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

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: European Majolica: With Values by D. Michael Murray

In the United States majolica from the Central European continent doesn't quite have the following of British or French majolica. Add to this the distinctively restrained looking glazes commonly used in Bavaria and you have a form that is a mystery to many collectors. Some potteries in this group marked their wares but many did not. It is therefore of utmost importance to have a reputable resource for identification. European Majolica is such a resource.

Well organized, well written text that breaks the region down by major potteries the book features 350+ clear if unglamorous photos for reference. Whole chapters are devoted to the work of Wilhelm Schiller & Son; Julius Dressler; B. Block and Co.; and Zsolnay. Images of pottery marks are also included.

There is a special section in the back of the book for unattributed work which is mostly humidors and smoking related items. This is one of the weaker sections of the book as it treads lightly on the topic, probably because of the obvious crossover with French potters and companies like Sarreguemines which have changed nationality. There is also a section in the back of approximate values.

If I were to add any criticism of this reference it is in the short shrift given to the work of Lonitz. Murray identifies Lonitz as as a minor pottery and dismisses it rather quickly with just a couple of sentences. That is a great disservice to one of the finest potteries to make Victorian majolica which Lonitz is.

Apart from this, European Majolica is a good general reference for the collector
This book comes recommended if you are interested in a literate overview of these little discussed potteries.
European Majolica: With Values by D. Michael Murray: Schiffer Books; 174 pages: $29.95

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