Friday, May 24, 2019

Majoilica or 'Due Diligence'.

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I’ve seen a lot of posts here and on Facebook vintage groups tossing around the word ‘Majoilica’ referring to any glazed ceramics. Finding a piece of Majoilica can mean a 150 year old piece of Minton, or a plate from Pottery Barn, or a vase purchased from Hobby Lobby in the last 20 years. 

Just because some dealer has a piece listed for $99.00 on ebay ---doesn’t make it real or worth anything at all. Unmarked ceramics and even marked (impressed or printed) ceramics or Majoilica may not be authentic 19th century or older ceramics.

The best way to know what you have found or what you are selling (and staking your reputation on) is to do –due diligience in research. DUE DILIGIENCE -reasonable steps taken by a person in order to satisfy a legal requirement, especially in buying or selling something.
In other words---not knowingly lead others astray. In this day and age of having the world at our fingertips--we SHOULD all use due diligence in attempting to find out what it is we are actually selling.
We are often guilty of searching in all sorts of high-end places when we think we have found something ‘special’. But, ln Victorian Majoilica---fakes, reproductions and mass produced inferiors abound. What we have to do---is search for the fakes.

For this article I simply googled “fake majoilica” or majolica and here is what I came up with in a few minutes.

Excellent article on reproduced or replication of Minton Majoilica

I remember similar pieces appearing on Hobby Lobby shelves in the late 1990s and early 2000’s.

Color is the biggest giveaway---for reproductions. Originally majoilica was produced with tin glazes and lead-based glazes---more can be found here on the EPA blog about lead in ceramics.

When you remove or restrict lead in glazes it affects colors and glaze behavior, so colors are sometimes, just a bit off from the original lead glazes of the 19thcentury. Too bright and too on the surface color and not really imbedded within the original two glaze process of original majoilica.

Reproductions are most often from Asia, but European markets abound in contemporary majoilica pieces in Spain, France and Italy. Often the identical piece can be purchased in several different locations all proudly hand signed with the made in ---‘town’, Italy. Tuesday Mornings have some great ‘Made in ‘town’ Italy pieces in the majoilica style.

Look at this beauty---be still my heart!

Here is an Antiques Roadshow piece---from a video---that has since been disabled. But, I snagged a screen shot---and fully attribute this shot to

I would be tempted with this piece---The dripping glaze is something that does occur in tin-lead glazes, when the kilns are a bit too hot---causing wonderful pooling and sometimes gorgeous muddling in pieces. Made in Japan ceramics from the 1940’s became very adept at creating ‘majoilica’ like glazes, with fully leaded glazes. 

A consistently excellent source of information on real Majoilica and fakes is Jimbo at the Glazed and Confused thoughts on Pottery or

Or the Etrustcan Majoilica He has been posting for over 10 years on majoilica and the fakes that have popped up over this time and is the author of a book on Etruscan Majoilica.

Does this look familiar---that daisy pitcher....? The top photo is an original--the bottoms are the reproductions.  I think I have seen this before on a vintage site.

This one I would have fallen for

I would have grabbed this piece in a second for any price….unless it didn't 'feel' of the down-sides of buying online---that touch--test, and wear marks---ps---be wary of 'stained feet and bottoms on 'fake' pottery. Wear use is often uneven and multicolored, not an even gray wash.

I think this was a Hobby Lobby piece----or similar Asian for the design trade. They did an entire lines of ‘fake majoilica’ including serving pieces with that horrible ‘not for food use labels on the bottom. Why have a tureen or baking dish you can’t use--BUT, they make great flower arrangement pots.

At least Hobby Lobby doesn't pretend they are antiques. I actually saw one of their HL 'cache pots' in the front window of an Alexandria, Virginia antique store...this was before Hobby Lobby had encroached on the East Coast. BUYER BEWARE!

Any of these below look familiar---notice the bright fresh colors, or the lack of depth in the glazes. 

A great pinterest Fakes page

I lost the reference of the above photo---but they are all fakes.

This is a magnificent fake---almost perfect---well too perfect maybe. Colors seem right and some glaze pooling---now if it was 150 years old---would it be that perfect??

These two glasses were probably a part of a Japan beverage set---popular in the 1940's. I have biscuit jars and serving dishes from this period---specifically for their fun colors and designs.

So definitely buy what you like---but don't call it Majolica because it has pretty colors.
 research of Real and Fake so you don't lose your reputation for selling something that isn't an antique or even vintage. 
 None of the above photos are mine---and I have tried to attribute them to their source. Please visit the pages sourced.
Thank you for your cooperation,