There is something endearing about the almost flat faces and the eerie, yet intellectual presence of owls. 19th century potters turned out very decorative examples of this bird in various forms. Pitchers and jugs in the form of the bird were especially popular and made in all sizes.
This owl is standing on a naturalistic base with a large flower stalk and a flower rising up and winding around to create the handle. The lone flower sits on the top where one’s thumb rests; an unusual way to incorporate a handle into the figure.
In this nice example, the color combination is exceptionally pretty. The feathers are picked out in brown on the wings, back and head, while the breast feathers are cream with pink. The artist was creative in painting the feathers around the eyes in turquoise blue and edged with pink. The inside of the jug was painted totally in pink. Since the top of the jug flares out, one can enjoy this pink inside as well as the other colors on the outside. All the colors harmonize well with one another to make a very interesting and pretty piece of Victorian majolica.
The owl is in excellent overall condition for its age of some 150 years. The color retention is superb; the turquoise blue of the eyes, the pink breast feathers, and the brown and jade green grass the bird is standing on and that of the handle have deep, rich color. There is a very slight fine age hairline in the inside of the rose-purple colored on the inside but it does not go through. There also is some slight wear to the edge of the rim with a minute old chip that is not readily noticed, as well as some minor paint flaking on the edge of the flower petals on the top of the handle. The owl has had some very minor cosmetic restoration, mostly on the inside.
It measures 11-1/4 inches high and 6-1/4 inches deep. It is about 5 inches across at the breast. A smaller version of this owl is available elsewhere in my shop.
19th Century Victorian Majolica Owl Jug