“Magnificent Majolica” is a bimonthly series where we focus on the opulence and exuberance of the Archive’s majolica designs. Every other month we’ll highlight one or more artworks from our special Art & Design folio as detailed images, galleries, or interactive comparisons. If you’d like to find out more about majolica and why it is synonymous with Minton you can do so through our In Depth introduction to the series.
A stereo photograph of Minton’s majolica stand at the International Exhibition of 1862 was our first encounter with what we later learned – thanks to some Minton Archive serendipity – was a “gaselier”, or gas-powered chandelier.
Soon after publishing our first post we were tweeted a glimpse of the vibrant colours missing from our sepia-toned photograph, were reminded of another photograph from the collection in which it could be found, and were able to make further connections to the 1862 Exhibition Estimate Book and one of our Photograph Books, where it was shown sporting its glass shades. (It definitely makes more sense when seen that way!)
The artwork itself is, in one respect at least, by far the most “magnificent” majolica we’ve featured in this series so far – at 1.54m high and 0.68m wide there are very few other designs in the Majolica Art & Design folio that come close to matching its gargantuan size. To better illustrate the sheer scale of this piece we’ve included a super-hi-res, zoomable image below which you can use to explore this beautiful design in detail.