The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay.
Through the display of its permanent collections and special exhibitions, as well as through studio education, programs that engage diverse communities, and major contributions to scholarship, the Gardiner champions ceramics.
Support from the community is vital to the Gardiner’s ability to continue to provide
There’s more to the Gardiner than our collections. Take a clay class, learn about the art of ceramics with world-renowned guest speakers, or join us for one of our many special events.
Executive Chef Bianca Azupardo presents inspired seasonal menus that showcase locally-sourced ingredients, complemented by stunning views of the city.
You're invited on a journey from the steamy kitchens of cooks who advocated light, flavourful cuisine centuries before our time to the dining rooms of connoisseurs who relished their meals served on newly-invented vessels. Be transported back to the 18th century through stunning objects, decadent recipes, amusing stories, and theatrical sets. Plan your visit to Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment now!
On December 10, award-winning Cree journalist Connie Walker moderates a panel featuring exhibiting artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Kali Spitzer, as well as Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Health Association. The conversation will centre on the role of visual art in addressing the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, queer, and trans community members. Get tickets now!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Everyone can love clay! Become a Friend at one of the world’s great specialty museums and enjoy the benefits, including unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition previews and special events, discounts on lectures and clay classes, and more.
Part of the Gardiner Signature Lecture Series
The Robert and Marian Cumming Lecture
With additional support from Brian Wilks
Please note: This lecture is free for members at the ‘Gardiner Friend’ level and above. Click here to RSVP for up to two tickets. Space is limited. This benefit does not apply to the ‘Get Acquainted’ level.
Speaker: Dr. Jo Briggs is the Jennie Walters Delano Curator of 18th- & 19th-Century Art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
In the second half of the 19th century, majolica was the signature product of the renowned British firm, Minton & Company. Vibrantly coloured and robustly modelled, majolica is a revivalist form whose named invokes the maiolica of the Renaissance. It met with immediate success after its first major showing at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and became popular in homes across the British Empire and on both sides of the Atlantic after 1860.
Majolica was Herbert Minton’s response to the challenge of how to improve the quality of British manufactures. The question of good design was an urgent one in the mid-19th century, when mass production was bringing decorative ceramics within reach of new consumers, and when Britain seemed to lag behind France in the field of decorative arts. Despite its success, majolica was quickly embroiled in debates about aesthetics, the art historical canon, the condition of the worker, and the ethics of industrialization.
In the 20th century, and even today, majolica’s vibrant colours and figurative nature have made it challenging for many to appreciate on grounds of taste, not least because the Victorian issues that it engages with—food, race, and our relationship to nature—are still to be resolved. However, if we can rise to the challenge of majolica’s bold aesthetics, accepting them as productively discomforting, we can discover much about Victorian culture, as well as our own.
About the Speaker
Dr. Jo Briggs is the Jennie Walters Delano Curator of 18th- & 19th-Century Art at the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, MD), where she has worked since 2011. She has curated exhibitions on Fabergé, the early history of the Walters’ collection, the American sculptor William Henry Rinehart, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Her research has appeared in the scholarly journals Art History, Oxford Art Journal, Victorian Studies, and Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, among others, and in 2016 Manchester University Press published her first book Novelty Fair: British Visual Culture between Chartism and the Great Exhibition, based on postdoctoral research completed at the Yale Center for British Art. She is currently collaborating with Susan Weber and her team at the Bard Graduate Center to curate Majolica Mania, a major exhibition and publication on 19th-century majolica in a transatlantic context.
Header image: Monogrammed Fountain, 1861-62, Minton Ceramics Manufactory (English, founded 1796), Lead-glazed earthenware (majolica), Walters Art Museum, 48.2890, Gift of Deborah and Philip English, 2018
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*Discounts on programs and classes do not apply to ‘Get Acquainted’ level.
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7