One of the things that I love about brocantes is that a random object can trigger a day spent researching something totally new. Today I found a decorative majolica plate that I walked past a couple of times but kept being drawn back to. The reason? I had seen something similar on a daytime television show back in Britain. It was one of those programmes where people bring along random items to be valued and possibly sold. I must have been sick that day and have taken a day off work to have been watching daytime television mid-week. I remembered seeing a similar plate (and thinking that it wasn’t something that I’d choose to buy).
I did some quick research and the plate, designed by Jose Alvaro, is one of a series featuring various forms of edible sea-life. It is a majolica plate produced in Portugal. In the flesh the colors are both vibrant (the blue of the mussel shells) and deep and murky and the plate is charming. It is clearly stamped on the back as being a Jose Alvaro design.
I’ve always thought that majolica has a high gloss glaze and the absence of this made me doubt the plates authenticity. It seems to have been hanging, maybe in a kitchen, for some time as the whole plate was covered in a grimy film. I’ve learned a valuable lesson, give a corner of a glazed item a quick clean (a bit of saliva!) if you want to see exactly what you’re contemplating buying.
I’m totally in love with the plate and now on the lookout for the other designs in the series and any other majolica that catches my eye.