Antique Majolica Leaf Platter
Antique Majolica Leaf Platter
First appearing in 1851 at the Great Exhibition in London, Majolica ware is richly colored pottery with designs based on plant and animal motifs. By the time it was exhibited at the 1855 Paris World's Fair, it had taken the bourgeoisie of Europe and the Americas by storm. Many late 19th-century majolica designs had rustic motifs with backgrounds of basketry and were decorated with molded flowers, birds, fish and animals - nature inspired for sure.
Case in point, this impressive Majolica Leaf Platter produced in the late 1800s by the American majolica studio of Griffen, Smith and Hill of Pennsylvania. Rich in texture and striking in color, this gorgeous platter was typically used as a bread tray.
With its intricate details, charming aesthetic, and soft, pretty hues, this treasure calls to mind the beauty of nature that served to inspire majolica studios on both sides of the Atlantic. As functional as it is beautiful, this vibrant piece is sure to be a beloved addition to any majolica collection.
Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In very good antique condition with a small chip on the rim as shown in the alternate images. H: 2.25" x W: 12" x D: 9".
Learn More About Etruscan Majolica
The largest and best known of the American majolica manufacturers was Griffen, Smith and Hill of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1867, it began producing majolica in 1879. The name “Etruscan” mirrored Wedgwood’s use of “Etruria” and reflected the archaeological discoveries of fine pottery around Rome. The firm expanded in 1885 and began producing other types of wares as the demand for majolica diminished. The factory was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1890.
Etruscan majolica was produced in a multitude of patterns including leaf plates in various sizes. Small begonia leaf dishes in graduated sizes were produced in many color combinations, the most common being yellow with a variegated center. It has been said that the original molds for these dishes were formed by pressing leaves into soft clay. The dishes were used for pickles or perhaps as ash trays. The larger leaf tray with twig handle was typically used as a bread tray.
Although a bit more rustic than their European counterparts, majolica produced by Griffen, Smith and Hill was considered of good quality. Most Etruscan majolica was marked. The earliest mark was an impressed monogram “GSH” in stylized script. After 1880, the monogram was placed within a circle bearing the words “ETRUSCAN MAJOLICA.” Other impressed letters and numbers indicate the pattern.
Learn More About Majolica
First appearing in 1851 at the Great Exhibition in London, Majolica refers to the richly colored and imaginative pottery that boomed during the Victorian era. By the time it was exhibited at the 1855 Paris World's Fair, it had taken Europe and the Americas by storm, even gaining the approval of Queen Victoria herself!
While Majolica took on many whimsical and outlandish forms during its time in vogue, most designs were based on plant and animal motifs whose bright colors and textures brought a certain lighthearted charm to the rich but often dark and heavy Victorian decor. The nature-inspired designs were particularly popular among the urban-dwelling middle class, as Majolica was an affordable way to create an impressive decor and bring pastoral beauty into the home.