This reproduction item is not antique majolica but a new piece imported from overseas. It was made to closely resemble an authentic frog mouth-pouring pitcher of similar design.
In 2004 the periodical Antique Collector and Reproduction News printed an article to specially warn collectors about the many new and fake lead glazed majolica pieces being imported from China at that time. This particular frog pitcher is described and pictured in that article. This pitcher has a hollow handle with firing hole and an unglazed bottom. As lead was used in the glaze in order to reproduce the look of authentic majolica this piece without a doubt originally entered the US bearing a paper label to denote something like, "For Decorative Purpose Only. Article May Poison Food."
Technically majolica is a type of biscuit ware pottery covered with a particular type of glaze composed of sand, lead and tin. Pottery that can match this description by composition has been made over a long period of years and in many countries; however it is the fine type of ware originally created in 1849 by Herbert Minton and his chief chemist, Leon Arnoux and produced primarily through about the end of the Art Nouveau era that majolica collectors seek, and should expect to find being represented as 'Majolica.'
Different types of figural pitchers, as well as other types of majolica-like knock-offs are known to have been imported steadily for a number of years. They were and still are often sold in retail stores that specialize in interior decorations, to give the decorative buyers the 'look' of a collection of antique majolica on the shelf, without the expense. Fine enough for that purpose, but not at all right when afterward they can be found represented as something they are not. This item, for instance, is not antique in age nor likely to be of anything other than nominal value within this century.
This is also not an item, even if properly represented to be newer, that one would want to purchase for table use, due to the danger of lead leaching out of the glaze and into any liquid placed within it. As can be noted in the pictures of this particular example, no paper warning sticker to advise, "May Poison Food." remains affixed to it. So, purchasers on the secondary market no longer have any way to know that despite the humorous, happy look of this froggie's face, they shouldn't be storing or pouring any juice at birthday parties with this item.
If buying antiques for investment purposes, aiming for and expecting an antique item to have potential for gaining in value, collectors need be aware that these new items resembling antique majolica are being produced in modern factories. And avoid them. The modern looking stamped number present on the base of this piece, the ruddy color to the body clay and other aspects about the pitcher such as a thick, heavy appearance and poorly applied glaze, which pitted badly when fired, help to identify this item as a rather clumsily manufactured contemporary piece.
This particular example is approximately 9½" tall but other sizes may be possibly found.
Item ID: 2007RP00034
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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