The Marion E. Byrd Majolica Collection

Here are some selections from the Marion E. Byrd Majolica Collection, currently on exhibit at the Forsyth Center Galleries until November 3rd, 2012.  The Majolica (muh-jol-i-kuh) pottery presented in our exhibition dates to the 19th Century and was mainly produced in England during the reign of Queen Victoria.  It was originally conceived as an imitation of Maiolica pottery produced during the Italian Renaissance and imitates its bright colors and playful style.  However, Victorian Majolica pottery also features molded surfaces, a greater range of subject matter (including animal, floral, or whimsical scenes from fairy tales), and food vessels shaped like the food they were meant to hold.

Majolica Fish Vase, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries

Majolica pottery burst onto the scene in the 1850s and became instantly popular, especially with the growing British middle class created by the Industrial Revolution, as it could by manufactured cheaply and sold at a lower price.  A large number of pottery companies responded to the increased demand for Majolica.  Along with Mintons, Wedgewood, Trent, Royal Worcester, and many others produced Majolica.

Asparagus Dish and Underplate, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries

Around the time of Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 the market had been so flooded by Majolica pottery that production waned sharply and was quickly superseded by the Art Nouveau movement.  The Byrd Collection is a recent acquisition for our Gallery and displays the range of colors, forms, and subjects that Victorian Majolica pottery presented throughout its production history.

Plate by Villeroy & Boch, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
Plate with bird motif, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
Fish-shaped plate, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
Parrot-shaped pitcher, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
Umbrella Stand, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
Baby shoe with sand finish, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
Multicolored dish, Marion E. Byrd Collection, Forsyth Center Galleries
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