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examination, and if it appears sufficiently baked decrease the fire.
This done, allow all to cool, then take out the wares and allow
them to soak in a lessive of soap-suds, wash and rub them dry


with a piece of flannel, then with another dry piece and some
ashes (of wood) give them a gentle rubbing, which will develope
all their beauty.

" This is all, as it appears to me, that can be said about the
maiolica, as also about the other colours and mixtures that are
required in this art."


We have given in the last chapter a very brief abstract or
epitome of the interesting manuscript of Piccolpasso, which offers
us a perfect idea of the manner and comparatively simple appli-
ances under which the beautiful examples of the potters art were
produced in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The rationale of these processes is clear enough and requires no
comment ; but we may perhaps remark that whereas the fixing of
the glaze and colours in the ordinary process is merely produced
by a degree of heat sufficient to liquefy and blend them, in the
case of the metallic reflection a different effect is requisite, and
different means adopted. The pigments consist partly of metallic
salts, which being painted on the wares, after exposure to a simple
heat for some time, have then directed upon their glowing surface
the heated smoke given off by the fagots of broom ; this smoke
being in fact carbon in a finely divided state has great power, at
a high temperature, of reducing metals from their salts ; painted
on the wares these are thereby decomposed, leaving a thin coat
of mixed metal, varying in colour and iridescence from admixture
with the glaze and other causes, and producing the beautiful
effects so well known.

The various names by which the Italian pottery of the renais-
sance has been known have in some instances arisen from, as
they have also led to, error. " Faenza ware," doubtless, had its
origin from the town of that name, although its French equivalent
" faience " may either be a translation of the Italian, or may be
derived from a town in Provence, called " Faiance " or " Fay-


ence," a few miles from Cannes and Frejus, where potteries are
stated to have existed from an early period. " Urbino ware "
and " Umbrian ware " explain themselves as connected with those
important sites of the manufacture, while the name of " Raffaelle
ware " was doubtless derived from the subjects after his designs,
with which so many pieces were painted, and from the gro-
tesques after his manner. A very beautiful drawing of his school,
and which has been ascribed to RarTaelle's own pencil, is in the
royal collection at Windsor. It is for the border of a plate, and
consists of a continuous circular group of amorini, dancing in the
most graceful attitudes.

Scripture subjects are perhaps more general upon the pieces
of early date, particularly those of Faenza, on which designs from
Albert Diirer, Martin Schon, and other German painters are
found, executed with the greatest care ; such subjects were also
used at Caffaggiolo. The spirit of the renaissance awakening a
passion for the antique declared itself in the numerous represen-
tations from Greek and Roman history and mythology, scenes
from Homer, the metamorphoses of Ovid, and the like, which
formed the main stock subjects for the wares of the Umbrian
fabriques, excepting always the sacred histories delineated so
admirably by Orazio Fontana and others, from the designs of
Raffaelle and his scholars. It was among the artists of this duchy
that the habit of writing the subject on the back of the piece
chiefly prevailed, with specimens of curious spelling and strange
latinity. Transmutation of subject is not rare, as the burning
of the " Borgo " for the siege of Troy, and others. The forms
appear to have varied considerably at different localities of the
craft, partaking of a classic origin, mixed with some orientalism in
the earlier and gothic forms in the more northern pieces ; but
upon all the exuberance of fancy and rich ornamentation cha-
racteristic of the Italian " cinque-cento " is made evident, as it is
upon the furniture, the bronzes, and the jewellery of that artistic



There can be little doubt that the maiolica and finer painted
wares were looked upon at the time they were produced as ob-
jects of ornament or as services "de luxe." The more ordinary
wares or dozzinale were doubtless used for general domestic pur-
poses in the houses of the higher classes, but the finer pieces
decorated by better artists were highly prized. Thus we find that

services were only made for ro)'al or princely personages, fre-
quently as presents. Some of the choicest specimens in our
cabinets were single gift pieces ; small plates and scodelle which
it was then the fashion for gallants to present, filled with preserves
or confetti, to ladies. Many of these are of the form known as
tondino, small, with a wide flat brim and sunk centre 3 in this the
central medallion is generally occupied by a figure of Cupid,
hearts tied by ribbon, or pierced by arrows ; or by joined hands


and similar amatory devices, or with a shield of arms and initial
letters. The borders are painted with grotesques and trophies,
among which sonnets and music sometimes occur, and medallions
with love emblems, portraits, and armorial bearings. These
amatorii pieces also occur as large plates and deep saucers, the
surface of each entirely covered with a portrait of the beloved (as
in the engraving p. 63) accompanied by a ribbon or banderole, on
which her name or a motto is inscribed, often with the compli-
mentary accompaniment of " bella," "diva," "paragon di tutti,"
&c. Jugs, vases, and other shaped pieces were also decorated in
a similar style.

We find in maiolica all objects for table use : inkstands, orna-
mental vases, and quaint surprises ; salt-cellars of curious forms ;
jugs of different size and model ; many kinds of drug pots and
flasks ; pilgrims' bottles, vasques, and cisterns ; candelabra and
candlesticks, rilievos and figures in the round; in short, every
object capable of being produced in varied fancy by the potter's
art : even beads for necklaces, some of which are in the writer's
possession, decorated with knot work and concentric patterns
and inscribed severally andrea ■ bella = Margarita ■ bela -
memento • mei "j these last, the only examples known, are finished
with considerable care and are probably of the earlier years of the
sixteenth century.

There is little doubt that many of the pieces ostensibly for table
use were only intended and applied for decorative purposes (like
the vase in the woodcut p. 131), to enrich the shelves of the " cre-
denza," " dressoir," or high-backed sideboard, intermingled with
gold and silver plate, Venetian glass, &c. Such pieces were known
as " piatti di pompa " or show plates, and among them are some
of the most important and beautiful of the larger dishes and bacili,
as well as the more elaborate and elegant of the shaped pieces.


Persian, Damascus, and Rhodian Wares.

In a previous chapter we have traced the origin or parentage of
this section of wares to the glazed pottery and artificial semi-porce-
lain of Egypt, and we have seen that in Assyria and at Babylon
siliceous glazed tiles were used for wall decoration. Whether in
Persia and in India a similar manufacture existed at that early
period we have at present no exact knowledge, but we are told
by the Count Julien de Rochchouart in his interesting " Souvenirs
d'un voyage en Perse " that he possesses a brick glazed of dark
blue colour, with cuneiform characters in white, which was found
among the ruins of the ancient city of Kirman. The mosques of
the 1 2th century in that country, particularly that at Natinz, are
covered with glazed tiles of the most perfect workmanship and
artistic excellence, with coloured and lustred decoration. Later
examples — of the earlier years of the 17th century — specimens of
which are in the Kensington museum are also beautiful, and the
fashion, though in a degenerate form, is revived in that country at
the present day. The piece of glazed pottery supposed to have
been of ancient Hebrew origin and now preserved in the Louvre
is also of this nature, and it is suggested by M. Jacquemart that
the Israelites may have acquired the art in Egypt.

The varieties of pottery known under the names of Persian,
Damascus, Rhodian, and Lindus wares, composing a large family,
may be classified as siliceous or glass-glazed wares. The leading
characteristics are —



i. A paste composed of a sandy and a white argillaceous earth,
and some alkali or flux, greatly varying in their relative
proportions, and producing degrees of fineness and hard-
ness from a coarse sandy earthenware to a semi-vitrified
translucent body, the latter being in fact a kind of porce-
lain of artificial paste.

2. A glaze formed as a true glass, of siliceous sand and an alkali
(potash or soda), with the addition in some cases of a small
quantity of oxide of lead or other flux.

Such is the general, but by no means the constant, definition
of the component ingredients of all the varieties rightly classed
together as members of this group, for there can be no doubt that
great variations occurred in their composition at different periods
and places, and some examples of the finer kinds of Persian,
Arabian, and perhaps of Damascus wares are met with in, or
under, the glaze of which the oxide of tin has been used to pro-
duce a white and more even surface.

A large amount of information about Persian ware is conveyed
to us in the work of the cornte de Rochchouart who, during a
residence of some years in Persia, gave great attention to its
ceramic productions of former and of present times. After
establishing the fact of the former production of at least four
distinct kinds of Kaolinic porcelain, he minutely describes
ancient varieties of faience of which the polychrome pieces are
the more rare, the blue and white less so; he mentions one
uncommon variety, believed to have been made at Cachan, as
having a paste of red earth covered with a stanniferous enamel of
great beauty, and painted in cobalt under a glaze highly baked ;
they ring like metal. We do not recollect having seen an
example of this variety. Marks imitating those on Chinese
porcelain occur on pieces painted in cobalt blue on white. He
further tells us that the ancient faience of Persia is as admirable
as the modern is detestable, notwithstanding it retains a degree of


oriental elegance. The industry at present is carried on at
Nahinna ; at Natinz, where pottery has been made for some
hundred years, and where some of the finest was produced but
now inferior ; at Cachan, turquoise blue, and many-coloured ;
while Hamadan, Kaswine and Teheran make inferior wares, the
latter being the worst.

We do not derive any information from M. de Rochchouart on
the subject of the lustred wares, except in his description of the
tiles of the mosque of Natinz of the 12th century; nor do we
learn anything of that variety of creamy white pottery having the
sides pierced through the paste but filled with the translucent
glaze, and which is believed to be the Gombron ware of Horace
Walpole's day. But he gives interesting information on the
subject of the tiles used for decoration, of which the finest are
those mentioned above ; those of Ispahan and of the period of
Shah Abbas (1 585-1 629) being also admirable for their exquisite

The Persian glazed pottery known to us may be divided into :

A. Wares, generally highly baked, and sometimes semi-trans-

lucent. Paste, fine and rather thin, decorated with ruby,
brown, and coppery lustre, on dark blue and creamy
white ground. Engraved p. 68 is a very curious and cha-
racteristic example : unfortunately imperfect. It is in the
Kensington collection.

B. Wares, of fine paste, highly baked, semi-translucent, of

creamy colour and rich clear glaze, running into tears
beneath the piece of a pale sea-green tint. Its character-
istic decoration consisting of holes pierced through the
paste, and filled in with the transparent glaze : the raised
centres, &c. are bordered with a chocolate brown or blue
leafage, slightly used. This is supposed to be the
Gombron ware.

C. Wares, frequently of fine paste, and highly baked to semi-

f 2



transparency : the ground white ; decoration of plants and
animals, sometimes after the Chinese, in bright cobalt
blue, the outlines frequently drawn in manganese ; some

pieces with reliefs and imitation Chinese marks also occur ;
this variety is perhaps more recent than the others.

We assign the name Damascus as the chief centre of a large
class of wares which were also made, in all probability, in Egypt,
Turkey, Syria, Asia Minor, &c, and among which pieces of
Persian manufacture may be included from our want of exact
knowledge of their technical differences ; a certain general
character pertaining to the whole class. There can be no doubt
that Damascus was an important producer of this pottery, which


was known to the commerce of the 16th century as " Damas "
ware, and we have examples, in silver mountings, of the period of
queen Elizabeth. It would be well, therefore, to revive the term
" Damas " or " Damascus ware " for this family, of which the true
Damascus and Rhodian are only local varieties, in preference to
the misapplied general name of " Persian," by which they have
been known.

The paste varies in quality more than in kind, being of a grey
white colour and sandy consistence, analogous to that of the
Persian wares. The decoration is more generally rich in colour,
the ground white, blue, turquoise, tobacco colour, and lilac,
sometimes covered with scale work, with panels of oriental form
or leafage, large sprays of flowers, particularly roses, tulips,
hyacinths, carnations, Szc, the colours used being a rich blue,
turquoise, green, purple, yellow, red, black. The forms are
elegant ; large bowls on raised feet, flasks or bottles bulb-shaped
with elongated necks; pear-shaped jugs with cylindrical necks
and loop-handle ; circular dishes or plates with deep centres, &c.
An interesting example of the highest quality of this ware is in
the writer's possession, and is described and figured in colour in
vol. xlii. of the " Archaeologia." It is a hanging lamp made for
and obtained from the mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, signed and
dated June 1549.

Two leading varieties are known in collections : namely, Damas-
cus proper ; known by its evenness of surface and rich glaze with
subdued but harmonious colouring, certain tones of which are
peculiar to this variety; for example, a dull lilac or purple,
replacing the embossed red so conspicuous on the Rhodian, and
used against blue, which is of two or three shades, the turquoise
being frequently placed against the darker tone ; a sage green is
also characteristic. The dishes of this variety usually have the
outer edge shaped in alternating ogee.

This kind is much more uncommon than the other, Rhodian
or Lindus, to which the greater number of pieces known in


MA 10 LIC A.

collections as "Persian ware" belong. It is to Mr. Salzmann that
we owe the discovery of the remains of ancient furnaces at
Lindus, in the island of Rhodes, from the old palaces of which he
collected numerous examples. This variety, although extremely
beautiful, is generally coarser than the former, and the decoration

more marked and brilliant. A bright red pigment, so thickly
laid on as to stand out in relief upon the surface of the piece, is
very characteristic and in many cases is a colour of great beauty;
the predominant decoration of the plates consists of two or three
sprays of roses, pinks, hyacinths, and tulips, and leaves, sometimes
tied together (as in the woodcut) at the stem and spreading over
the entire surface of the piece in graceful lines ; the border
frequently of black and blue scroll work. Ships, birds, and


animals, are also depicted ; and a shield of arms occurs on some

Another very distinct and perhaps more recent class, the
Anatolian, consists of those wares frequently found in collections,
as cups and saucers, sprinklers, perfume vases, covered bowls, and
the like, generally pieces of small size. The ground is usually
white, sometimes incised with cross lines by means of a piece of
wood scratching the soft paste, with a gay decoration of many
colours, among which a brilliant yellow is conspicuous in scale work,
lattice and diaper patterns, flowers, &c. Its glaze is frequently

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not brilliant, but rather rough on the surface ; but the pieces are
well baked. This variety is ascribed to the fabrique of Kutahia
in Anatolia.

There is yet another variety of this section which is somewhat
exceptional, approaching as it does in composition to the first
division of the Persian wares, and on the other hand to the
decoration of the earlier pieces of the Hispano-moresque. It is
composed of a sandy paste of the kind general to this section, and
is decorated either in black outline relieved or filled in with blue
painted directly on the paste, and covered by a thick translucent
glaze of a creamy tone, running into tears at the bottom of the
piece; or glazed entirely with a translucent dark blue glass, over

7 2 MAI LIC A.

which the decoration is painted in a rich lustre colour, varying
between the golden and ruby tints of the Italian Majolica, and
differing considerably from those upon the Hispano-moresque

We give on the preceding page three or four marks from various
pieces of Persian or rather " Damascus " ware.

Before we pass to another class, it may be well again to direct
the reader's attention to that important application of glazed
oriental pottery, already referred to, and which has been in use
more or less throughout the east from a period of remote antiquity.
Indeed, there is perhaps no instance in which the superiority of
oriental taste in surface decoration is more distinctly shown than
hi the use of enamelled, or more properly speaking, siliceous
glazed tiles, as a covering for external and internal wall space.
We have already seen how fragments of such embellishments
have been yielded by the ruins of Assyria and Babylon, by Arabia
in the seventh, and Persia in the twelfth century; and Damascus,
Jerusalem, Cairo, and Constantinople still have brilliant examples
of this exercise of the potter's art.

The distressing state of ruin or neglect into which many of the
tombs and mosques, so beautified, have been reduced or permitted
to fall greatly detracts from their effect, although not without its
charm to the painter's eye and it is refreshing to see them, as at
Constantinople, in a somewhat better state of preservation. In
that city there is excellent work of this kind in the old palace of
the Seraglio, where the writer noticed tiles remarkable for their
size and for the perfection of their manufacture. Some of these,
nearly two feet square, are covered with the most elegant
arabesque diapering of foliage and flowers intertwined, among
which birds and insects are depicted. These may probably have
been the work of a Persian potter. But it is in the tomb of
Soliman the great, built in 1544, that the effect of this mode of
decoration can be studied to better advantage. Here the entire
walls of the interior are faced with tiles of admirable diaper


patterns, within borders of equal elegance, adapted to the form of
the wall which they panel and following the subtle outlines of the
window openings, which, filled in with gem-like coloured glass
between their intricate tracery, produce an effect of the greatest
richness and harmony. The application of glazed pottery for
decorating wall surface seems never to have taken root in Greece
or Italy (although slabs of glass of various colours were used by
the Romans for that purpose), where Mosaic had established
itself long anterior to the advance of oriental influence ; and even
in the most palmy days of the production of Italian majolica and
painted pottery, nothing of this kind was attempted by her artists
beyond an occasional flooring — with the exception of Luca della
Robbia, who not only covered ceilings with tiles between the
relievo subjects on the spandrils and the centre, as seen at San
Miniato and the Pazzi chapel at Santa Croce in Florence, but
executed roundels and arch fillings of tiles, painted with subjects
on the flat surface. Germany made great use of tiles for facing
stoves and other purposes in the sixteenth century, but their
inspiration was not oriental ; and, again, the Dutch tiles, much
used in England during the last century, are well known but
ornamented on a false principle of decorative art. In the Indian
court of the international exhibition of 1871 were examples of
Zenana windows and wall tiles from Sinde, of recent manufacture,
and of precisely similar character in body and glaze to the class
of wares now under consideration. They, moreover, show another
mode of decoration, known as "fiate siwfiate" in which the design is
painted on the surface of the clay in a slip or " engobe" of lighter
colour underneath the glaze ; a manner of ornamentation found
upon early Chinese porcelain, and upon that ascribed by M.
Jacquemart to Persia.

These tiles, together with shaped pieces of the same Indian
ware, are very interesting, being without doubt the modern repre-
sentatives of a remote manufacture and having the closest affinity
with the ancient Egyptian glazed pottery. Whence they were


derived or which the parent stock is a question the answer to
which we are not at present in a position to do more than guess
at. In France and England reproductions have appeared, many
of which are excellent from the talent of their painters or from
the technical qualities of their manufacture : those produced by
the Messrs. Minton, copied or derived from oriental originals, are
particularly beautiful.



This numerous and now well-defined class of wares was a few
years since indiscriminately grouped with the lustred Maiolica of
Italy, in which country the larger number of specimens now in
our collections had been preserved, and whence they have been
procured. Many hesitated to believe in their Spanish origin,
thinking it more probable that they were the work of Moorish
potters established in the sister peninsula. The correspondence,
however, of technical character with the " azulejos," the well-known
tiles which adorn the palace of the Alhambra at Seville, and with
the celebrated " jarra " or Alhambra vase, as also a marked differ-
ence between these and any wares of known Italian manufacture,
led to the conviction that they must be of Spanish origin, and the
work of the Moorish potters and their descendants who had been
established in that country.

Under this belief they were classed together as Hispano-arabian
enamelled and lustred wares, but this appellation would connect
them with the so-called Saracens who conquered that country in
a.d. 712. The first Arab invaders were themselves expelled in
756 by Abd-el-Rhama, who caused himself to be proclaimed
caliph at Cordova. This city thus became the great centre of his
power, and here was erected the mosque of which the decoration
attests the exquisite oriental taste of its founders. The orna-
mental wall tiles on this building are of truly Hispano-arabian

The rule of the successors of Abd-el-Rhama ended and the line


became extinct in 1038, soon after which time the Moorish con-
quest was completed. In 1235 Granada became the chief seat
of the Moorish rulers, and there they erected the fortress-palace
of the Alhambra about 1273. After an occupation of the country
for four centuries the Moors were conquered in 1492. The Chris-
tian element would then predominate in the decoration of the
pottery; and in 1566 the last blow was struck at Moorish art by
the promulgation of a decree prohibiting the speaking or writing
of their language, and forbidding the use to men and women of
their national dress and veil, and the execution of decorative
works in the Moresque style.

When first recognized as a distinct family these wares were
found to be difficult of classification, from the entire absence of

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