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English Wikipedia has an article on:
1. Coloured glazes majolica. Thick glazes applied simultaneously to an unglazed body, no fine brush work, no opaque white tin-glaze coating.
2. Tin-glazed majolica. Coated both sides with opaque white tin-glaze, fine brush-painted decoration, manganese oxide (brown/black) brush painted maker's name to reverse.
Coloured glazes majolica. Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Tin-glazed majolica. Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Tin-glazed maiolica/majolica, opaque white tin-glaze, fine brush-painted decoration.
Coloured lead glazes majolica. Thick glazes, no fine brush work, no opaque white tin-glaze coating.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (earthenware coated with opaque white tin glaze): maiolica


From Italian maiolica, named after the Island of Majorca (formerly known as Maiolica), which was once a commerce center for work produced in Valencia, Spain. Doublet of Majorca.


  • IPA(key): /məˈd͡ʒɒlɪkə/, /maɪˈɒlɪkə/


majolica (countable and uncountable, plural majolicas)

  1. Earthenware decorated with coloured lead silicate glazes applied directly to an unglazed body.
    Synonym: Palissy ware
    Hyponyms: Palissy majolica, Victorian majolica, Minton majolica, Sarreguemines majolica, 20th century majolica.
    • 1862, Editorial Staff, Art Journal Catalogue, Exhibited Class XXXV, no.6873, D78.[1], page #:8:
      The Italian Vase [top, left, p.8] is Majolica, […] The Ewer [bottom, middle, p.8] is a Palissy vase.
    • 1877, Leon Arnoux, Director, Minton & Co., British Manufacturing Industries POTTERY, page #:42
      Majolica was produced for the first time by Messrs. Minton, in 1850, and they have been for many years the only producers of this article. The name of majolica is now applied indiscriminately to all fancy articles of coloured pottery. When, however, it is decorated by means of coloured glazes, if these are transparent, it ought to be called Palissy ware […]
    • 1904, Arthur Hayden, Chats on English China, New York, page #:184:
      [Minton] employed no less than 1500. The various branches he developed were earthenware and ordinary soft porcelain, hard porcelain, parian, coloured and enamelled tiles, mosaics, Della Robbia ware, majolica, and Palissy ware.
    • 1999, Paul Atterbury and Maureen Batkin, Dictionary of Minton, ACC Art Books (2nd Revised edition edition 1 Jan. 1999), page #:124
      […] the coloured glaze decorated wares which we now call majolica, but which Minton referred to as Palissy wares.
    • 2016, A Bouquillon, J Castaing, F Barbe, S.R. Paine, B Christman, T Crépin-Leblond, A.H.. Heuer, Lead-Glazed Rustiques Figulines of Bernard Palissy [1510-90] and his Followers: Archaeometry. 59. 10.1111/arcm.12247.:
      Summary: Analysis confirms that Palissy used coloured lead glazes, lead silicates with added metal oxides of copper [for green], cobalt [for blue], manganese [for brown and black] or iron [for yellow ochre] with a small addition of tin [for opacity] to some of the glazes." in a sombre earth-toned palette, using naturalistic scenes of plants and animals cast from life.
    • 2018, Claire Blakey, Minton Majolica: A Visual Feast of Victorian Opulence Minton Archive
      Majolica is the term used to describe pottery made of an earthenware body coated with semi-translucent coloured lead glazes. It was developed at the Minton factory in the late 1840s by Léon Arnoux, who had come to the Potteries in 1848.
  2. Earthenware coated with opaque white tin-glaze, decorated with coloured metal oxide enamel(s).
    Hyponyms: Italian maiolica, Hispano-Moresque ware, Talavera (Spanish/Mexican), Victorian majolica, Minton majolica, Faience, Delftware.
    • 1857, Joseph Marryat, History of Pottery and Porcelain, Medieval and Modern[2], page #:10:
      The Italian pottery, generally known under the names of Majolica, Raffaelle ware, and sometimes by the term of "Umbrian ware," through the production of the fifteenth century [...]"
    • 1857, Joseph Marryat, History of Pottery and Porcelain, Medieval and Modern[3], page #:373:
      Enamel - A vitrifiable substance; opaque, generally Stanniferous majolica [...]
    • 1877, Arthur Beckwith, Majolica and Fayence, Italian, Sicilian, Majorcan, Hispano-Moresque and Persian[4], page #:23:
      …the use of the word majolica will be restricted to its original meaning of lustred stanniferous glazed pottery.
    • 1907, Edwin Atlee Barber, Tin enamelled Pottery Maiolica, Delft and other Stanniferous Faience, Doubleday, Page & Company New York, page #:6
      The word Majolica, or Maiolica […] was applied to all Stanniferous faience of Italy and Spain.
    • 1999, Paul Atterbury and Maureen Batkin, Dictionary of Minton, ACC Art Books (2nd Revised edition edition 1 Jan. 1999), page #:124
      Minton did not use the word maiolica themselves, relying instead on the Victorian version, majolica, which they used to mean wares of Renaissance inspiration, featuring hand painting on an opaque white glaze. […].
    • 2019, Metropolitan Museum, Dish, Early 15th century[5], New York, page #:
      Medium: Earthenware, tin-glaze (Majolica) [...] in the early eighteenth, earthenwares with tin glazes were the most widely produced ceramics in Europe.

Further reading[edit]

  • Victorian majolica on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • majolica on Wikimedia Commons.Wikimedia Commons
  • “majolica” in the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1974 edition.
  • Merriam-Webster Online [6]
  • Minton Archive (2019), "Minton Majolica in Depth" [7]
  • Musée Sarreguemines (2019), "Musée de la Faience" [8]
  • Wiktionary, majolica n., Citations [9]
  • Wiktionary, majolica n., Discussion [10]