top of page
Maiolica before Raphael

Maiolica before Raphael


This beautiful new publication examines the origin of Italian maiolica and its evolution from c. 1300–1500, a period which engendered some of the most rapid and exciting innovations in all ceramic art, before maiolica’s better known heyday in the High Renaissance. 


High Renaissance maiolica, produced in Italy in the orbit of Raphael and other artists, is widely known and has been extensively studied. This istoriato, or narrative, maiolica graces the collections of many of the world’s greatest museums. But not for almost 100 years has attention been focused on magnificent works that preceded it in the 14th and 15th centuries, which were at times prized by contemporary patrons more highly than precious metals. 


Maiolica before Raphael refocuses the spotlight of contemporary scholarship onto the birth of design in Italian maiolica, and its evolution from c. 1300 up until 1500. It was during this formative period that its characteristic tin-based glaze, with the pure and brilliant white surface it offered the late-medieval potter, engendered some of the most rapid and exciting innovations in all ceramic art. Potters began to decorate the surfaces of their earthenware vessels (of an increasingly varied spectrum of shapes and forms) with squirming, meticulous designs of unparalleled ingenuity and expression that incorporated multisensory influences from luxury contemporary textiles, metalwork, and exotic lustreware from Islamic Spain. 


Presenting over forty rare objects from the foremost centres of production that have survived in private hands, this catalogue explores the spread and evolution of the medium, as well as the history of collecting and the changing taste for Italian pre-Renaissance pottery in the modern era.

  • Sam Fogg

    Maiolica before Raphael


    With illustrated essays by Elisa P. Sani and Justin Raccanello, and a foreword by Timothy Wilson


    May 2017 (June USA)

    ISBN 978 1 911300 20 5

    Paperback, 300 x 245 mm
    200 pages, 60 colour illus. 

  • Exhibition

    Sam Fogg Gallery

    15D Clifford Street
    London W1S 4JZ

    8 May – 16 June 2017

  • In the press

    "It has been years since such a beautiful, scholarly dealer’s catalogue landed on my desk, and a century since any serious study addressed its subject." —Apollo 


    "Stunning visually ... celebrate[s] the fired brilliant colours of painted Italian Renaissance tin-glazed earthenware and virtuoso slip-decorated wares ... magnificent illustrations show these colours with unequalled luminosity fixed and frozen in time." —Art Newspaper 


    “Magnificent catalog … for all ceramic collectors and lovers: not to miss!” 



    "Maiolica before Raphael is the first of its kind anywhere for a century." 
    Country Life


    "A scholarly study of late medieval and early Renaissance maiolica, the (largely overlooked) period when Italian potters first began to experiment with the ceramic ware’s characteristic tin-based glaze and patterns inspired by goods from Islamic Spain." —Crafts 


    "Beautiful photography … informative book" —World of Interiors 


    "An informative overview … demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of these wares in their own time." –Renaissance Quarterly 

bottom of page