Freeman's
Michael Coslov Collection of Important English Majolica

Department Specialist


Published: 12 August 2014

Freeman's to offer the Debra & Michael Coslov Collection of Important English Majolica

Freeman’s is pleased to offer an important collection of English majolica pottery. Amassed by well-known philanthropist and collector Michael Coslov, highlights from the collection will be exhibited in London, Philadelphia, and on Philadelphia’s Main Line before more than 70 lots will hit the auction block as a dedicated section in Freeman’s October 7th English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts sale.

Many forms within the Coslov Collection of Important English Majolica reflect the Victorian interest in gastronomy. Game tureens designed with hares, venison, and partridge; lobster and sardine boxes, and oyster plates are just of few of the pieces in the collection. Other ceramics are more humorous such as punch bowls supported by figures of Punch and the rare Minton tortoise-form or “spikey-fish” teapots. While some are inspired by the Orient, depicting monkeys or Chinese men; others are classical or Renaissance in design, such as the Copeland reproductions of the Warwick Vase. These often bright, whimsical and naturalistic designs echo their use in or near the Victorian English garden.

"The Debra & Michael Coslov collection contains some of the most recognizable and desirable majolica pieces by makers Minton, George Jones, Copeland and others, and includes most of the important and rare pieces in the genre—acquired with a collector’s emphasis on fine. When brought to market this fall, the collection will garner national and international interest and will be remembered as a landmark sale in the category," said Vice President and English & Continental Furniture, Decorative Arts & Silver Department Head David Walker.

Highlights from the Michael Coslov Collection of Important English Majolica:

  • Rare Minton majolica flat iron teapot, shape 1924, year cypher for 1875, estimated at  $30,000-50,000
  • Rare Minton tortoise teapot, circa 1878, model no. 629, estimated at $25,000-35,000
  • Rare Minton majolica Hare & Mallard Game-Pie Covered Tureen, model no. 1980, estimated at $20,000-30,000
  • Large George Jones yellow ground majolica punch bowl, circa 1875, estimated at $6,000-8,000
  • Minton "Spikey Fish" teapot, circa 1875, estimated at $6,000-8,000
  • Large Minton cobalt ground twin handled urn, circa 1875, estimated at $4,000-6,000 (one of two in the sale each sold separately)

The history of majolica can be traced to Hispano-Moresque lusterware chargers and vessels from the 13th-century that were made by Moors in southern Spain and Malaga. During the 15th and 16th-centuries, Italian potters and painters produced numerous colorfully decorated tin-glazed chargers and other vessels as well. Together with lusterware, they became bracketed under the term “maiolicaa.” It is believed that the word “maiolica” came from medieval Italian for Mallorca (Majorca), the island between Valencia and Italy, from where many of these wares were transported. English majolica takes its name from these Spanish and Italian antecedents. It was displayed by Minton to much acclaim at London’s 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition, and later at 1855 Paris Exposition. The technique, which used a thick tin-glaze—often in deep blues and greens, and bright yellows and turquoise—was later adopted by several English and American factories. Majolica became one of the most popular ceramic forms throughout the second half of the 19th century, but production had all but died out by 1900.

Exhibition of the Debra & Michael Coslov Collection of Important English Majolica:

  • London - September 9 – 11
  • Main Line  -  September  9 – 19
  • Philadelphia  -  October 3 – 6

**Exhibition dates subject to change.

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