Vases and Jardinières
It has been said that during the reign of Queen Victoria the language of flowers was as important as being well dressed. Each flower had its own meaning and the gift of a specific floral arrangement was often used to convey a message or express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in polite Victorian society. Well-appointed Victorian homes were decorated with fresh flowers often grown in family-owned glasshouses which flourished during the same period.
Majolica manufacturers produced everything from diminutive bud vases to monumental jardinières and various pieces would have been located all about a typical Victorian home. Small vases could be found on window sills and side tables. Living room mantels often featured an impressive matching pair of larger vases. Jardinières with live plants and flowers were produced in a variety of sizes for display on tables or floors. Conservatories and porches were decorated with imposing pedestaled jardinières where the monumental pedestal reigns supreme and the jardinière seems almost an afterthought. Specialty majolica wall pockets were filled with fresh flowers to decorate alcoves and conservatories.
Commercial matches remained relatively expensive and hazardous until the end of the 19th century. Majolica spill vases held thin strips of wood or tightly rolled paper used to transfer fire from the fireplace to lamps, candles or cigars. They were usually kept on the mantel or other location near the fireplace.
Vases and jardinières were decorated with a seemingly endless variety of flora and fauna, birds, putti, shells and classical themes. From the rustic tree trunk to the most elaborate and stylized pieces by Minton and Wedgwood, there is a majolica jardinière to suit any location and taste.
Philppe Meunier & Juan-Alonso Defrocourt