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Collecting Pottery:
Collecting Old Continental Pottery

Henri Deux Ware, Etc.
Palissy Ware
Paris And Its Environs
Glazed Pottery Of France

Stoneware Of Germany
German And Other Guilds

Stockholm, Rorstrand, and Marieberg

Delft: The Old Signs Of The Potters

Majolica And Luca Della Robia
Castel Durante
Naples, Rimini, Monte Feltro, And Forli
Siena, Monte Lupo, And Pisa
Fabriano, Viterbo, Rome
Venice, Treviso, Bassano, Milan, Etc.

Persia And Damascus
Persian And Other Tiles
Rhodes, Asiatic Turkey, Etc.

Hispano-Moresque Ware

Venice, Treviso, Bassano, Milan, Etc.

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

The year 1540 approximately marks the beginnings of the production of majolica in Venice as distinguished from the commoner glazed ware of an earlier date. It may be true that enamelled faience was produced before 1540, yet it is also true that, with the exception of some pavements of tiles, the first dated piece of really fine majolica, in the Fortnum collection, was signed, " 1540 ' ADI' 16. DEL' MEXE. DEOTVBRE." The painted subject, " a mermaid with her comb and her glass in her hand " surrounded by arabesque sprays of foliage with fruit and flowers, is executed in dull pale blue on a grey enamel ground and heightened with white. In the Brunswick Museum there are two pieces, one dated 1546 and the other 1568. The latter is inscribed " Zener Domenigo da Venecia Feci in la botega al ponte sito del Andar a San Paolo." In a letter sent by M Battista di Francesco, of Murano, near Venice, to the Duke of Ferrara, in 1567, he entitles himself maestro in majolica, and manufacturer of vases very noble, rare, very beautiful, and various, and he prays for a loan of three hundred ducats so that he may transfer his works to Ferrara. From this it certainly appears as if the trade in Venice was unsatisfactory, which is scarcely a surprise, for that city was engaged in war with the Turks from 1508 to 1739- Yet, as we shall see, some potteries flourished.

An excellent specimen by the same artist who painted Mr. Fortnum's deep bowl plate, may be foliage and scrolls. Seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, where there are several of his works. This one is inscribed in bold characters " In Venetia in cotvadadi St' Polo in botega dj M Ludovico," and beneath is a shield with a Maltese cross, evidently the mark or sign of his establishment. All the pieces are painted in blue, and all are delightful examples of decorative art. In fact, Maestro Ludovico, if he were the painter as well as the proprietor of this botega, stands amongst the first artists in majolica. A triple-barbed hook, grapnel, or anchor occurs as a mark upon many pieces of Venetian majolica, and one hook bent in G form upon others. The name Dionigi Marini appears on one specimen, above the date 1636, having a C hook on each side. Other inscriptions are found: " In Venetia a St' Barnaba. In Botega di M Jacomo da Pesaro. 1542," and " Io Stefano Barcello Veneziana Pinx " being types.

The pottery body of the sixteenth-century ware is buffcoloured and close covered by an even, greyish glaze due to the presence of a little zaffre or " smaltino." The decoration in blue, shaded with blue, was heightened in effect by the use of white. On the reverse usually there is a border or band of sprays of foliage with radiating lines, like those to be found on Paduan ware, round the depression near the centre. The cross which was described as a mark of the botega of M Ludovico was also used on some of the majolica of Padua. Both facts seem to indicate that a connection existed between the potters of the two cities.

The eighteenth-century products, having a hard-fired, thin, close, sonorous body, decorated with floral ornament in bas relief, with blue and brown-not often yellow-colours on a pale blue or dull white ground, are assigned to the Bertolini, who in 1753 obtained a decree from the Senate-a permit to sell their majolica in their own shop in Venice for ten years free of all duties for import or export. On a superficial glance this majolica might be mistaken for enamelled copper -a hint that should be noted.

Treviso had a botega which produced somewhat inferior ware in the Faenza style. A bowl, or deep plate, dated I538, decorated on the exterior with arabesques on blue, and inside with a painting of " The Sermon on the Mount," bears the words DON PARISI, and n TRAVISIO, with some indistinct letters between. The later productions imitated the Moustiers style, whilst about 1769 common graffiti was the main output, marked : Fabrica di boccaleria alla comfiana in Tyeviso, etc. A short statement regarding other boteghe in the Venetian States must suffice. Bassano for about two hundred years produced majolica, some of which is decorated finely with landscapes after the Venetian painters. Plates marked with a five-pointed crown and the names Antonio Terchi in Bassano and B Terchj. Bassano, might be from Naples, San Quirico, or Siena, where the Terchi family also worked. Near Bassano, at Nove, towards the end of the seventeenth century, admirable work, it is stated, was done, but it has not yet been identified. Padua and its typical cross as a mark has been mentioned, but its majolica, dated 1548, 1564, 1565, etc., resembles the poorer ware of Venice. Alla Padovana is the name given to pharmacy vases with a pearl-grey ground painted with arabesques, flowers, and grotesques. Marked " Candiana " are poor wares in imitation of Syrian and Rhodian pottery in the Persian style of decoration, which during the seventeenth century were made at Candiana, close by Padua.

In the fourteenth century the Duomo or Cathedral of Milan was founded, and completed about 1418. From petty tyrants and internal dissensions the city suffered, and these unquiet times were prejudicial to its progress in art during the Renaissance, nor were the struggles of Germans and French for its possession conducive to the development of the manufacture of majolica, as one branch of art, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Jacquemart says that when Oriental pottery became the model of European ceramics, the Milanese faienciers were certainly those who approached the nearest to the desired type. Some old pieces decorated with bouquets, however, recall the textile fabrics of the seventeenth century ; in them blue and orange are dominant, and the mark Milao is now and then inscribed. The same name, but spelt Milano, is found on the small cups painted with figures in the Watteau style, now at the Sevres Museum. Again we find it surmounting the initials F.C, which are separated by two unknown signs. The last mark, indicating perhaps Felice Clerice, on examples painted in Chinese style, is one of two associated with the copies from the Oriental. The other is a signature: F. di Pasqual Rubati Mil*. His painting, highly praised by Jacquemart, is seen at its best in the Limoges Museum, which I have visited.

There may be seen several specimens of Milan faience in the Gasnault Collection which are equal in beauty to the richest old wares of Delft. This remark applies with particular force to Rubati's polychrome decoration, heightened with gold, more Japanese than Chinese in character. His initials also occur as a mark. Delft and Dresden, Milan, and many other places drew much of their design from the Far East. Not only so, but the later European potters copied the earlier, hence the numerous decorations in the Dresden style, amongst which are some attributed to Milan, and marked but rarely M' Frecchi. The productions of the old Milanese potters have suffered at the hands of the counterfeiter. Plates and dishes, with dentated yellow borders decorated with bouquets in the Chinese famille rose fashion, have flooded the market, but they should not impose upon any one who has the slightest acquaintance with the old ware.

Jacquemart discusses at some length the question whether a fabrique ever existed at Pavia, and concludes by stating that he had nowhere seen pottery decorated in colours. Indeed, he is inclined to consider the graffiti on slip ware as some individual's production, because they are all signed in one way. Upon a brown dish in the Cluny Museum, with the scratched designs known as graffiti a la Castellane, because it was first employed at Castello in Tuscany, there is this inscription: " Presbyter Antonius Maria Cutius, papiensis rotonotarius apostolicus fecit anno dominicae 1693.-Sola-mente e ingannato chi troppo si fida. Papie 1693." The last sentence, meaning there is no one deceived more than he who has too much confidence, is a sample of the proverbs, which, varied by Scripture texts, appear on this brown ware, covered with transparent glaze which approaches that seen on other Italian ware, such as La Fratta, Monte Lupo, and the pottery of Avignon.

Lodi, a manufacturing city eighteen miles south-east of Milan, and about the same distance north-east of Pavia, had a fabrique where faience, decorated with Chinese subjects resembling that of Treviso, was made towards the end of the seventeenth century, and during the eighteenth. Signed pieces are noted as follows: Ferret d Lodi; A.C.M. in a monogram with Lodi 1764, and another with a similar monogram surmounted by Lodi, without the date. A later factory, directed by Ignazio Cavazzuti, in 1790, is recorded, but its productions remain unknown.

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