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Home /   Exhibitions /  Past Exhibitions / A Brilliant Invention: Victorian Majolica from the Rosalie Wise Sharp Collection

A Brilliant Invention: Victorian Majolica from the Rosalie Wise Sharp Collection

Fri Mar 03 to Apr 23, All Day

Lobby Display

With brilliant colours and bold modelling, majolica enlivened the Victorian home. A low-fired earthenware decorated with bright lead-based glazes, it was first introduced by Herbert Minton (1793-1858) at London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. It was an immediate success and a number of manufacturers soon joined in its production.

Victorian majolica was initially inspired by Renaissance ceramics, both in form and colour. Even the name ‘majolica’ alludes to a type of Renaissance pottery known as ‘maiolica.’ Soon producers embraced other popular styles, but nature remained a constant source of inspiration, reflecting the Victorian interest in botany and gardening.  The new ware also brought fantasy and humour to ceramics, with objects ranging from whimsical tableware to garden furniture and sculpture.

Shell Flower Holders, England, Minton, 1870, Majolica (lead-glazed earthenware), On loan from the Rosalie Wise Sharp Collection