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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Purple Majolica Rain

Like most people alive in the 1980s, we cannot conceive of the decade without the music of Prince. He and Michael Jackson dominated that decade musically with many of our fondest memories triggered by their songs. When we heard this afternoon that Prince had died the very first image that came to mind was driving down Sunset Boulevard for the first time in the summer of 1984 with "When Doves Cry" blaring on the speakers of our car. It's though memory pictures like this that artists touch our lives and gain immortality through their art.

As we were thinking of a way of honoring Prince through our blog it became clear that purple wasn't a color that was used much as a main ground color in majolica. In fact we can't think of a single piece in which purple was used as the predominate color. There was plenty of lavender and mauve and lilac and violet and aubergine but no pure purple. So we decided to collect images of pieces we knew of in these variations of purple and use them in our small tribute to Prince's life.

The French probably used the color more than any other group with the Massier frères using variations of purple on their flower form pieces.

The English used variations of purple often as a contrasting color. Minton, Brown Westhead & More, and Copeland pieces often had purple and its variations used as an accent color. It was also a component of the Wedgwood Argenta glazed pieces.

Minton majolica lotus pitcher
Minton majolica oyster plate
Minton majolica wine cooler
Minton majolica frog and eggplant creamer
Minton garden seat
Copeland pansy butter pat

Wedgwood Argenta seafood plate

It was used sometimes in Minton's  tiles.

The Germans and Austrians used the color occasionally in their smoke themed wares.

It also appeared in its lavender and periwinkle variations in American majolica.

Etruscan majolica font
Etruscan grape leaf plate
Etruscan majolica maple leaf plate
So, with this cursory view of the color purple on majolica we say goodbye to a great musician who will always remain with us in some way: Prince.

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