Designers Guild’s new Majolica Collection is being launched in New Zealand now.
The collections are inspired by some of the finest and most enduring art forms in the world – Majolica ceramics and the coloured glass of Murano.
Majolica is a distinctive type of tin glazed earthenware which began its life in the potteries of the Italian renaissance in the 16th century. It was later rediscovered by the British and French potters of the Victorian era, when a new legion of Majolica devotees was born. In the Italian period it was considered the most sophisticated form of ceramics in the whole of Europe; superior even to the ancient potteries of Rome and Greece.
Renowned for the extraordinary brilliance of its colours, and the translucency and luminousness of its glazes – it was traditionally coloured in vivid shades of emerald and cobalt, clear white and ochre. The intricate detailing as well as extravagant deep colours were employed by both Renaissance and Victorian ceramicists to depict stories, often of classical themes – an art which became known as Istoriato; in which each piece became both visual masterpiece and allegory all in one. The smoothness and lustre of Majolica work, whether highly coloured or not, ensures its timeless and lasting legacy, that is as captivating today as it was in the beginning.
Since the 13th century, when the Venetian glassmakers moved their foundries to the outer islands of the Venetian Lagoon, the art of decorative glassmaking has become synonymous with the island of Murano. It is here that the early artisan glass blowers perfected their skill, and the island held the monopoly on glassmaking until the 16th century. Over the years they developed and refined many techniques – making clear and enamelled glass, glass with multi coloured threads and imitation gemstones. Highly intricate and complex, these items of glassware were without compare and their jewel like brilliance is still highly sought after today.
Designer Guild Majolica prints and wallpapers are inspired by these two major examples of European art, with deep blues and emerald greens plus whites, fuchsias and charcoals.