Mary's Maiolica Arts


Maiolica: Collections & History   Maiolica: Techniques & Patterns    Delft   English Delftware   Faience   Decorative Tile and Tile Design   Spanish and Mexican   General Ceramic History   Ceramic Techniques and Reference Unusual References

Maiolica: Collections & History

Antiche maioliche di Deruta per un museo regionale della ceramica umbra, Amministrazione Proviciale di Perugia, 1980.

Lucian Arbace, Museo Della Ceramica Duca Di Martini: La Maiolica Italiana, Electa Napoli, 1996 hardback, 224 pages, in Italian. 

Notes:  Since I don't read Italian, I use this book primarily as a pattern reference.  The collection is primarily pharmacy jars, jugs and vases.  Most of the images are in color.  I found this book in the bookstore at the Louvre in Paris.  It is a standard book about a collection with a description about each item in the collection.

Fausto Berti, Storia della ceramica di Motelupo: Uomini e fornaci in un centro di produzione dal XIV al XVIII secolo, Aedo, 1997, 3 volumes. 

Notes:  This wonderful book was a gift to me from Guido Bitossi, President of Colorobbia.  This set has about 1200 pages.  About half of the pages are color photographs of historical maiolica from various museums.  A large number of the maiolica pieces are from Montelupo's Museo Archeologico e della Ceramica, the home town of Colorobbia.  This book also includes a large number of archaeological pieces.  The books are organized by decorative motif or theme.  There is also a large variety of skill levels represented.  Most books on museum collections include only the best works by the best artists.  This is a very useful source for someone who wants to make maiolica for historical re-enactment.  Volume 1 shows archaic maiolica.  Volume 2 is primarily plates.  Volume 2 is jars, jugs and tiles.  I refer to volume 2 the most.

Gian Carlo Bojani et Tullio Seppilli, La tradition de la ceramique en Ombrie: De l'antiquite au XXeme siecle, Centro Umbria Arte Communication, Perouse, 1996, paperbound, 95 pages.

Notes:  This is a book I bought at the ceramic museum in Deruta Italy mainly because it had images of small, double handled drinking cups.  Drinking cups are rarely shown in books.  Most books of collections have plates, bowls and jars.  There are some more drinking vessels in the book "Maiolica in the North" by David Gaimster.

Alan Caiger-Smith. Tin-Glaze Pottery in Europe and the Islamic World, Faber and Faber Limited, 1973, hard bound, 236 pages. 

Notes:  There are two editions of this book. The 1973 edition contains color photographs and the later edition has only black and white photographs. This book can be rather pricey in the used book market. This reference explores the spread of tin-glazed pottery to various countries from it's earliest origins. This author also is also one of the authors for the English translation of the sixteenth century book "The Three Books of the Potter's Art" .

Celia Curnow. Italian Maiolica in the National Museums of Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, 1992, paperbound, 120 pages. 

Notes:  Contains primarily black and white photos but also has some color pages.  Book also shows a few backs of pieces.  The collection has nice variety and covers a lot of different styles of decoration.

David Gaimster, Maiolica in the North: The Archaeology of Tin-Glazed Earthenware in North-west Europe c. 1500-1600,  British Museum Occasional Paper Number 122, The British Museum, 1999. 

Notes: Scholarly papers by various authors on the spread of the maiolica technique to Northern Europe.  Also includes some interesting analysis on the characteristics of the clays used to make tin-glazed pottery.  Includes lots of chemical analysis, images and drawings of archaeological finds.  Also contains extensive footnotes and bibliographies.

Antonello Governale, Ricerche sulla Maiolica Italiana:  Maioliche da Collezioni Private in Siclia, Altamura Editrice, 1999, paperbound, 194 pages, in Italian. 

Notes: A nice selection of color photographs.  Collection is primarily pharmacy jars, jugs and vases.  

Catherine Hess, Italian Maiolica: Catalog of the Collections, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu California, 1988, hardcover, 127 pages. 

Notes:  This book has color photographs of the museum's collection.  The book also includes black and white photographs of the reverse of the objects.  Appendix has cutaway profiles to show shape of the vessels.  The author has written a number of books on maiolica.  There is also a larger, more recently published book on the J. Paul Getty maiolica collection by the same author.

Guiseppe Liverani, Five Centuries of Italian Majolica, McGraw Hill Book Co., Inc. 1960.

Elizabeth Helman Minchilli,Deruta, A Tradition of Italian Ceramics, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1998, hardback, 165 pages. 

Notes:  A really nice book with lots of color photographs.  This is about a town known for maiolica production since the Renaissance.  The book discusses both historic and modern pieces of maiolica.  There are also images of ceramic workshops.

Julia E. Poole,Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks, Italian Maiolica, Cambridge University Press, 1997, paperback, 141 pages. 

Notes:  Color photography of all 64 pieces described.

Julia Poole, Italian Maiolica and incised slipware in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge,  Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, Great Britain, 1995, hardbound, 593 pages. 

Notes:  This is a very large collection and book.  The images in the book are primarily black and white photographs of the collection with two sections of color photographs.  This a large and varied collection of maiolica which would be more valuable if more of the images were in color.  It is a good reference book for a historical re-enactor looking for some simple quick and easy designs for dinnerware as well as more complicated "for display only" designs.

Bernard Rackham C.B, F.S.A., Catalog of Italian Maiolica, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office. First published 1940, second impression with amendments 1977.  

Notes:  Huge collection of maiolica.  All photographs are in black and white.  Book is out of print, rare and very expensive.  I would consider anything written by Bernard Rackham as a definitive source considering how often his name is mentioned in other books about ceramics.  The 1940 edition of this book was published with a war time binding of heavy brown paper.  The 1977 edition is hardbound.  The 1940 edition is the one I prefer even though some corrections were supposedly made for the 1977 edition.  It is obvious that the images of 1977 edition are a photocopy of the 1940 version and there is a degradation of the quality of the images.

Bernard Rackham, Italian Maiolica, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1952, hardbound, 35 pages of text and a separate image section with 100 pages of images. 

Notes:  Written by the former keeper of the Department of Ceramics of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Only 4 photographs in color.  Overview of Italian maiolica written by a frequently referenced scholar.

Wendy M. Watson,  Italian Renaissance Ceramics: The Howard I. and Janet H. Stein Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001, hardbound, 224 pages, 112 color plates. 

Notes:  Starts with an interesting discussion on art collecting and the acquisition of a maiolica collection.  Includes photographs of collection galleries.  The collection includes a number of istoriatos and jars.  One of the nice things about this book is the Appendix which shows the reverse sides of the pieces in the collection.  Believe me, this is a rare thing and I really appreciate it when I get to see the backs of pieces of maiolica.

Wendy M. Watson, Italian Renaissance Maiolica from the William A. Clark Collection. Scala Books Ltd., Russell Chambers, Covent Garden, London, 1986, paperbound, 192 pages. 

Notes:  This book has a lot of my favorite plates.  This is the source I used for my award winning "Dragon Plate". The book is out of print but available from used book stores over the Internet.  I have seen other books published about this collection.  There is a section in the back of the book with cutaway profiles of the maiolica pieces.  The profiles are derived from those used by Bernard Rackham in his catalog of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Timothy Wilson, Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance, British Museum Publications, 1987, paperbound, 192 pages. 

Notes:  Collection of the British Museum.  Most photographs are in black & white but it also has three sections of color photographs.  I use my books on museum collections primarily for design inspiration -- this is one of the museum collection books I actually read.  I especially enjoyed the section on design sources used for istoriato maiolica.  The book includes a number of images of engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi which were likely used as references by Renaissance maiolica painters.  Someday I would like to try my hand at creating a maiolica piece by using a period engraving as inspiriration.

I think there is a newer book on the collection at the British Museum.

Timothy Wilson, Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics in the Ashmolean Museum, The University of Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 1989, hardbound, 80 pages.

Notes:  Is an overview of Renaissance Italian maiolica using only 34 items.  Pictures are in color and includes black & white. Has images of the backs of some of the pieces.

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Maiolica: Techniques & Patterns

Giulio Busti and Franco Cocchi, Ceramiche tradizionali di Deruta da farmacia, Gramma, 1998, paperbound, 78 pages, written in Italian.

Notes:  I purchased this book in Deruta Italy.  It is part of a series of books published by the ceramic artists of Deruta.  In these books a master painter reproduces a museum piece of maiolica.  All the vessels in this book are pharmacy jars or jugs.  On a two page spread for each piece is an image of the original museum piece with a description; a cut-away drawing of the pottery vessel; a colored pencil pattern; information about the modern maiolica artist doing the reproduction; and an image of their reproduction.  This book is of limited availability.  I purchased a copy at a ceramic supply shop in Deruta.  It was also available in the gift shop at the ceramic museum in Deruta.

Giulio Busti and Franco Cocchi, Dulce est Amare: Ceramiche tradizionali di Deruta a soggetto amoroso, Futura, 2001, paperbound, 128 pages, in Italian.

Notes:  I purchased this book in Deruta Italy.  It is the part of a series of books published by the ceramic artists of Deruta.  In these books a master painter reproduces a museum piece of maiolica.  The vessels in this book are primarily plates, but there is a variety of other shapes including jars, bowls and a salt cellar.  A majority of the designs include portraits.  On a two page spread for each piece is an image of the original museum piece with a description; a cut-away drawing of the pottery vessel; a colored pencil pattern; information about the modern maiolica artist doing the reproduction; and an image of their reproduction.  This book is of limited availability.  I purchased a copy at a ceramic supply shop in Deruta.  It was also available in the gift shop at the ceramic museum in Deruta.

Giulio Busti and Franco Cocchi, Fatto in Deruta: Ceramiche tradizionali di Deruta, Futura, 2004, paperbound, 104 pages, in Italian.

Notes:  This book was used as my "textbook" for a personalized class I attended at the Scuola D'Arte Ceramica in Deruta Italy.  It is the part of a series of books published by the ceramic artists of Deruta.  In these books a master painter reproduces a museum piece of maiolica.   This is my favorite of the three books in this series that I own mainly because it includes some of my favorite historic pieces of maiolica including a blue and white medieval bestiary bowl owned by the British Museum.  On a two page spread for each piece is an image of the original museum piece with a description; a cut-away drawing of the pottery vessel; a line drawing pattern; information about the modern maiolica artist doing the reproduction; and an image of their reproduction.  This book is of limited availability.  I purchased a copy at a ceramic supply shop in Deruta.  It was also available in the gift shop at the ceramic museum in Deruta.

Daphne Carnegy, Tin-glazed Earthenware: From Maiolica, Faience and Delftware to the Contemporary, Chilton Book Company, 1993, hardcover, 176 pages.

Notes:  Aimed more toward a professional potter.  Includes a general history of tin-glazed pottery in different countries with images of historic maiolica.  Includes glaze recipes and other information on materials and decorating techniques.

Catherine Hess, Maiolica In the Making: The Gentile/Barnabei Archive, Getty Research Institute, 1999. 

Notes:  This book has a lot of information the transferring ceramic patterns using the pouncing method.  Pouncing involves poking a series of small holes in the lines of a pattern and rubbing pulverized chalk, carbon or graphite through the holes and onto the surface to be decorated.  The patterns and drawing of the collection date from the late 17th century through the late 18th century.  There is also some discussion in the text about the Renaissance era although there are no patterns from that time period.

Ronald Lightbown and Alan Caiger-Smith, The Three Books of the Potter's Art,, Scolar Press, 1980. 

Notes:  This is the ultimate reference book for anyone interested in Renaissance techniques .  This is the translation of a book written in 1550's by Cavaliere Cipriano Piccolpassi of Castel Durante.  Borrow this book using inter-library loan.  This book is very rare and very expensive.  There is also a translation from the 1940's but the 1980 edition is easier to use because the the original images are included within the text of the English translation.  SMU, in Dallas, has a copy of it in their library.

Matthias Ostermann, The New Maiolica: Contemporary Approaches to Colour and Technique, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, hardbound, 160 pages.

Notes:  This is a book I usually recommend to people interested in making maiolica by mixing their own glazes or decorating with powdered pigments rather than using commercially made materials.  There is also a very useful troubleshooting chapter that addresses common technical problems with creating maiolica.  This book is out of print but worth tracking down from a used book search engine.

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Delft (Dutch)

Hans van Lemmen, Delftware Tiles, Shire Publications Ltd., Buckinghamshire, UK, 1998, paperback, 32 pages. 

Notes:  This is a small paperback booklet.  All photos except cover are in black and white.  When searching used book sites, this book can be easily confused with the hardback book with same title and author.  The larger hardback book is a much better reference book.  This booklet was probably made to be sold as a souvenir in a museum gift shop.

Hans van Lemmen, Delftware Tiles, Laurence King Publishing, London, 1997, Hardback, 224 pages and 195 color illustrations.

Note:  A good overview of Delftware tiles from their origins to their revival.  Shows the steps in painting a tile. Covers the various themes and subjects used on tiles.  Includes a section on collecting.

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English Delftware

Anthony Ray, English Delftware, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 2000, paperback, 80 pages. 

Notes:  This is a small trade paperback book.  It has 51 examles of English Delftware starting c.1640 through 1780. All photos are in color.  Has a brief history of English Delftware. The rest of the book is information about the items in the collection.

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Faience (French)

Dossier De L'Art, Faience Francaise, La faience francaise du XIII au XVII siecle, Oct. 2000, paperbound, 74 pages, in French. 

Notes:  Lots of photographs on Renaissance and medieval French ceramics.  I found this publication in the Louvre museum book store.

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Spanish and Mexican

Florence C. Lister and Robert H. Lister, Maiolica Ole: Spanish and Mexican Decorative Traditions, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2001, paperbound, 176 pages.

Notes:  Includes color photographs of both Spanish and Mexican folt art tin-glazed pottery. I found this book at a used book store.

Tile design in Valencia: from the Middle Ages through the Early 20th Century, Generalitat Valenciana, 2007?, paperbound, 318 pages.

Notes:  This book was published in conjunction with an exhibit titled "Tile Design in Valencia" at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. The text of the book is in both English and Spanish. The catalog entries are published only in Spanish. There is also a CD included with the book..

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Decorative Tile and Tile Design

Elizabeth Eames,, Medieval Craftsmen, English Tilers, British Museum Press. 1996. 

Notes:  This book isn't related to maiolica, but I still find it interesting.  I love the floors in medieval churches.

Janis Fanning & Mike Jones, Handcrafted Ceramic Tiles, Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., New York, 1998.

Robert Field, Geometric Patterns from Roman Mosaics and how to draw them, Tarquin Publications, England, 1999. 

Notes:  Small paperback with 64 pages.  I think I found this book in the gift shop for the Roman Baths in Bath England.  

Carol Belanger Grafton, Decorative Tile Designs in Full Color, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1992. 

Notes: Victorian and Edwardian tile designs.

Tony Herbert and Kathryn Huggins, The Decorative Tile in Architecture and Interiors, Phaidon Press Limited, 1995, hardbound, 240 pages. 

Notes:  Lots of images mostly in color.  Contains a large variety of styles and origins.

Gordon Lang, Ten Centuries of Decorative Ceramics: 1000 Tiles, Chronicle Books LLC, 2004, paperbound, 320 pages.

Notes:  This book has minimal text and lots of images.  Includes Pre-Industrial, Post-Industrial, and Modern Age tiles.  Also briefly discusses tile collecting and where to find tiles.

Hans van Lemmen, Decorative Tiles throughout the ages, Moyer Bell, Wakefield Rhode Island, 1997, 64 pages. 

Notes:  This book consists of an introduction and 26 color plates surveying tiles from medieval times to 1988.

John Gough Nichols, Medieval Tile Designs, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1998. 

Notes:  Black and white drawings of medieval floor tile designs.

Traditional Dutch Tile Designs, The Pepin Press, 2001, 2005.

Notes:  Includes CD ROM with images of all published tiles. Very little text in book

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General Ceramic History

Emmanual Cooper, A History Of Pottery. First edition. St. Martin' Press, New York. 1972. 

Notes:  First edition of book later reprinted as Ten Thousand Years of Pottery.  I found this book in the Plano Texas Public Library.    

Emmanuel Cooper, Ten Thousand Years of Pottery. Fourth Edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2000. 

Notes:  This book is a great general history of ceramics from all over the world.  It gave me my first understanding of the development of maiolica and how tin-glazed pottery spread through Europe.

Howard Coutts, The Art of Ceramics: European Ceramic Design 1500-1830, Yale University Press, 2001, hardbound, 256 pages.

Notes:  Includes an informative section on the spread of tin-glazed pottery and the uses of ceramics in the nobility of the Renaissance.  Also includes sections on Stoneware, the influence of Chinese ceramics, and the discovery and spread of porcelain in Europe.

Ian Freestone and David Gaimster, Pottery in the Making, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1997, paperbound, 240 pages.

Notes:  A general history of ceramics.  Includes a section on maiolica production in Italy during the Renaissance with a little more detail than is typical for a general art history book.

Hugo Morley-Fletcher, Techniques of the World's Great Masters of Pottery and Ceramics, Chartwell Books, New Jersey, 1997, hardbound, 192 pages.

Notes:  This is not a typical ceramic history book.  It combines ceramics history with images and information on creating various types of ceramics over the centuries.  Topics include:  Luster; Sevres; Blue & White pottery; Japanese and Kakiemon style; pots influenced by nature and metalwork; Craft pottery; and useful versus decorative ceramics.

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Ceramic Techniques and Reference

Lesley Acton & Paul McAuley, Repairing Pottery and Porcelain: A Practical Guide, Herbert Press, 1996, paperback, 112 pages. 

Notes:  I bought this in Europe to get an idea about what is required to professionally repair pottery.

Tony Birks, The Complete Potter's Companion: Revised Edition, Bulfinch Press, Boston, 1998. 

Notes:  Textbook used by Community College ceramic classes.  Includes techniques on hand building and throwing on a potter's wheel.

David Harris Cohen and Catherine Hess, Looking at European Ceramics, A Guide to Technical Terms. The J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press, 1993. 

Notes:  This book was very helpful to me when I was first getting into ceramics.  It has helped me understand some of the terminology used to describe technical flaws in ceramic pieces.

Lesley Harle with Susan Conder, Designer China: The Fine Art of Ceramic Painting Made Simple, Anness Publishing Limited, 1991, hardbound, 160 pages. 

Notes: Mass market ceramic painting book.  Techniques for home crafts that do not require a kiln.

M. Pilar Navarro, Decorating Ceramics, A Guide to the History, Materials, Equipment, and Techniques of Ornamenting Ceramic Objects with Applied, Incised, and Painted Decoration, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1996, paperback, 143 pages.

Notes:  Introduction to the basic techniques of ceramic decoration.

Lynn Peters, Surface Decoration for Low-Fire Ceramics, Lark Books, 1999, hardbound, 144 pages.

Notes:  Aimed more at the professional potter rather than the hobby market.  Shows a variety of decorative techniques.

Dale Swant, Beginning Ceramics: Basic introduction to the world of hobby ceramics, Scott Publications, 1997. 

Notes:  Book has basic information to get started with decorating ceramics.  I found this book at a ceramic shop for $5.

Josie Warshaw, The Practical Potter: a step-by-step handbook, Hermes House, 2004, paperbound, 256 pages.

Notes:  Basic overview of ceramic pottery techniques with lots of color photographs.

Nicoletta Zandari, Decorazione della Ceramica, Mondadori, 2003, paperbound, 143 pages.

Notes:  Don't buy this book.  I found this book on an online Italian bookseller.  Even though the pottery shown on the cover is Italian maiolica, this book has nothing to do with maiolica.  The techniques and projects shown are what Americans would call China Painting.

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Unusual References

Marta Ajmar-Wollheim and Flora Dennis, At Home in Renaissance Italy, V&A Publication, London, 2006, hardbound, 420 pages.

Notes:  A fantastic reference book published to coinside with an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The smaller book "Inside the Renaissance House" was also published for this exhibition. This book is well worth the investment for someone interested in the Italian Renaissance as it describes how decorative items were used during everyday life in Renaissance Italy. Sections include: Defining the Casa, Living in the Casa, Everyday Practices in the Casa, Sociability and Entertainment in the Casa, Art and Objects in the Casa. Has images of maiolica beads, ink stand, dishes and birth set. Most amusing item is a early 17th century terra cotta chamber pot.

Andrea Bayer, editor,Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2008, hardbound, 376 pages.

Notes:  This very good reference book was published to coinside with an exhibit of Italian Renaissance artifacts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth. The exhibit included a number of dishes associated with Italian marriage rituals. There was also a large collection of maiolica childbirth sets. Also included in the exhibition were some items only for viewing of those over 18. There are several examples of "naughty" maiolica. The most famous is the "dick head" plate owned by the Ashmolean Museum.

Elizabeth Currie, Inside the Renaissance House, V&A Publication, London, 2006, hardbound, 96 pages.

Notes:  Puts historical decorative items into the context by describing their uses in everyday life in Renaissance Italy.

Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament: A Unique Collection of More than 2,350 Classic Patterns, Dorling Kindersley, London, 2001, paperbound, 506 pages, original publication 1856 by Day & Son, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.

Notes:  Collection of decorative ornament from various cultures around the world and throughout history.  Successful when first printed and considered a definitive source of decorative ornament.  This book was in wide use during the Arts and Crafts movement and even Frank Lloyd Wright acknowledged using it.

Jacqueline Marie Musacchio, The Art and Ritual of Childbirth in Renaissance Italy, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999, hardcover, 212 pages.

Notes:  Discusses a variety of decorative objects used to commemorate the birth of a child during Renaissance Italy.  The objects include clothing, wooden trays and ceramic bowls.  A chapter of this book discusses elaborate, multi-pieced (two to five), maiolica childbirth sets typically decorated with scenes of childbirth.  These sets are also discussed in the period source "Three Books of the Potter's Art" by Cipriano Piccolpasso. This book has images of most of the surviving pieces of this type of maiolica.  No complete sets are known to survive.

Tim Stanley, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Victoria and Albert Publications, 2004, paperbound, 144 pages.

Note:  This was published in conjunction with a touring exhibit of Islamic artifacts from the Victoria and Albert Museum.  This book uses an image of a 9th century blue and white tin-glazed bowl from Iraq and a 16th century Italian maiolica jar to discuss the interactions of cultures and ceramic techniques.  Filled with stunning examples of Islamic ceramic vessels and tiles.

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