Centerpiece white maiolica shell. Ferniani factory. Faenza, 1700 circa

Maiola and Porcelain

Centerpiece white maiolica shell
Ferniani factory, early period: 1693-1776
Faenza, 1700 circa

5.6 x 14.72 x 13.46 in (14.3 x 37.4 x 34.2 cm)
State of conservation: mimetic restoration on the front and conservative restoration on the back, few additions.

The Conti Ferniani factory is considered to be the oldest and longest lasting manufacturing of the Emilia-Romagna region: it remained active for two centuries and took a leading role in Faenza production, so much so that it was to become, during the eighteenth century and in the subsequent period, a symbol of “inseparable and extraordinary binomial Faenza-Ferniani” (Ravanelli Guidotti Carmen, a cura di, La Fabbrica Ferniani. Ceramiche faentine dal barocco all’eclettismo, Milano 2009, p.19).

This maiolica centerpiece is a rare example of the continuation of the fashion of the “Bianchi” Faenza into the eighteenth century: it is a decorative style known as compendiaria maniera, a kind typical of the sixteenth century that brought about a real change in taste in the production of maiolica and that used only a few colors (yellow, blue and brown) in the creation of the decorations.
The shell model, with its fan-shaped grooves, wavy edge and base adorned with rococo-style curves, comes from the oldest production and is in this example decorated with a simple pattern called “a peducci”, on a white-enameled bottom. This pattern took its roots in earlier forms, such as in the motifs called a merletto (“lace motif”) in seventeenth-century. Some examples of this decoration are published in Carmen Ravanelli Guidotti, Thesaurus di opere della tradizione di Faenza. Faenza 1998 pp. 553-565, all datable to the beginning of the century.

The decoration, which is concentrated only along the edge, is intentionally used to enhance the shape of the object. An indicative comparison is published in S. Levy, Maioliche romagnole, marchigiane, toscane; Maiolica italiana del XVIII, Milano 1970, tav. 178.

Some examples with different decorations are known. Among these are exemplary compendiari with emblems or works with the most complex decorations, such as the splendid shell placed on the antiquarian market and decorated in polychrome by the painter of 1740 (Carmen Ravanelli Guidotti, a cura di, La Fabbrica Ferniani. Ceramiche faentine dal barocco all’eclettismo, Milano 2009, p. 165, n. 5).

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari

Bibliografia:

C. Ravanelli Guidotti, a cura di, La Fabbrica Ferniani. Ceramiche faentine dal barocco all’eclettismo, Milano 2009.
C. Ravanelli Guidotti, Thesaurus di opere della tradizione di Faenza, Faenza 1998.
S. Levy, Maioliche romagnole, marchigiane, toscane; Maiolica italiana del XVIII, Milano 1970.

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