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Majolica Mania Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915


Edited by Susan Weber, with Catherine Arbuthnott, Jo Briggs, Eleanor Hughes, Earl Martin, and Laura Microulis

Awarded the 2022 Historians of British Art Book Award for an Exemplary Multi-authored Book

Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915 is the first comprehensive study of the most important ceramic innovation of the nineteenth century. Colorful, wildly imaginative, and technically innovative, majolica was both functional and aesthetic. Its subject matter reflects a range of Victorian preoccupations, from botany and zoology to popular humor and the macabre. Majolica Mania examines the medium’s considerable impact, from wares used in domestic settings to monumental pieces shown at the world’s fairs. Essays by international experts address the extensive output of the originators and manufacturers in England—including Minton, Wedgwood, and George Jones—and the migration of English craftsmen to the United States. New research including information on important American makers is also featured. Fully illustrated, the book is enlivened by new photography of pieces from major museums and private collections in the United States and Great Britain.

The exhibition Majolica Mania was on view at Bard Graduate Center Gallery from September 24, 2021 through January 2, 2022


Table of Contents

Volume 1

Preface and Acknowledgments
Susan Weber and Julia Marciari-Alexander

Note to the Reader

Susan Weber

1. “Low, vulgar, even barbarous”: Majolica; A Historical Overview
Paul Atterbury

2. Majolica: Sources of Inspiration
Rebecca Wallis

3. Prince Albert, South Kensington, and the Victorian Taste for Renaissance Revival Ceramic Architectural Decoration
Julius Bryant

4. “The fearful malady of the clay”: Working Conditions in the Nineteenth-Century Staffordshire Potteries
Miranda Goodby

5. From Teapots to Flowerpots: The Use of Majolica in the Victorian Home
Gaye Blake-Roberts and Susan Weber

6. Molding Meaning: Majolica in a Transatlantic Context, from Cole to Haynes, from Ruskin to Eastlake
Jo Briggs

7. Promoting and Selling Modern Majolica: A Victorian Phenomenon
Martin P. Levy

8. The Waxing and Waning of Taste for Victorian Majolica: A Case Study
Ben Miller

9. Between Marketplace and Museum Space: Edwin AtLee Barber, the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, and American Majolica
Kathleen Eagen Johnson

10. Contemporary Ceramics and Majolica
Sequoia Miller

Volume 2

11. “The productions of this firm stand pre-eminent”: The Minton Factory and Majolica
Miranda Goodby

12. “Flower vases in which one might rear an oak”: Minton Majolica at the International Exhibitions
Susan Weber

13. The Renaissance Reimagined: Minton, Majolica, and Maiolica
Claire Blakey

14. The Innovation and Artistry of Wedgwood Majolica
Gaye Blake-Roberts

15. Wedgwood Majolica at the International Exhibitions
Susan Weber

16. “Acquisitions of ‘the million’”: Majolica by John Adams & Co. and Adams & Bromley
Laura Microulis and Earl Martin

17. “Quaint dragon vases . . . and other choice specimens of the Potter’s Art”: Majolica by T. C. Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co.
Laura Microulis

18. “Of a high order of art”: George Jones Majolica
Gaye Blake-Roberts

19. Cheerful, Colorful, and Unpretentious: Majolica by Wardle & Co.
Catherine Arbuthnott and Susan Weber, with Nicolaus Boston

20. “Pure in taste and elegant in form”: The Worcester Royal Porcelain Company
Catherine Arbuthnott

21. “Highly finished elegance”: Majolica by W. T. Copeland & Sons
Catherine Arbuthnott

22. “The Minton of Longton”: Joseph Holdcroft’s Sutherland Pottery
Susan Weber, with Nicolaus Boston

23. “Powerful and unconventional”: Majolica by William Brownfield & Son(s)
Catherine Arbuthnott, with Nicolaus Boston

24. Thomas Forester, the “Potter King” of Longton
Catherine Arbuthnott and Susan Weber

25. “Strikingly original”: Majolica by Shorter & Boulton
Catherine Arbuthnott and Susan Weber

26. “Something fresh must be constantly introduced”: Majolica by Hackney, Kirkham & Co. and S. Fielding & Co.
Catherine Arbuthnott and Susan Weber

27. “Bright colours, odd shapes, peculiar decorations are things most eagerly sought”: Other British Majolica Manufacturers
Catherine Arbuthnott and Susan Weber

Volume 3

28. “Here is a great many English people”: The Migration of English Potters to the United States
Miranda Goodby

29. “Really good ware”: Majolica at James Carr’s New York City Pottery
Caroline Hannah

30. Griffen, Smith & Hill Company’s Etruscan Majolica
Susan Weber

31. “The colors are rich and often a trifle gaudy”: Majolica Made in Trenton, New Jersey
Laura Microulis

32. Beauty, Utility, Good Value: Majolica Made in Baltimore, Maryland
Earl Martin

33. “Crockery City” Majolica: George Morley and the Potteries of East Liverpool, Ohio
Laura Microulis

34. “A man could do very well if he could get a good glaze”: Other American Majolica Manufacturers
Laura Microulis and Susan Weber

Checklist of the Exhibition


Selected Bibliography

About the Authors



14.50 LBS

Other Details


Page Count
1008 pages | illustrated throughout

Publication date
December 2020

Hardcover in a slipcase