A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Japonism: Fabulous Fans Pt. 3, Wedgwood "Fan"

In 1879, nineteen years after it first started majolica production, Wedgwood began production of what was to become their most successful majolica pattern, Fan. In the 30 years covered by the Wedgwood pattern books in the Wedgwood Museum, Fan appeared 90 times. That's eleven more times than the runner-up patterns, the Japonesque St. Louis and Grosvenor.

This fantastic success is the result of a design that, still today, appeals to most majolica collectors. A mixture of fans, birds and prunus blossoms, the design was made in twelve different color combinations with the most popular the ones with ivory, turquoise and cobalt grounds. The Argenta version appeared in 1881 and is today, by far, the most commonly seen version of this pattern. 

A complimentary pattern, Chicago, was introduced by Wedgwood several years later. It is similar to Fan but without the birds.

Fan is commonly available and as such has retained moderate prices among dealers. Fruit plates sell for around $50 and dessert plates sell in the $100-$200 range. Pitchers can be found in a number of different sizes with prices in the $125-$400 price range.
The version with a cobalt ground generally sells for twice that of those with the ivory grounds.

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