Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wedgwood Majolica


Wedgwood Majolica ... Who Knew ?

One of our Charming Daughters collects Wedgwood. She loves the Jasperware, in all colors. She has some lovely older pieces, and some newer pieces. Her library includes several volumes devoted to Wedgwood collecting. We’re always finding pieces to add to her ever-growing collection. Some we find are rare, some are newer. No matter, she’s always thrilled to receive a gift of Wedgwood.

She now has a set of Queensware dinner dishes in lilac with white trim. She also has a Queensware tea set.

At a recent estate auction, we ran across a piece of Wedgwood majolica. Literally stumbled upon it. The auctioneer called out “Majolica !!” and the ringperson held it aloft and peered at the back. He barked “Wedgwood, Wedgwood !!!” Since we frequent this particular auction house, the auctioneer pointed at me and said “Can I get a $10 start?”  Of course! And the bidding began.
I had never seen, nor heard of, Wedgwood majolica. I was bidding on the name Wedgwood, and our daughter’s love of Wedgwood. We won the auction, and brought it carefully home. Snapped a couple pictures on my handy-dandy camera phone and shared them with my daughter.
“Hmmm.” She said. “Interesting. Not really my cup of tea, but thanks for thinking of me.” So, now I have a piece of Wedgwood majolica and it was in need of a home.

It was time to fire up the computer and put my research skills to good use. I learned that Minton began producing majolica around 1850, and Wedgwood did not begin until 1860, 10 years after Minton. From Wikipedia, I learned that “Wedgwood's majolica included cachepots, pitchers, candlesticks, cheese bells, umbrella stands, sardine boxes, plates in naturalistic patterns, bread trays, etc. In Wedgwood's familiar "greenware" the green glaze emphasizes the low relief patterning, typically of basketwork and foliage.” At Antique Central, I learned that “but by the early 1870's the Wedgwood Majolica outstripped production of all other ornamental wares.”

The marking on the reverse of my piece is simply WEDGWOOD, with a three letter code of STK, which my research shows dates this piece to September of 1882. The letter F and the letter W are also incised. What appears to be the number 5 is handwritten in red. This makes my piece about 128 years old, as of this writing.



The use of cherry blossoms 





   ...the whimsical use of a butterfly
 ...and dragonfly
 



...hints subtly at the Japanese influence in the Victorian era. The basketweave border is a common design element in Wedgwood’s majolica.




Now I know just a little bit about Wedgwood’s foray into Majolica production.
If any of our Charming followers has more to share, I’d love to hear from you!

If you're interested in adding this rare find to your Wedgwood and/or Majolica collection, you can find it in our shop :  Wedgwood Majolica on Ruby Lane

If you'd like to read online about Wedgwood majolica, here are some links to give you a place to start:


               About the Author



Cathy Heidemann Overfield is on Staff at Got Vintage Shops and owns and operates Charmed Life Collectibles on Ruby Lane.