The Affordable IT Item

May is the Right Time to Buy Majolica.

By: Regina Kolbe • May 01, 2010 • 0 Comments

Whimiscal. Wild. Elaborate and often overdone. These are just a few of the words used to describe Majolica ceramics.

The wonderful form has been around since the Eighth Century, when the Spanish began popularizing it. It later became a part of the back-to-nature movement of the Industrial Revolution.

This month, we suggest taking a second look at the many forms of Majolica. It is glorious, often amusing and guaranteed to inspire conversation.

How Many Make A Collection?


I just heard from a friend who said she can’t pass an antique store without stopping in and buying something.

While world class shopping is fun, it can lead to complications, like making sure you are buying wisely and with an eye toward decorating and displaying your acquisitions.

Take a reality check before impulse buying. Keep in mind your theme or how you want to grow your collection. This way, buying becomes collecting and not simply accumulating.

Speaking of themes, if you haven’t yet decided what to collect, consider the things you already like. Perhaps you love shoes and have a bulging closet of them. You could always look for the kinds that don’t take up as much room.

I recently saw an antique Majolica shoe that told the entire story of a cobbler’s career. First of all, the ceramic shoe was so well done that you could swear it was leather. But the shoe wasn’t a fancy new one. The artisan had created a shoe with a run down heel and a mouse peeking out the hole in the toe. It was an allegory of the period, clearly, having to do with the impact of of 19th Century industrialization. Still, it was a charming, whimsical offering that could be placed anywhere because it spoke volumes.

I have also seen Majolica that is kitschy and Majolica that is elegant. The former, in the form of two standing pelicans, would have made fine garden ornaments. The vases and cachepots shown here on Latique are nothing less than awesome additions to a garden, mantelpiece or dining table. 

When I see large collections of majolica, I wonder how they got started. Blue Majolica vases

It has been said that buying one item makes it a unique attraction in your home. Buying two gives you a pair, though not necessarily a matching pair. Three is a set. Four is a collection. More than four, you’d best start thinking how to display them.

Overall, there are two general ways to display your treasures. The first, of course, is to showcase one at a time. (Perfect for large or dramatic items.) The other is to group them. And the third – I love this approach – is to rotate your items.

Just because you have many doesn’t mean they all need to be on display all the time. Showing a few at a time keeps you home looking fresh and simple

You can edit by seasons, theme or favorites. Meanwhile, tuck the items that don’t make your cut safely away for another rotation.

Display becomes more an issue when the items you love are small. That’s when you need to start thinking about buying a breakfront or vitrine. These glass-faced case pieces are the perfect solution.  (You’ll see several different styles here on Latique.)

Interestingly, the celebrity decorators we feature in Latique Magazine all have different approaches to displaying collections. By visiting Latique frequently, you will get a variety of insights on how to make the most of your collectibles.

In the meantime, check out Majolica. These highly decorative pieces have the potential to make a huge statement.

When you buy antiques online or anywhere else, purchase wisely. It's better to own your antiques than have them own you.