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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Majolica Spotlight: Banks & Thorley Bamboo

Banks and Thorley as a pottery didn't last very long–they were only in operation from 1875 to 1878–but they left their mark on majolica with their beautiful Bamboo pattern.
Potted at the height of the Aesthetic Movement, the pattern was a response to the influence of Japanese tastes on Western decorative arts. It is a large, fully realized pattern that must have been very popular in its day judging from the number of pieces that survive today.

The pattern is really a very simple one. The ground of all the pieces is a golden basketweave against which are displayed multicolor bamboo fronds. The handles are usually brown.

The pattern is available with several different size pitchers of two different types. The first, which is the most common, is pictured above. It has a smooth rim and a spout. The second has an unusual ragged top rim. This type was made without a spout.

 The pattern came with both a teapot and tea kettle.

There are also two different cream pitchers, two different sugar bowls and two types of teacup. The one type has the brown reed handles of the other pieces while the other has delicate butterfly handles.

 In addition the pattern came with the usual other pieces: butter dish, butter pat, dessert plates, dessert stand and basket.

Most of the pieces wear an applied English Registration Mark on the base indicating the pattern was registered by Banks & Thorley on May 17, 1876.

Bamboo is a good pattern for the beginning majolica collector . Pieces are relatively inexpensive, available and very decorative. A complete teaset is a thing of great beauty.

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