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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Handled Majolica Baskets

Majolica baskets are such a large topic that I don't know where to start!

I've already tackled this subject twice before, one in my discussion of egg baskets (http://etruscanmajolica.blogspot.com/2010/08/majolica-egg-baskets.html) and once while showing strawberry servers ( http://etruscanmajolica.blogspot.com/2010/08/strawberry-servers-forever.html). Both forms include a number of baskets.

The inclusion of wicker as a majolica subject goes back to some of the earliest majolica pieces created by Minton.
It seems only natural that handled baskets would ultimately appear in majolica as well. From the stately workrooms of Minton to the homespun Etruscan Works in Phoenixville, there are baskets of all shapes and sizes, though not all are an imitation of wicker. Take, for example the fanciful French Art Nouveau basket below.


Most baskets, however, are indeed imitations of wicker...




or leaves...






or bird's nests...


or fish!











One thing that all of these baskets share in common is their delicacy. Unlike real baskets, ceramic baskets are easily damaged. When buying baskets always examine the area where the handle joins the body. This is the area most likely to break and the area most likely to have a repair.
Regardless of whether a basket has a repair or not NEVER hold the piece by the handle. Doing so is just asking for trouble.






Some baskets are marked, like these Holdcroft baskets...




 ...or these Wedgwood baskets...




 ...or these George Jones baskets...


 ...or these Minton baskets...




...or these Etruscan baskets...



...but most are not.





It really is quite remarkable that so many of these delicate baskets still exist, more than a hundred years after they were created. I think this speaks of how much these were loved and cared for since they were new.

How could anyone resist them filled with candy or flowers!

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