Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Faience
(feye ONS, fay ONS)

Tin-glazed earthenware.

Earthenware decorated with an, opaque glaze, often strong greenish blue, on a delicate pale buff body

Produced in Italy after the fifteenth century and also Egypt as early as 3500 BC

The name comes from the French name for Faenza, a city in Italy. There a painted ware on a clean, opaque pure-white ground, called "majolica" (pron. ma JAHL i ka) was produced for export as early as the fifteenth century. (The majolica was exported to Italy from the kingdom of Aragon in Spain.)

The first northerners to imitate the tin-glazed earthenwares being imported from Italy were the Dutch. Delftware is a kind of faience, made at potteries round Delft in Holland, characteristically decorated in blue on white, in imitation of the blue-and-white porcelain that was imported from China in the early sixteenth century, but it quickly developed its own recognizably Dutch décor.

In the 1870s, the Aesthetic movement, notably in Britain, rediscovered the robust charm of faience, and the large porcelain manufactories marketed revived faience, such as the "Majolica ware" of Minton and of Wedgwood.



Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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