Many collectable pieces of majolica unfortunately lack any strong identifying marks, the most prominent manufacturers of majolica that thankfully did mark their products were the important English manufacturers George Jones, Copeland, Minton, Holdcroft, William Brownfield, Wedgwood and Brown Westhead Moore. For majolica products that were produced in America, the most recognised names are Chesapeake Pottery, Griffin and Smith & Hill. Some of these pieces with markings can be highly collectable and very expensive, especially with the English versions. Sometimes prices can range into the thousands but most will also list around the hundreds. Other notable majolica manufacturers are Europeans such as Massier and Hugo Lonitz. Another popular producer is Palissy wares from Portugal and France.
With most English pieces the different marks that could be used to identify specific information about the product could be the name of the place or factory it was made. As with as the British company Minton & Co. there would be a British mark of registration and a roughly lozenge shaped marking or symbol that when deciphered could to an expert reveal key information such as the exact date of registration and the precise year and date of the piece. Along with these marks an artist might also leave his signature mark with his name or a specific monogram, types of these signatures can be seen on many Minton pieces. The most well known artists who worked at Minton that had their own marks were Hugues Protat, John Henk and Paul Comolera. Seeing these artists’ marks along with a date code could disclose the date of manufacture of that individual product whereas with much earlier items an identical or extremely similar design would have been given an earlier date code. Collectors can verify the piece using the ornamental shaped numbers; these numbers would be checked against the factory’s design books to confirm their identity.
Many manufacturers have produced elegant and beautiful pieces of majolica, lesser known pottery companies such as S. Fielding and T. Forester have been known to produce majolica in a very similar style of manufacturers like Minton and other major companies. These pieces are generally unmarked but collectors can still make accurate identification using named articles and photographs. These initial identification were first confirmed in the 19th century within the pages of the ‘Pottery Gazette’ publication. Completely unmarked items have been produced in similar shapes to the famous pieces and they are still valued for their extremely colourful glaze and their quirky and whimsical styles such as this antique fish plate.