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Vintage French Majolica Swan Pitcher

Vintage French Majolica Swan Pitcher

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Using glazing techniques developed in the Middle East during the 3rd century, combined with whimsical, nature-inspired forms borne out of a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, majolica originated in England during the second half of the 19th century.  

The Industrial Revolution may have alienated the common man from nature, but it was also creating a middle class with more disposable income. Herbert Minton - a potter in Staffordshire, England, saw this as an opportunity to introduce something beautiful for the English home. After decades of white ironstone, blue and white china and other drab stoneware, Minton recognized a hunger for something colorful and new. 

Joining forces with French glazing expert Leon Arnoux, the two visionary ceramicists, introduced majolica at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851.  Queen Victoria and the public at large became instantly enamored with the new brightly colored, whimsical ware.  For the next 40 years, majolica held a position of prominence at most of the major international exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic.  Large and small potteries, in England and on the European continent and later in the United States, began producing majolica.  By the 1870s, majolica was a household word and in wide use, beloved both on the dining table in the form of pitchers and plates and in the garden as cachepots and jardinières.

From France, this charming, cheerful pitcher is decorated with two regal swans floating peacefully in a pond. Sunny yellows, vibrant blues and verdant green glazes bring the pitcher to life and will make it the centerpiece wherever it is displayed.


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In good vintage condition with a small, repaired chip along the rim as seen in the alternate images. Measures 6.5"H x 7.25"W.

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