Majolica, like porcelain, was manufactured by Brownfield's from late 1871. Since very little was marked with an impressed 'Brownfield' detection remains difficult. Some pieces can be identified from the factory 1880 catalogue which is kept in Keele University Library, Staffs.
Shape numbers impressed in the base of Brownfield majolica can sometimes be used for positive identification, even if an impressed 'Brownfield' is absent. We know from an advert in the 1881 Pottery Gazette that all shape numbers between 327-351 and between 420-448 were manufactured in 'various styles of majolica decoration'. In addition there is another series of shape numbers - '2006 - 2090' which certainly includes a large number of majolica pieces, even if not all these shapes appeared in majolica. I think this series was specially numbered for dispatch to the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. In the case of the 'Isle of Man' teapot, attribution to the Brownfield factory can be ascertained from the impressed marks of the retailer W Broughton, Douglas, Isle of Man, although not all 'Isle of Man' teapots have these marks.
It must be a matter of concern for majolica collectors that modern reproductions of Brownfield majolica are beginning to appear. Two examples are shown below - the Cat & Ball figures, one of which is spuriously impressed Minton. The Minton factory has confirmed that it has never made this piece. The Cockatoo jug has also begun to appear in modern modified form, although the modification is very slight. In the original, the top plumage is serrated while in the reproduction it is 'solid'. There is also a slight extension to the top of the handle, not evident in the original.
There is also a number of majolica 'berries and leaf' dessert plates (see bottom row), ostensibly identical in pattern, which carry either 'Brownfield' or 'Wedgwood' impressed marks. To confuse this issue further, there are many others of the same pattern entirely unmarked. This is also true of a majolica 'match striker' made in seemingly identical form by both Wedgwood and Brownfield. I know of no evidence of co-operation between the two factories on these pieces, but equally, I know of no controversy about one factory copying the other's work.
This site was last updated 30-09-2007