Magnificent Majolica: The Judgement of Paris

“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.

The centre of this design for a large majolica dish depicts a scene from The Judgement of Paris, a story from Greek mythology. In the story Paris, a Trojan shepherd, is asked by Zeus, king of the Gods, to judge which of three goddesses – Aphrodite, Athena, or Hera – should be awarded a golden apple inscribed “For the fairest one”. The artwork shows the moment Paris presents the apple to Aphrodite, who had offered the world’s most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta, in return. His acceptance of this offer would ultimately bring about the Trojan War.

1 Large Water Colour drawing, Design by Kirkby for a 24in Circular Dish, Judgement of Paris center, G79

View the source artwork for the highlights above