thirty parts of marzacotto and twelve parts of lead and tin ashes. The white enamel as used was therefore a mixed silicate of lead and potash rendered opaque with oxide of tin.
4. Pigments (colori) were compounded from metallic oxides or earths; the yellow, from antimoniate of lead, which was mixed with oxide of iron to give orange; the green, from oxide of copper (the turquoise tint given to the Egyptian and Syrian glazes by oxide of copper is impossible with a glaze of lead and tin); and the greens were made by mixing oxide of copper with oxide of antimony or oxide of iron; blue, from oxide of cobalt, used in the form of a blue glass (smalto, or zaffara); brownish-purple, from manganese; black, from mixtures of the other colours; and the rare red, or reddish brown, of Faenza and Cafaggiolo was probably the same Armenian bole that was used so magnificently by the makers of the Turkish pottery, but on the white enamel ground this colour was most treacherous and uncertain. It must be remembered that many of these colours owe their tint to the lead used in their composition, or to the grounds containing oxides of lead and tin on which they were painted. Piccolpasso describes the preparation and composition of the various colours used in his day.
5. Coperta, or transparent glaze. In the later majolica a thin coating of soft rich glaze was applied over the fired painting to give a smooth bright surface. This coperta was a soft lead glass consisting of silica (sand), 20 parts; oxide of lead, 17 parts; potash, 12 parts; and common salt, 8 parts; fused together and then finely ground in water.
6. Methods of Glazing and Decorating.—In the mezza-majolica and the early majolica it is probable that the clay vessel was dipped in the white bath to give it an envelope (invetriatura) before it was fired at all; but it must soon have become apparent that it was much better to fire first the shaped vessel until it was about as hard and brittle as a clay tobacco-pipe, and then coat it with the white enamel, by dipping it into a bath or pouring the fluid material upon it. This was the practice described by Piccolpasso. A coating of white enamel, the thickness of glove leather, having been obtained, the piece was carefully taken by the painter, who first etched in the outline on the absorbent powdery ground, and then shaded the figures, landscapes, &c., in blue or in a mixture of blue and yellow, adding the other colours as gradated washes. The vase was then fired a second time to a heat greater than the first, so that the enamel was melted on the vessel and the colours sunk into the enamel at one and the same operation. This method of painting on the unbaked enamel demanded a bold direct treatment—for alteration or retouching was impossible—and much of the vigour of the earlier designs is due to this fact. As the ware became more refined in its treatment it was felt that this method did not yield a sufficiently brilliant surface, and so the painted and fired piece was coated with a film of coperta and fired again at a slightly lower temperature to make it smoother and more glossy. Still pursued by the idea of rivalling the triumphs of pictorial art, the majolist carried his methods a step farther. The white enamel coating was fired before painting, giving a glossy surface on which the painter could draw or wipe out, and so could execute outlining, tinting, or shading of the utmost delicacy. A film of coperta was then washed over the painting, and the piece was fired a third time in the cooler parts of the kiln. In some instances it is not easy even for an experienced potter to decide which method has been pursued, owing to the softening of the colours. Generally we should expect that the later and more pictorial pieces had been painted on a ground of fired white enamel, and we may be absolutely certain when delicate white patterns have been “picked out” in a coloured ground.
Where lustre decoration has been added to a piece of majolica it indicates, as elsewhere, the use of a special process, and a final firing at a lower heat. The lustre pigments were the same as those used on the earlier lustred wares, and these were painted over an otherwise finished piece. To obtain the lustre effect these were placed in a special kiln, so contrived that when the pots were just visibly red the smoke of the burning fuel (rosemary or gorse) was allowed to play upon them long enough to drive the metallic films (silver or copper) into the already-fired glaze.
Collections.—The Victoria and Albert Museum contains perhaps the most widely representative collection in the world, especially as at the present time the pieces of the Salting and Pierpont Morgan collections are on exhibition there. The British Museum collection is valuable, being rich in “signed” pieces of the first quality. The Wallace collection and the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford (Fortnum collection, &c.) are also valuable and contain some remarkable examples. The Cluny Museum, the Louvre and the museum at Sèvres have fine collections; while noteworthy pieces are to be found in the Ceramic Museum at Limoges. In Germany the museum at Brunswick contains one of the largest collections known, but many inferior and doubtful examples. Berlin, Munich, Vienna and St Petersburg have noteworthy collections. In Italy, the Bargello at Florence and the museums of Venice, Milan, Turin, Faenza, Pesaro, Urbino, Rome and Naples all have collections, whilst interesting examples of local manufactures are to be found in many of the smaller Italian towns. The American museums, especially those in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, have some fine examples.
Literature.—F. Argnani, La Ceramiche et maioliche faentine (Faenza, 1889 and 1903); D. Bonghi, Intorno alle Majoliche di Castelli (Naples, 1856); Professor Douglas, “Siena,” in the Nineteenth Century, September 1900; Hensel, Essai sur la majolique (Paris, 1836); G. I. Montanari, Majoliche dipinte nella collezione del N. S. C. Domenico Mazza (Pesaro, 1836); L. Frati, Di un insigna raccolta di majoliche (Bologna, 1844); also Di un pavimento in majolica (Bologna, 1853); J. C. Robinson, Italian Sculpture of the Middle Ages (London, 1862); E. Darcel, Musée du Louvre: Notice des faïences peintes; Drury E. Fortnum, Contribution to the History of Pottery (London, 1868); Delange, Recueil de faïences italiennes du XVe au XVIIe siècle (Paris, 1869); M. Meurer, Italienische Maiolika Fliesen (Berlin); E. Molinier, Les Majoliques italiennes en Italie (Paris, 1883), also La Céramique italienne au XVe siècle (Paris, 1888); C. Piccolpasso, I tre libri dell’ arte del Vasajo, Castel Durante 1548 (original MS.) and translations by C. Popelyn, Paris, 1841 and 1860, also Italian editions of Rome and Milan; V. Lazari, Notizia della raccolta Correr (Venice, 1859); Drury E. Fortnum, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Majolica in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1873); Beckwith, Majolica and Faience (New York, 1877); G. Corona, La Ceramica (Milan, 1878); G. Vanzolini, Istoria delle fabbriche di majoliche metaurensi (Pesaro, 1879); A. Genolini, Majoliche italiane (Milan, 1881); Mely, La Céramique italienne (Paris, 1884); J. E. Jacobsthal, Süd-italienische Fliesen (Berlin, 1886); Bertolotti, Figulini, fonditori, e scultori (Milan, 1890); H. Wallis, Italian Ceramic Art (1897), The Oriental Influence on the Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance (1900), The Art of the Precursors (1901), The Majolica Pavements of the Fifteenth Century (1902), Oak-leaf Jars: A Fifteenth Century Italian Ware (1903), The Albarello (1904), also Seventeen Plates by Nicola Fontana (1905), and Italian Ceramic Art: Figure Designs (1905); Tesorone, L’Antico Pavimento delle Logge di Raffaello in Vaticano (Naples, 1891); Columba, Il “Quos Ego” di Raffaello (Palermo, 1895); Drury E. Fortnum, Majolica (London, 1896); also Fortnum Collection in the Oxford Museum (London, 1896); O. von Falke, Majolika (Berlin, 1896); also Sammlung R. Zschille: Katalog der italienischen Majoliken (Leipzig, 1899); Antaldi Santinelli, Museo di Pesaro (Pesaro, 1897); De Mauri, L’Amatore di Majolica (Milan, 1898); E. Hannover, De Spanske-Mauriske, og de forste Italienske Fayence (Copenhagen, 1906). (R. L. H.; W. B.*)
French Pottery from the 15th to the 19th Century
The pottery of medieval France needs little attention here, for it was, in the main, similar to that which was made generally in Europe—rudely shaped vessels of ordinary clay often decorated with modelled ornament and glazed with yellow or brown lead glaze, or, if coated with white slip, decorated with bright green glazes, and towards the end of the 15th century with greyish blue. The later specimens of this simple ware—pronouncedly Gothic in feeling—were often extremely decorative. Avignon, Beauvais and Savigny are the best-known centres of this truly national manufacture, and, as we might expect in French work, the reliefs are often sharp and well designed. Evidence accumulates that from time to time the princes and great nobles imported Spanish or Italian workmen to make special tiles for the decoration of their palaces or chapels. The duke of Burgundy brought Jehan de Moustiers and Jehan-le-Voleur, “ouvriers en quarrieaux peints et jolis,” in 1391, to paint tiles for his palaces at Hesdin and Arras in the north, and we have already referred to the tile-work in the Spanish fashion made at Poitiers by John of Valencia, the “Saracen,” in 1384 for Duke Jean de Berry. Other instances might be multiplied but that this foreign work left little or no traces on contemporary French pottery. Even at a later date, when Francis I. brought Girolamo della Robbia from Italy to decorate his “Petit Château de Madrid” in 1529, or when Masseot Abaquesne, about 1542, manufactured at Rouen the painted tile pavements for the château of Ecouen, the cathedral of Langres, and other places, nothing came of the imported methods; the works were executed and left no traces on the general pottery of the country. During the 16th century, however, two remarkable kinds of pottery were made in France of distinctive quality, and both eminently French—the Henri-Deux ware and the pottery of Bernard Palissy and his imitators.
Henri-Deux, Oiron or St Porchaire ware, for all these names have in turn been applied to the enigmatic and wonderful pottery, specimens of which are now valued at more than their weight in
- For a full account of the lustre process see Franchet, Comptes rendus for December 1905, and W. Burton, Society of Arts Journal, 2846, vol. lv., 1907.
- See Magne, Le Palais de Justice de Poitiers (Paris, 1904); also Solon in Burlington Magazine (November 1907).