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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Majolica Spotlight: George Jones' Wild Rose


It's one of the simplest patterns made by this extravagant potter, just a climbing rose stem winding its way around a textured ground with blossoms, but still one of my favorites. The meaning of the wild rose in the language of flowers is simplicity. A better design could not have been imagined for this elegant flower.
The company did not make a lot of different pieces in the pattern to my knowledge but those it did make are exquisite examples of majolica at its simple best.

Wild roses are a common image on Victorian pottery, the most famous being the Briar Rose pattern. It showed up in dozens of different majolica patterns as well in designs like Rose and Rope, Rose and Trellis and the Etruscan Rose series.




The GJ Wild Rose pieces stand out from this crowded field. They are special.
The most commonly seen pieces of GJ Wild Rose are pitchers. Most often they are found with a natural, brown and green mottled ground which highlights the beauty of the chartreuse and leaf green branches and the pink and yellow blossoms. However they were made in a variety of other colors as well and the results were often stunning.




I have seen the pattern in covered servers, jardinières, a tea service, cane stand, plates and Stilton Cheese stand in two sizes. I'm particularly fond of the cheese dome because of the surprise of the base. The removal of the lid reveals the underplate covered in a large lettuce leaf. What an amazing display this must have made on the Victorian sideboard!




This turquoise example from the Karmeson collection has the wrong base but the color was so lovely I wanted to show it.


The jardinières are simple forms, plain flared cylinders with simple underplates, but look how three-dimensional the roses are! You can practically smell them.







Like most pieces of George Jones majolica, Wild Rose is quite expensive when it appears on the market with pieces often selling in the thousands of dollars, but if you want to buy a single piece that illustrates the very essence of what Victorian majolica was all about, Wild Rose is the pattern to get.

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