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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Majolica Collections

I don't know about you but I love looking at majolica collections. Aside from the benefit of seeing things you've never seen before, you learn an awful lot about the collectors themselves. Collections are always so eclectic, so personal!

One of the most famous of all majolica collections was the collection of the late Dr. Karmason, who was part of the team that produced the definitive book on the subject, Majolica a complete history and illustrated survey.
The above photo of her collection appeared in the book. I never had the good fortune of seeing it in person but I'm told it was an awesome sight to behold and why wouldn't it be? Dr. Karmason began her collection before most people knew what majolica was and had the resources in later years to amass some of the very finest majolica ever created. When it was disassembled and sent to auction in the Fall of 2005, this wonderful collection was lost forever, but as you can see just by looking at the photos--all taken at different times--collections are a growing, constantly changing thing.

As wonderful as these sorts of focused, educated collections are, my favorites are those that are an eclectic jumble of pieces like the inherited group below.

These types of collections are unified only by the aesthetic of the person who assembled them. They are a mix of expensive pieces and inexpensive, older and newer, all given the same prominence on the display shelf.
They're the kind of collections I could look at for hours!

I've even included a photo of my own collection below, c.1990. I used to collect mostly plates to fill a huge cupboard I had in my dining room. I have virtually none of these plates now. Boy do I wish I still did!

If you're interested in sharing a photo of your collection send it to me and I'll post it here!


  1. I need to offer a correction on the description of Tenuous Majolica - which was produced by Richard Harrison in Peekskill NY This appeared to be an offshoot of his primary business which was making stove liners for the many stove foundrys in Peekskill NY.

    1. Thanks! I believe this is new information to us in the majolica community. I will add this information to my post.