compilation of pottery and porcelain marks will appeal to the ceramic collector and novice alike. Marks, initials, and signatures representing manufacturers from over 20 countries will aid anyone interested in tracing the history and origin of ceramics. Click below to visit the Old And Sold guide to Pottery And Porcelain Marks.

Collecting Majolica

I hope I can persuade you to sign my guestbook

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    • rayray131 profile image

      rayray131 6 years ago

      A very useful leds

    • profile image

      customlapel 6 years ago

      Is A good antique dealer will as a rule stand behind their merchandise.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lots of good information and beautiful pics. Will come back again for another visit. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lots of good information and beautiful pics. Will come back again for another visit. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      metemq 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks for the information. I like the bright colors and robust modeling. I buy pieces that I figure are worth the price, based on my liking them, and will let my heirs worry about value. Do you have a favorite place to look for majolica?

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      Jasonb702 9 years ago

      I know a guy Carmine who also makes great pottery. He knows what he is doing..

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      WorldTravelers916 9 years ago

      theres this guy out of hawaii called keaka who makes the most beautiful pottery ive ever seen!

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      WorldTravelers916 9 years ago

      great service lens, great content keep it up!

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      WorldTravelers916 9 years ago

      what a great lens keep it up!

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      Keaka77 9 years ago

      OMG... I found a tile on your lens that i really needed.. Thank you so much...

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