Wednesday, February 13

Marble Glaze

Sorry for the long silence.

This post looks at the marble glaze, another of Titian's excellent range of mid-century art glazes. 'Marble', as with 'woodgrain' was developed by Teddy Rennie, and built on knowledge and techniques passed to him from his father, a decorator of stately homes who trained before the first World War in England. This means that these two glazes are in all probability direct decendants of techniques, passed from artisan to artisan, father to son, developed for the neo-classical interior design schemes of eighteenth century European manor houses. I have not seen comparable examples of either glaze on English or foreign ceramics, making them extraordinary examples of the inventiveness and elegance Titian was capable of.

Within their own context of post-war mid-twentieth century suburban New Zealand bungalows, these vases must have looked exotic and aspirational, but oddly quite compatible with clean, uncluttered modernist interior design aesthtics. In an era of import controls and domestic preference, they would have been the New Zealand venacular equivalent of the neo-neo-classical Wedgewood ceramics that sold so well in 1950s and 60s Britain, filling a demand for elegant eighteenth century design references that softened the increasing architectural minimalism of popular taste.

As with other Titian art glazes, they have passed though an era in which they were viewed as irredeemably kitch, but they represent the charming continuity of a comparatively ancient decorative tradition, repurposed for a culturally Europe-oriented, prosperous New Zealand middle class.

The colour palate range for this glaze is surprisingly extensive. Undoubtedly the 'signature' type is 'grey marble', but rarer examples of other colour patterns can be found. The pot below is a lampbase designed for and retailed by Eunice Chick, who owned a famous early Auckland design shop. I can only describe the colour as a sort of 'pink marble' glaze.

The lampbase has an underglazed incised mark 'W.G.' I don't yet know who this is

'Green Marble' must be one of the rarest varieties. It is simply gorgeous.

Peter Savoy has located a great example of a Titian Black Marble glaze. I think this completes the range for this glaze. Thanks so much Peter!


  1. Extremely breathtaking and stunningly beautiful!

  2. I'm so glad you are still active... thank you for posting this invaluable information, and your excellent photos.

  3. Thanks so much to you both. It is an honour to have experts such as you interested in the blog. Val, I love your blog Your ability with a camera far eclipses mine. It is my one regret about this blog - that I'm not more proficient with a camera.

    Ev, you do an excellent job at Keep up the good work.

  4. Hi Titian, I visited the museum yesterday and spent some time in the archives.and pottery store room which was very interesting. I picked up some conflicting information from a long note in the Titian Exhibition visitors book. The daughter of Reg Taylor stated the her father and Cam Brown over many months developed some of the more special glazes and indicated her father was part of the development of the black leather glaze. I'll send you a copy via e mail.
    The green marble glaze above is at stunning. Great post.

    1. Hi Peter
      That sounds like an extremely interesting note. The very next post I have planned is one on the Leather glaze, so it would be very timely. Did Reg Taylor's daughter mention anything about the marble and woodgrain glazes? Is this what you mean by conflicting information?

  5. Hi again,
    I have just looked at my emails and found the pdf. Thanks so much! I'll use some of this info in at least two future posts. I wonder if it would be possible to contact Mrs Buckle?

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Hi Cam Brown
      Thanks so much for your interest. It is a real honour to have someone from the Brown family read the blog. I published your comment and then realised it had your email address in it and wanted to edit that out so removed it. But it won't let me put it back in!
      I would love to get as much right as possible so am very grateful for your offer to correct a few inaccuracies, I'll email you soon, but am away on business for the next two and a half weeks or so.
      We have all (Titian collectors) been waiting for somebody to write an authoritative book about Titian, and I got a bit impatient waiting, so this blog is an attempt to break the ice a bit and hopefully inspire someone to write something more comprehensive.
      Many many thanks, and I'll get back to you in two or three weeks.