Saturday, November 17, 2007

European Tin Glaze

Origins of European Tin-Glaze from Muslim technology Hispano-Moresque: Cordoba centre of Western world during Ummayad period (CE 756-1031). Around 1000, potters began to use tin-glaze on biscuit-fired pots. Lustres applied on third fire. Real upsurge in 13th c. as potters flee Mongol advance and come to Spain. Moslems reduced to southern Spain--cross-fertilization with Christian potters. Wares made at Malaga (Andalusia) and Valencia under Islamic influence. Later, Mudejar style (1450-1700) under Christian rule--fusion of Islamic and Gothic traditions. Often cobalt and lustre patterns--leaves, vines arranged in registers used on albarellos (drug jars)--Portinari Altar by Hugo van der Goes (1478). Crisp profiles, elaborate presentation, communal dining wares--exported in large quantities to Italy in Majorcan ships--possible origin of term Maiolica. Talavera de la Reina in central Spain popularized white glaze as “appetizing.” Royal patronage sent group to Mexico to start tradition.
The Islamic tradition of lustred earthenware was introduced into Europe in the workshops of Malaga, in Islamic southern Spain. By around 1400, the Christian region of Valencia had become the major centre of production. Large quantities were exported to Italy, particularly to the wealthy families of Tuscany, many of whom had trading links with Valencia. Many Italian families commissioned lustreware painted with their arms. Manises is a suburb of Valencia. Some of the finest lusterware ever produced was made here in the 14th and 15th centuries. These pieces incorporated Gothic motifs into Muslim designs, using Muslim technology, and are referred to as mudejares (or mudejar) style.
Italy: Wares from Islamic countries imported from early date--began to use tin-glaze themselves around 1300. Extensive trade between Tuscany and Barcelona. Valencia introduces mudejar style. Early maiolica very decorative—often oak leaf shape in raised, runny cobalt glaze on tin-glaze surface, heraldic animals—found on bulbous 2-handled drug jars. Major pottery centres develop at Castle Durante, Deruta, Cafaggiola, Faenza. Painters apply mineral paints to tin-glaze using popular prints, paintings as motifs--style called istoriato (historiated--narrative subjects)--mythological, religious, patriotic, popular images in orange, yellow, blue, manganese, purple/brown.
Lustres first made at Deruta--possibly introduced by Islamic potters fleeing Christian advance in Spain—only made at a few centres. Cipriano Piccolpasso wrote Three Books of the Potter’s Art—major source of textual and visual references to pottery techniques of the day. Major work produced by largest ateliers—required real skill, division of labour to decorate and fire properly (lots of wasters)--lead poisoning a real occupational hazard. Istoriato goes out of favour with Baroque—often are monochrome blue or yellow with grotesques--called Faience in France (after Faenza).
Religious wars/Reformation saw potters locating north, east --spread tin-glaze to Netherlands, Central Europe (Anabaptists/Haban wares), England. France, Germany, Netherlands. Duc de Berry (owned Très Riches Heures) brought potters from Spain to produce tin-glaze in 1432. Muslim potters fleeing Catholic inquisition come also to southern France--early French wares resemble Italian closely. Traditional maiolica (faience) called “in-glaze” as colours painted on unfired glaze and fuse with it. Covered with coperta (Italian) or kwaart (Dutch)--transparent lead glaze enhances brilliance, seals surface. Range of wares produced in emulation/competition with Chinese porcelain--tureens, stove tiles, decorative plates.

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