- Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 00:00
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A couple in the Northern Neck bought these two pieces of majolica separately many years ago. They bear no markings of identification. The colors on each are vibrant and the modeling is excellent, but each shows significant damage. The pitcher has a chunk missing from the rim, but the broken pieces are inside. The sculptured vase has a whole petal missing, and the pieces are lost. The owners wish to know if the pieces merit repair.
Majolica is a type of tin-glazed pottery, similar to French Faience or Mediterranean pottery. The
pieces are fired with the tin glaze, then decorated, and re-fired with a clear glaze. It is a form that dates back to the Babylonians 3,000 years ago. These two pieces appear to be either English Victorian or American, and date from the last third of the nineteenth century. Majolica is still a popular art form, being produced extensively today in China and elsewhere in the Orient for export to the West.
In their broken state, the pieces are of little value, but they merit restoration. The pitcher would be relatively inexpensive to repair, given the presence of the two broken chips; the vase, which is a more valuable piece, would be significantly higher in cost to restore. Once repaired, each piece would be worth more than the cost of the work.
As I have noted previously, here in Virginia we have one of the nation’s leading pottery and china restoration companies at McHugh’s Restorations in Richmond. Their level of restoration is superb, and their prices are reasonable. Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, North Carolina also offers restoration services for both ceramics and silver. I suggest sending photographs of the pieces to each of them to ask for approximate estimates.
For further reading on the subject, I recommend ITALIAN MAJOLICA by Bernard Rackham.