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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Majolica

For the upcoming Easter holiday I thought I'd post some pieces that may be appropriate to your Easter table.

Of course the ultimate Easter centerpiece would have to be the GJ "full nest" Quail game dish, replete with chicks and bunnies galore!

Not everyone can afford a "full nest" game dish so the "empty nest" version will have to suffice for some.

Although some might prefer the Minton Hare and Mallard tureen.

Then there are the Minton bunnies on which you can artfully arrange your peeps!

The Choisy-le-Roi rabbit plates would be perfect for appetizers...

... as would some of the Choisy game bird plates!

Of course you'll need something to hold the flowers. How about something from Massier or Holdcroft?

Of course you'll need something to hold all those jelly beans and chocolate eggs! How about a nice humidor from France or box from TCBW Moore & Company or butter dish from Eureka?

Let's not forget something to hold all those pretty eggs. Maybe a nice egg basket or server?

When dinner is all said and done set out the first strawberries of the season in a wonderful strawberry server!

Or give each of your guests their own strawberry portion on a plate from George Jones.

Then sit back and relax with a sweet liquor from your bunny bottle and try to forget the clean up!

Enjoy your holiday everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken Feed

The first time I ever saw a George Jones tea tray was in a photograph in a magazine. The article wasn't about majolica, it was about how a man decorated his home.

The man had a farm and this big expansive kitchen. One wall was covered with shelves full of majolica. On his kitchen island he had a Minton beehive cheese stand. I believe there was also a Minton monkey teapot somewhere nearby. He owned a turquoise GJ tea tray and he kept it on the shelf with the other majolica. Once a day he filled it with dried corn and seed and fed his chickens off of it.

Yes, you read that correctly--he fed his chickens off of it. This is the same tea tray that George Jones made to match his monkey handled tea set. Similar to the one above from the Madelena Web site that is retailing for $4150. These chickens ate in style!

It reminds us that not too long ago majolica was considered a disposable remnant from a garish age.

I'd love to see that article again. If any readers know where it appeared please drop me a line.

Oh by the way, years later I was at a flea market and I saw a GJ tea tray in terrible condition that had the entire center covered with little nicks, like a bird had pecked at it.
Now I'm not saying that was the same tray I saw in the magazine article, but I couldn't help but wonder.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Think Pink!

When I hear the phrase "Think Pink", the very first thing that comes to mind is the opening number in the movie "Funny Face" where Kaye Thompson proclaims:

Red is dead, blue is through, green's obscene, and brown's taboo!"

It's the first line to a raucous musical number where Thompson, playing a Diana Vreeland type character decides the fashion for the coming season, and the color for that fashion is pink!

She could just as well have been speaking about Victorian majolica. Pink is so strongly associated with majolica that the color "majolica pink" has come to describe that vibrant lavender-pink hybrid that we all know so well.

Pink was used as a lining color by most of the English and American majolica manufacturers and as result is probably the most common of all majolica colors. Pink as a ground color wasn't quite as common though George Jones, Holdcroft, Minton, Wedgwood and the Etruscan Works all used it. Sometimes it was closer to dusty rose, sometimes a vibrant magenta and other times closer to lavender -- regardless it was all gorgeous!
What better way to start a new Spring week then to kick back and immerse ourselves in that loveliest of all majolica colors, pink!

Pink majolica is one of the most sought after colors available so expect to pay a premium for it... but isn't it worth it?