Specialty books for the curious of mind


Italian Maiolica and Europe

Italian Maiolica and Europe


Medieval Renaissance and later Italian pottery in the Ashmolean Museum, oxford, with some examples illustrating the spread of tin-glazed pottery across Europe

Timothy Wilson 

with essay by Kelly Domoney and Elisabeth Gardiner

Ashmolean Museum 

Size: 320 mm x 245 mm
Pages: 568
Illustrations: 600 color, 20 b&w

Devoted to one of the world's greatest collections 

Maiolica or tin-glazed earthenware has been called "the pottery of humanism." It is the quintessential Renaissance ceramic art and had an enormous impact on the decorative arts of the rest of Europe during this period and beyond. Rendering a ceramic glass opaque white with the addition of tin oxide,  a base of painting, came from the Islamic world where it developed around 800 A.D. 

This publication traces the development of the art from Malaga in the Islamic Kingdom of Andalucia, up through Spain to Paterna to the Manises in the Christian Kingdom of Valencia and then to Italy. The techniques, the craftsmen and the towns where the Italian potters learned the Islamic secret of applying metallic luster are all explained.  And  kings, princesses and ordinary people, the export business and the acquirer of beautiful objects for their own sake are part of the story, as well. 

The works shown in this complete catalogue of the Maiolica in the Ashmolean Museum are beyond description. This is one of the world's great collections, and the color, artistry, rich variety of forms and techniques of the works are sure to be enjoyed by the decorative arts devotee over many years. 

This publication is the culmination of nearly 30 years' work in caring for, studying, and developing the collections by the author, Timothy Wilson who is the world's leading expert on European Renaissance ceramics. The Ashmolean collections have their origins in the collection of C.D.E. Fortnum (1820-1899), but have been developed further in the last quarter-century.

Containing 289 catalogue entries, as part of the museum's total collection of post-classical Italian pottery are pieces from excavations. Included are some 70 selected pieces of pottery from France, the Low Countries, England, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Mexico, in order to present a wide-ranging picture of the development of tin-glaze pottery from Islamic Spain through to recent times. 

Professor Timothy Wilson is the world's leading authority on the subject and is a former Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum. Kelly Domoney of Cranfield University, and Elisabeth Gardner of the Ashmolean's Conservation Department, provide an essay on the technical analysis and conservation history of some major pieces.

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