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Example of tin-glazed majolica.
Minton tin-glazed majolica in imitation of Italian maiolica, finely brush-painted on opaque white enamel. Thanks to Majolica International Society Karmason Library
Minton coloured lead glazes majolica flower vase, shape first shown 1851


Majolica is an Anglicized version of the Italian maiolica. It is named after the Island of Majorca [1] (formerly known as Maiolica), which was once a commerce center for work produced in Valencia, Spain.


majolica (countable and uncountable, plural majolicas)

  1. A fine Italian tin-glazed earthenware, coated with opaque white enamel and ornamented with metallic colours.
  2. An English tin-glazed earthenware, coated with opaque white enamel, ornamented with metal oxide colours, finely brush-painted decoration, manufactured by Minton & Co from 1850 to about 1870 in imitation of Italian Renaissance maiolica. Minton named the product ‘majolica’[2]. "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." Never mass-produced. Very rare.
  3. A lead-glazed earthenware decorated with colored lead glazes applied directly to an unglazed body, then fired. Typically hard-wearing, relief molded, in classical or naturalistic styles. Named Palissy ware by Minton & Co.[3], soon became known as ‘majolica’. Introduced in 1851[4], widely copied and mass-produced.
  4. Any other kind of glazed coloured earthenware or faience.


  1. ^ Arthur Beckwith, 1877, Majolica and Fayence, Italian, Sicilian, Majorcan, Hispano-Moresque and Persian, D. Appleton and Company, New York
  2. ^ Leon Arnoux (1877), 'British Manufacturing Industries', POTTERY by L. Arnoux[1]
  3. ^ Leon Arnoux (1867), Paris Exhibition, Report on Pottery[2]
  4. ^ The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue (1851)[3]

Alternative forms[edit]


  • Krueger, Dennis (December 1982). "Why On Earth Do They Call It Throwing?" Studio Potter Vol. 11, Number 1.[4] (etymology)
  • “majolica” in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: Based on Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, 8th edition, Springfield, Mass.: G[eorge] & C[harles] Merriam, 1973 (1974 printing), OCLC 299192187.
  • The Journal of Design and Manufactures Vol III (1850), Original papers: The exhibition of medieval art at the Society of Arts., pp 67-73
  • London Journal of Arts (1851) 39, p 61
  • Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue in Three Volumes, Volume II. (1851) London. W. Clowes & Sons Catalogue Entries 72, 74.
  • Lecture XXIII 'On Ceramic Manufactures, Porcelain and Pottery', L. Arnoux, Esq., 'Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851'; published London (1853) by David Rogue, 86 Fleet Street.
  • The Illustrated London News, Nov. 10, 1855, p.561