This article originally appeared in the March 2020 edition of Apollo: The International Art Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

The first time I visited the majolica collection of one of the largest lenders to our forthcoming exhibition, I remember feeling a bit bewildered by the concentration of material in front of me—shelves upon shelves of teapots and game pie dishes, jugs and ornamental figures, garden seats and jardinières—many in the form of molded animals or embellished with exuberant historicist decoration. I recall thinking, where does one begin to understand this glorious excess? The combination of vibrant colors and sheer diversity of objects was reminiscent of a Victorian interior in its density of display, and yet it complemented this sleek Manhattan apartment in a wholly contemporary manner. It was the first of many paradoxes that engagement with majolica would present—and this was just the beginning of an Alice “Through the Looking-Glass” type of visual journey that has culminated in the exhibition and catalogue Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915.

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