The Pottery Co. works primarily with a single importer who has spent 30 years forging relationships with the finest workshops in Italy. Italian pottery, known as Majolica (pronounced "my o lica"), is low-fired earthenware coated with an opaque tin oxide glaze. The firing temperatures allow for the vivid colors and beautiful designs. Its name is derived from the tiny isle of Majorca near Spain. The rise of Majolica in Italy correlated with the enormous wealth amassed by the nobility and the merchant class whose patronage was critical to pursuit of excellence in the arts during the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. For generations, Italian ceramics have captivated and delighted the world with its combination of lush color and intricate patterns on pottery for all kinds of use.
From the beginning, the art of creating Italian pottery or Majolica was a family enterprise. From digging and pouring the clay into molds to selling individual pieces, families have cultivated and developed their art and signature patterns for centuries. Each Italian ceramic piece is hand painted, and in many cases, hand built as well. Our collection of Italian pottery includes unique pieces as well as production work. Today, craftsmen from the towns of Deruta, Montelupo, Florentino and Sicilian regions still produce Italian pottery the old fashioned way.
Deruta - Browse Italian ceramics from this region
Deruta, located in the center of Umbria, has been producing Italian pottery for six hundred years. There are several patterns produced from this area. The well known patterns Raffaellesco (Dragon) and Ricco originated during the Renaissance. Their designs are taken from details in the paintings and frescoes of Raffaello and Perugino. Arabesco is based on a Persian calligraphic pattern from the seventeenth century. These designs came from pieces of tin-glazed ware imported from Spain by Majorcan merchants. Most of these Italian pottery pieces have a bird or pair of birds painted on them, though some can be found with deer or a hare. Galletto is based on the early traditions of painting crude portraits of people, plants or animals on ceramics. From this tradition is the nineteenth century version, 'Galletto Verde' (Green Rooster) which also comes in other colors. The Geometrica and Antico Italian ceramic patterns are based on the Persian use of patterns without figures. Deruta Frutta is a more contemporary pattern based on Della Robbia garlands of fruit in the Renaissance. This pattern comes in cherries, grapes, lemons, pears, blackberries and pomegranates. All sorts of Italian ceramic dishes can be found in these traditional patterns.
Tuscany - Browse Italian ceramics from this region
There is great diversity in the Italian pottery from the region of Tuscany. Our Tuscan pottery pieces range from the beautiful traditional pieces of Montelupo's 'Foglia di Montelupo' (Leaf of Montelupo) to the exuberant contemporary pieces of Rampini. Pottery from the fourteenth century was a green copper and manganese purplish black color on a creamy white background. By the end of the fourteenth century artisans began creating popular portraits on jugs and plates, influenced by the importation of ceramics from Spain. The Medici family in the mid fifteenth century was an influential patron to the arts and many luxurious Italian ceramic patterns were created such as the 'Foglia di Montelupo'. Throughout the centuries many Tuscan pottery patterns have been added and changed to suit the tastes of the time. You can find mugs, plates and platters, planters, pasta bowls and many more pottery pieces in the newer patterns of: Eden, Persephones, Controfando, Marino and Foglia.
Sicily - Browse Italian ceramics from this region
Our Italian pottery from Sicily is brightly colored and vivacious. Lemons and other fruit of the countryside are omnipresent in Sicilian earthenware from tiles and planters to tableware. A well-known pattern representative of this is the Sicilian Night Fruit. The Sicilians have been making Italian ceramics for centuries. The Greeks and the Phoenicians passed through this centrally located island, trading and bringing skills and techniques from the east. The Moors brought majolica itself to Sicily, the Saracens brought Byzantine ideas, and the Romans introduced Etruscan styles. We carry a diverse collection of Sicilian pottery with pieces endowed with stories from the medieval world, geometric patterns, and brightly colored fruits. The rich Sicilian history comes a vibrant and diverse culture of clay represented in our Italian pottery selection.
Puglia - Browse Italian ceramics from this region
Perhaps our most quirky and expressive Italian pottery are the pieces from Puglia. They derive from a long history of ceramic statuary in Southern Italy. During pre Christian times the Greeks arrived in Italy and began making Italian ceramics in the caves of this area of goddesses, heroines and animal totems. Much of the ceramics in ancient Puglia were urns and other containers for wheat, oil, olives and wine.