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

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Majolica in the Movies: Dark Shadows

Every day in high school I'd rush home to watch the latest adventures of vampire Barnabas Collins and witch Angelique Bouchard in the gothic TV soap opera Dark Shadows. I take my Dark Shadows very seriously. Needless to say I was horrified when I found out that Tim Burton was planing a big screen parody starring Johnny Depp. I refused to see it on the big screen and actually had little interest in seeing it at all.

This past weekend Burton's Dark Shadows made its appearance on cable TV. Having been sidelined with a bad knee and little else to watch I decided to see how bad it could possibly be. Well, I'm here to report it actually wasn't as appalling as I anticipated, in fact it was a sort of loving send up of the campy '60's soap.

The last thing I expected to find in Collinwood Manor was majolica but right there in one of the first scenes in the mansion there is a large bowl on a mantle in one of the rooms. It wasn't a particularly interesting piece--the sort of thing that Julius Dresser made that was probably popular in Germany and Austria from the 1890's through the First World War but there it is, in this mansion that supposedly hadn't been updated in years and had been in steady decline since the 1700's.

The bowl only made that one brief appearance at the beginning of the movie but it reappeared again at the conclusion of the movie, just it time to be smashed to pieces in a fight between Barnabas and Angelique along with the rest of Collinwood. The bowl can be seen in the background above Johnny Depp in the picture below.

In all it wasn't a bad movie though I'm glad I didn't shell out any money to see it at the theater. It's a shame to destroy a nice old piece of majolica for it though.

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