Showcase on Majolica
Monday, 28 April 2014 06:23

Majolica, for those who know it, is one of the more sought-after collectible types of pottery today. It began as Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance, frequently decorated in bright colors on a white background. Today it encompasses a broad range of styles and makers. One of the most popularly collected types today is Victorian Majolica. This pottery was produced with colored clear lead glazes, done mostly in the 19th century throughout Europe and also in the United States. Early manufacturers included Minton, Wedgwood, and many others. Types of items included plates, pitchers, teapots, compotes, wall pockets, cheese stands, garden seats, and flowerpots.

One distinctive factor in the design is bright colors with raised images of flowers, birds, dolphins, corn, ferns, shells, fruits, seaweed, and coral. A popular pattern produced both in England and in the US was the cauliflower pattern with a distinctive yellow and green design.

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Others had a basket weave background or handles made of branches, birds, or stems.



As Majolica items became more popular numerous potteries began production using their own distinctive monogram or trademark.  Etruscan Majolica, a favorite among collectors, was produced between 18880 and 1890, with an impressed monogram “GSH”, for Griffin, Smith, Hill, from Phoenixville, PA. Their monogram is sometimes circled with the words “Etruscan Majolica” or is accompanied by that text. Majolica’s popularity and production decreased as the 19th century ended and the Art Nouveau period gained popularity.

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Today Victorian Majolica is a favored category among collectors, perhaps because of the bright colors and the nature themes. Some patterns are still being produced. Careful inspection should help to distinguish the old from the new.  You can also count on experienced dealers who specialize in these great wares.

At Showcase Antiques Gallery we are pleased to have a very nice selection of Victorian Majolica for sale, presented by experienced dealers. See especially the showcases of David Higgins and Jo Ashby, among others.

David has been a dealer since 1971. He is from Bath, Maine, and specializes not only in Majolica, but also Carnival Glass, Limoges, Nippon, Royal Bayreuth, RS Prussia, Portland Glass, and Satin Glass. Jo Ashby was unavailable for a photo at the time of publication, but she is from Pinehurst, NC, and has been a passionate antiquer for about 40 years. She has had shops in Pinehurst NC, Columbus OH, Bucks County PA, and now Wiscasset ME. Jo has a varied assortment of antiques, including Majolica.




For more information on Majolica be sure to check the website of the Majolica International Society at, especially their pages on “The History”, “Collecting”, and the photos of “Majolica Heaven”.

Next month look for our showcase on Bakelite.