10 inch Plate, copy mid 15th c Deruta, $500.00  (original, right)



Venetian Italian Garb. c.1450 (2007)

 Renaissance Portraits of People on Plates

Pet Portraits

  Italian Renaissance Reproduction (you are HERE)

What IS Italian Maiolica?

Italian Maiolica is tin-glazed earthenware made opaque by the addition of tin oxide to a lead glaze foundation, or background coat. (Today, lead is no longer used for safety reasons). This application gives the body a glassy, dense white cover that does not become highly fluid when fired. Decorations can then be painted with out running or blurring on the white surface. The white surface also serves as a strong complementary ground for the overlying colors. Firing at a low temperature fuses the glaze and sets the color of the decoration.

Maiolica is an art form dating back to 14th century Italy. The name originates from that date when the principal port for Italy was Pisa. Spanish Moors introduced the pottery to Italy sailing to Pisa via Majorca (in Italian, "Maiorca") . The Europeans thought the pottery originated there and hence the name was born.

Tin glazed items were not invented by the Italians, in fact the beauty of eastern ceramics had been well known to the Renaissance Italians for a long time. The first examples of this technique were found in Baghdad and dated to the 9th Century - there symmetrical patterns were painted in blue and white.

However by the by the end of the 11th century Islamic pottery, including lusterware, had been in widespread use for the embellishment of religious and civic buildings. It is thought to have been introduced by the crusaders at the as trophies demonstrating victories over the pagans by powerful Christian forces.

During the 13th through to the early 15th century Tuscany had good trade relations with Moorish Spain and imported large quantities of lusterware from Spain. This is when the Italians began to work with tin glazed ware. It is interesting to note that the only difference between the Italian and Spanish products of this period is the absence of metallic luster on the Italian wares. Italian Maiolica eventually dominated the pottery of Europe and set a trend that lasted more than three hundred years.

Each piece begins with "black" * (note: “black” clay is a dark greenish-gray color) clay; it is fired once and becomes the recognizable terra cotta color. Once fired a second time with glaze and pigments, their trademark fiery colors emerge. The first historical period of Italian Maiolica encompasses part of the 14th century as well as most of the 15th century. During this period, the objects were created mostly for utilitarian purposes with decorations based on abstract and geometric motifs.

*Today, red, buff and even white earthenware is used. Using white earthenware with underglazes applied to greenware and clear glaze applied after the first firing (thereby eliminating the need for white glaze at all)is a relatively modern technique, as white earthenware was not known until after the Renaissance. However, Venetian Cat Studio creates maiolica in the Old World way, using only red or buff terra cotta and a white tin-based ground upon which colors are painted and then sealed with clear glaze. This time-tested technique is still practiced in Italy today.


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Early 14th CENTURY

Photo of Original




Colors in the early 14th century were limited to green, obtained using copper oxide, and brown, obtained using manganese dioxide, and sometimes yellow, obtained using antimony.

ALBARELLO 1480-1500

                                                 ALBARELLO: Definition and Background
is an Italian word, deriving from an Arabic one, for a cylindrical, slightly hourglass-shaped drug jar with a flanged neck to which a cover could have been tied. Albarelli (Italian, plural for albarello) became popular in Spain and Italy in the 14OOs and then throughout Europe.
(Source: J Paul Getty Museum, CA)

Albarello means "little tree", named after original containers made from sawn bamboo sections in which, in earlier times, drugs and resins were imported from Asia to Europe.

The albarello (or alberello) is the oldest type of pharmacy jar, designed to contain dense, viscous substances. Most albarelli were cylinder-shaped with a wide opening. They were often tapered at the center for easier handling. In the earliest models, the lids consisted of parchment sheets, but later versions had ceramic lids, sometimes fitted with a knob and handles. The Near Eastern style raises the possibility that the albarello reached the West via the Arab invasion of the Mediterranean. But some experts see the albarello as an imitation of the bamboo packaging in which medicinal drugs were shipped from the Orient.

Note: The source links that the above information was taken from no longer work and could not be found, or I would have listed them. No copyright infringement intended.

Photo of Original Peacock Albarello



 8 inches tall x 4 inches in diameter, comes with cork lid


More colors were introduced to the color palette: blue using cobalt carbonate and orange using iron oxide.


MINIATURE Albarelli and Bottles, Great for Spices and Perfumed Oils, the perfect gift for that special someone...

$55.00 each

Photo of Originals

Jars and bottles are between 3 and 4 inches tall, exclusive of cork, and come in many styles.  Pick one, or have one made to order. Other designs available, (not shown)

Photo of Originals


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6 inch (16 cm) Castelli 1550's Orsini-Colonna style bottle with terzo fuoco (third firing) of 24 carat gold luster



This bottle was commissioned as a gift for a lover of Maltese dogs.  The bottom has Latin text which reads, "Canis Maltensis".

  " I TURCHINI" Blue Maiolica, Castelli, Italy, 1650


10 inches Diameter

$100.00 each


$100.00 each





8 inches Diameter x 2 inches Deep

$75.00 each







Photo of Originals

This Maiolica is from Castelli, in the region of Abruzzi, Italy

(click to enlarge)


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Prices may vary according to customer specifications and are intended as a guideline.  Please-e-mail us for accurate quote.



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Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701
(505) 652-1033

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