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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Palmer Cox Brownie Majolica

Palmer Cox was a writer and illustrator famous for his children's books on the Brownies.  He debuted his Brownies in 1883 in St. Nicholas, a prominent children's magazine. The first collection of Brownie stories was published in 1887 as The Brownies, Their Book, which sold over a million copies. Cox would go on to publish 15 more Brownie books, and the stage play Palmer Cox's Brownies (1895) would run for nearly five years.

Cox licensed his Brownies to numerous companies selling a variety of products including dolls, figurines, puzzles, games, toys, china, soap and smoking paraphernalia. The most famous Cox merchandise was the Kodak Brownie camera, but Cox also merchandised to continental majolica manufacturers who created Brownies in the form of humidors (to compliment Brownie Smoking Tobacco), candlesticks, cream pitchers, banks, smoke stands and whiskey bottles.

Today Brownie majolica is really more popular with general Brownie collectors than with majolica collectors but it still commands respectable prices at specialty auctions.

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