I went back to the British Museum just a few days before it closed due to the epidemics.
It was not as busy as it used to be before the virus changed the limits of personal space. This was not unpleasant, though.
I could take it slowly and enjoy my favorite pieces of Italian pottery, time-traveling back to the Renaissance.
The collection of Italian ceramics hosted by the British Museum is of the utmost importance: most of the pieces date back to the golden age of Italian majolica, the 16th and 17th century, and they come from different regions, offering a rare perspective on the differences in pictorial styles, shapes, and glazes.
I did not take pictures, but I’m copying below a blog post from 2015, with some highlights from the collection.
…. November 2015
A few pictures from my last visit to the British Museum, where a significant collection of Italian ceramics is hosted.
The display is quite unattractive and, in my opinion, not very well organized, but the quality of the pieces is really good and definitely worth a visit.
I took some pictures with my phone – not good quality, but enough to whet your appetite.
Two plates or bowls made in Deruta by Nicola di Pietro Francioli in 1515-1530
This morning I was reading the news and a very familiar picture attracted my attention. It was a large ceramic centerpiece with scrolled handles, hand painted with a rich, Renaissance style design.
I know this work, it’s in our website. Why is it in the news???
I read the article and I discovered that the picture of the centerpiece of our Deruta pottery artist, Alvaro Binaglia, announced the grand opening of the exhibition “Grand Tour – An overview of classical Italian pottery” now on in Milan.
The exhibition is organized by the AiCC, Italian Ceramic Cities Association, that represents 34 cities with a “tradition in artistic pottery making”.
Just like Goethe, Stendhal and many other artists from the Northern regions of Europe undertook a traditional trip to Italy as part of their education, the curators of this exhibition guide the visitors in a most interesting tour of the many Italian regions that have contributed to the prolific history of Italian pottery.
From Sicily to Tuscany, from Piedmont to Umbria … each village contributes with its traditional pottery to the understanding of Italian culture: a puzzle of styles, glazes and designs that recalls the variety of our history, architecture and traditions.
We have just visited Eugenio Ricciarelli in his studio in Deruta and he was about to open his kiln after the firing. It was loaded with lovely serving bowls, fruit bowls and other geometric pottery.
We took some pictures to show you one of the most breathtaking moments in the life of a pottery maker: will everything be safe and sound? By Tiziana Manzetti
Iridescenze – Lusterware in the 20th century
Until December 31, 2009
The exhibition features luster pottery by Alpinolo Magnini, Ubaldo Grazia, Edgardo Abbozzo and their followers, some of them still active in Deruta.
Together with Angelo Micheletti and Francesco Briganti, Alpinolo Magnini was the artist who made the revival of ceramic art in Deruta possible and encouraged its first steps into modern age.
A skilled painter and an excellent ceramicist himself, he actively supported the work of his fellow artists and contributed to the education of a new generation of pottery makers as the first Director of the newly founded Museum of Ceramics and also as Director of the School of Ceramics.
Ubaldo Grazia adopted a different approach to the relaunch of Deruta pottery. He looked for inspiration at the Renaissance pottery that had made Deruta so famous in the 15th and 16th century and started from there. In 1921 he founded his own pottery factory, still one of the most important in town.
July 4 – August 4, 2008
Spoleto – Italy
ADI – Industrial Design Association – has chosen a very intriguing subject to celebrate the opening of a new branch in Umbria: Food Design.
Important designers, a famous chef and a group of Deruta potters joined their creative skills to set up an exhibition that shows how simple and natural ingredients can be turned into creative, tasty food and how tasty food can be arranged into unique plates for a multi-sensory experience.
The key characters of the event are local food (km0) and Deruta ceramic plates, all created by the International School of Ceramic Art “Romano Ranieri” and hand painted by the School artists and other potters.
Deruta Mayor has recently launched a program to stop the spread of counterfeit ceramics, inexpensive industrial products mostly made in China or Eastern Europe and marked “Made in Deruta” or even “Handmade in Deruta”.
Let us take a step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture.
Deruta pottery is facing the worst economic downturn since the 19th century, due to a major slow down in orders from the US. Ceramics are Deruta key asset. Nowhere else in Italy there is such a concentration of pottery makers and so talented ones, too. A crisis in the pottery production cannot but involve the whole town.
June 1-15, 2008
Deruta – Italy
Art exhibitions, live performances, demonstrations and activities will be the ingredients of “The Magic of Ceramic Art”, a highly anticipated art & entertainment festival to be held in Deruta from June 1st.
Deruta potters, Italian and International artists, music players, scholars and visitors from all over the world will get together to celebrate the living heritage of one of the most important ceramic centers in the world.
The festival program is very exciting, indeed.
The 1st edition of Deruta Art: Biennale Exhibition of Contemporary Art will bring together 30 Umbrian and International artists, whose paintings, sculptures and visual artworks will be displayed in the former building of Maioliche Deruta, a factory which marked the revival of Deruta ceramics at the beginning of the 20th century.