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

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Seeing Red

My favorite color is red. It has been since I was a child.
My living room is red too as have been most of the cars I've owned.
This puts me to a great disadvantage as a majolica collector because majolica manufacturers hate red. I don't really know why, they just do. Maybe red was just not very popular in the late 1800's.

Maybe I should qualify my statement and say that English majolica manufacturers hate red. It's very rare to see majolica by any of the major English potters with much red on them. They did use red as an accent color though quite a bit, it just was rarely used as a primary color.

Of course, for every general statement there is the occasional exemption, though they are few and far between.

In its final majolica manufacturing years, Wedgwood had a couple of red color palettes they used on their majolica, but these were pretty late in the game.

Things were different on the continent however, because the French and the Germans LOVED red and incorporated it in their majolica quite a bit.

It also became their favorite color for lining hollowware, like in the jardinières above and these figural pitchers below.

In the United States, the Etruscan Works used red early in their production life, but soon fazed it out in favor of the pastels for which they became famous.

So, with the exception of one or two Etruscan pieces, most of the majolica in my living room is not red... but I'm always looking for that exception to add to my collection!

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