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

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Majolica Bottles

One of the more unusual areas of collecting among majolica collectors is the majolica bottle.

These generally fall into two categories: character bottles and barber bottle decanters.
Character bottles were often originally sold as containers for liqueurs or whiskey and are overwhelmingly German and French in origin. Barber bottles and decanters are usually English in origin.

Character bottles come in two sizes, large and small. The large bottles often have corked lids also made of majolica. They also usually have a small opening or spigot for pouring. They are extremely popular with collectors, particularly the animals.

The smaller bottles have plain cork plugs.

Many of the later twentieth century character majolica bottles also have cork stoppers.

The barber bottles and decanters are very different in both look and desirability. They aren't nearly as popular as the character bottles. These shown below are by Brownfield and Wedgwood.

This bottle, probably by Adams and Bromley, has been seen by us two ways, with a round majolica cork stopper like the one below, and with a majolica drinking cup that sits upside down over the top.

The prices for the figural animal bottles can sometimes reach astronomical levels with some selling for thousands of dollars. The human figures sell for considerably less, generally under $400.
The small character bottles can usually purchased for under $150.

Barber bottles and decanters don't really have an established price point, with the available examples bringing what the market will bear.

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