Italian Faience, 16th to 18th Century

During the Renaissance period the art of faience, known as majolica, developed in Italy. From the 15th century Italian craftsmen mastered the technique of high firing. This involved coating the clay object with white coloured tin glaze which was painted with polychrome decorations limited to blue, green, yellow, red and purple-brown. In the 16th century Urbino owed its reputation to decorativea istoriatomajolicawith historiated scenes such as the dish showing 'The Abduction of Helen', signed Orazio Fontana. Faenza, the centre which gave its name to faience, createda compendiariodecoration. The decoration was drawn on a white ground and the palette reduced to two colours; blue and yellow. This had a long lasting influence on all European faience. In Savona, during the 17th century the centre of production rapidly developed and its blue and white decorated wares were found throughout Europe. At the end of the century, Pavie created an original style in monochrome grey and purple-brown, with decorative images of ruins which echoed contemporary Montpellier works.