Italian Majolica Chargers, ca. 1880
The chargers were actually brought here from Italy. I was born in the States, but I was raised in Italy, and we all lived in this big villa that my dad had purchased from this elderly couple. And he was able to purchase the house with everything in it, and these had been in the house for many, many years. When I got married to my husband, we moved back to the United States, and I always liked these chargers, so one year we went back to visit my dad before he passed away and I asked if I could possibly have them, and he said, "Absolutely." So we put them on the plane and brought them to the United States about 25 years ago. So the house was built probably in the late '40s. So these would be at least going back to the '40s.
These are 19th century copies of Italian Renaissance majolica chargers. These are made of majolica, which is a type of Italian pottery. The Italian Renaissance was in the 15th and 16th century, and in that period there was a huge market and a huge interest in making wonderful pieces of pottery with scenes like this, which are gods and goddesses in various pursuits.
In the 19th century, the late 19th century, there was a huge revival in interest in the Italian Renaissance, so lots of different Italian pottery manufacturers made copies of pieces, which were often in museums. So these actually date from probably the 1870s, 1880s, 1890s. They were old when they were put into the house when it was built around the 1940s.
Which would make sense, yes.
The decorative motifs on the rims we call sometimes grotesques or arabesques. We have masks and swirling tendrils of plants. We have figures of nude kind of putti, or kind of like cherubs, but they don't have wings. But they have these very interesting hand-painted scenes all around the rims, as well as the ones in the center. They weren't originally intended to use for any function other than decoration. There are not really collectors of this sort of thing as much as there are people who buy them for wonderful Italian decoration. These days, large chargers like this, which incidentally are 24 inches, which is very large, they're very heavy, in fact.
Yes, they are.
A retail price would probably be between $3,000 and $5,000 for the pair.
Okay, okay, very good.
Interestingly enough, 20 years ago these probably would have sold for double that.
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