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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Twins Separated at Birth

In spite of the creation of a registry system specifically designed to circumvent this very problem, the copying of designs between manufacturers was pervasive during the main period of Victorian majolica manufacture. Where it is well known that American companies like the Etruscan Works of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania copied numerous designs of European manufacturers, the same is true of potteries throughout Europe. In reality there are dozens of similar types of copies by European companies who learned by copying the large potteries. Here are a few of the most common ones.

One of the most frequently seen Victorian design copies is the Vine and Strawberry plate usually credited to Wedgwood. The pattern was copied by Brownfield & Son, Gustafsberg, Alcock, Edge Malkin & Co., Davenport and numerous small potteries who all did their own majolica copies of the piece.

Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine plate
Gustafsberg Strawberry & Vine plate
Brownfield Strawberry & Vine plate
Alcock strawberry & vine plate
Edge Malkin Company strawberry & vine plate
Another commonly seen copy is the Minton Six Well Oyster plate which became the standard for all oyster plates and as such, was copied by a number of small potteries in Europe.

Minton six well oyster plate
Minton copy by unknown potter
Minton copy by unknown potter
Minton copy by unknown potter
The Gorege Jones majolica acanthus leaf sardine box was copied by a number of potteries in Europe as well as the Etruscan Works in the U.S.

George Jones majolica sardine box
Copy of George Jones sardine box by unknown potter
Minton's Chestnut server was also copied by several potteries. Lunneville, Sarreguemines and St. Honore all did their own versions of the same piece.

Minton chestnut server
St. Honore chestnut server
Luneville chestnut server
Large potteries throughout Europe had their designs copied.

Wedgwood blackberry pitcher
Shorter & Sons blackberry pitcher
Blackberry pitcher copy by unknown potter
George Jones squirrel nut tray
Copy of George Jones by unknown potter
George Jones barrel hops beverage set
Copy of George Jones barrel hops pitcher
Wedgwood Argenta majolica St. Louis plate
Wedgwood St. Louis copy by unknown pottery
George Jones majolica cattails pitcher
Copy of George Jones cattails pitcher by unknown pottery

As George Bernard Shaw said:

Imitation is not only the sincerest form of 
flattery–it's the sincerest form of learning.


  1. Hi! Not sure if my other comment went through- I have what appears to be a majolica vase, pics here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Antiques/comments/3aciqi/ceramic_floral_vase_treasured_family_possession/

    One of the commenters there sent me to you for more answers, any ideas? I'd appreciate any insight you can offer! Thank you!

    1. That's quite a lovely vase you have there.

      You didn't mention the size of the vase or whether it is marked or not but regardless I can tell you that it is certainly continental in origin and most likely French or Austrian, dating to the late Nineteenth Century. This style of vase is quite common in small sizes but rather rare in larger sizes which would add to its value. The ombre treatment of the ground is quite unusual for majolica but very effectively used here.

      This round shape with flattened sides is often referred to as a moon vase.