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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Frogs, Frogs Frogs!

"Never try to catch two frogs with one hand."
--- Chinese Proverb

If you're trying to catch two majolica frogs with one hand, you may well have an easier time of it then the real thing as they are so plentiful. After my visit to the NYC Pier Show this weekend, where I saw what I think is the largest majolica frog in existence, I got to thinking about frogs. In fact, I can't think of a single animal that appears more frequently in majolica than the frog. Including the hundreds of Palissy pieces that feature them (and are too many in number to feature here), frogs are everywhere in majolica. 

Just about every manufacturer made something with frogs! Minton, Jones, Copeland, the Etruscan Works-- they all made pieces with them. So many exist that it seems fruitless to try and illustrate them all, so I'll do my best and just post a few of the more commonly seen examples.

Minton made four of the most desirable frog pieces found in majolica: this box of a frog sitting on a lily pad, this pitcher of a frog riding a fish, a sweetmeat compote and this frog creamer.

Both George Jones and Copeland made charming frog vases.

Jones also added frogs to the pitcher that forms part of their chestnut series.

Hugo Lonitz made a terrific terrine with a frog finial and cute little sweetmeat server.

Delphin Massier seems to have specialized in frogs. In addition to the giant figural cane stand I saw this weekend, Massier made this smaller version as a vase, as well as other frogs for various uses. They even made a frog teapot!

Other French companies also made frogs,

Then there is the large collection of smoking themed frogs...

and humidors.

Of course there are any number of frogs from both Continental and British manufacturers,--including one of my favorites, the frog on melon pitcher--that are otherwise hard to categorize.

So, if frogs tickle your fancy, there's a world of majolica frogs waiting for you... but I would use both hands!


  1. Being a lover of frogs I have recently purchased what I believe is a Majolica Pitcher with a Frog riding a Fish. The mark on the bottom looks like a ring, a circle with a diamond shape on top. Who would I go about doing more research on my piece?
    Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

    1. Your pitcher sounds like a version of the Minton frog on fish pitcher shown second from the top in this post. A couple of reproductions have been made of this pitcher. One is shown here: http://etruscanmajolica.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-latest-majolica-reproductions.html

    2. Hi I saw a blog of your 2012 I think on majolica frogs and one in particular on a frog vase and frog was playing a musical instrument banjo?.You gave no info except French.I have one identical perhaps but mine is playing a acordian and the frog is pearl lustra and toga and acordian is blue lustra.The webbed feet positioned and design height vase is identical.It was given to me by my late greatgrandmother over 50 yrs ago.I haven't been able to obtain info to now seeing your frogpic vase.It also has a no 420 underneath.Hope you can help pse use destiny1656@hotmail.com thks Desiree

  2. Hi, recently I purchased a majolica basket weaved bowl and cover, titled loving frogs. The frogs on the top of the cover. The bowl has some cursive writing on the bottom. The only letters I can distinguish are L & M. Can you share any information you may have on this unusual bowl set? Thank you

    1. There are quite a few pieces available on the decorative market that feature frogs. The piece you describe appears to be contemporary. As this blog concentrates on Victorian majolica I'm afraid I can't offer much information. The mark is unfamiliar to me.

  3. Hello. I really like this site...such beautiful pieces featured.
    I wonder if you might give me some direction...I may be in posession of a replica 1946 Majolica Dancing Frogs vase. It's quite rich in green color, that is crackled. I cannot decide if this is because it's old or because it's made to look older. There are no Japan markings, however there is what appears to be the number '22'. Have you seen such a piece?

    1. Unfortunately we can't see your photo but we thank you for your kind words about our blog. We can't say that your description sounds like anything we're familiar with.
      If you find a way to post your image online please let us know.

  4. Because I wasn't able to share a photo here, I changed my profile picture on Google/Blogger to the vase. If you click my name above, you should be able to see the vase. Thank you so much!