Secret Life of Antiques: French Majolica II

Thanks so much for all the emails about your love for antique French Majolica! I’m excited that YOU are all excited about these stunning, colorful pieces of French history.  Go HERE if you missed PART 1.   Let’s talk about the types of Asparagus {and Artichoke} Majolica, and how to display your collection.



Types of Asparagus Majolica

Asparagus majolica consists of four types: cradles, platters, individual plates with a sauce well for butter, and sauce boats or pitchers.

The cradles, meant to emulate a bunch of asparagus, come in fantastic shapes. Some are high, some are low, some come with a separate underplate. Many have drainage holes, but just as many do not.


Platters are either made to compliment an equally richly sculpted cradle, some are designed to hold asparagus without a cradle. Ribbons are often a part of the fanciful designs, either tying together the earthenware vegetable stalks or flowing around the cut out handles.


Whimsical, naturalistic French asparagus plates are the single most collected pieces of majolica today. Since artichokes were equally esteemed during the late 19th century, many of the French asparagus designs incorporated artichokes.

Many collectors assemble a combination of different plates for their collection, it is a true collector’s coup to find a set of matching plates from France. Since each plate was hand painted, each is a unique piece, a one of a kind work of art.

Sauceboats and Pitchers are the most rare to find. The least produced of French majolica, they were also the most often broken. Since asparagus pieces were avidly used in French households, assembling a collection of sauceboats is costly and difficult at times.



How to display your collection of Majolica

No matter what you collect of the richly colored and embossed French Asparagus ware, it’s beauty and history will compel you to seek out unusual additions to your collection. A quirky cradle, or a complete set of plates will catch your eye and delight your heart.


Since these pieces are tin glazed, it is not advisable to use them for actual food service. The decorative options for displaying your collection are endless. How you display your collection will depend on the size of your collection, the available space, and your own personal preference.


Plates can be wall mounted with plate hangers, or displayed on stands made especially for that purpose. Platters look wonderful on stands, depending on their location, some collectors prefer to display their cherished collection behind the doors of an antique armoire, while others simply layer plates and platters on shelves in their French buffet or sideboard.


No matter how you display them, the enduring collectability and popularity of French majolica pieces will endure. The beauty of majolica asparagus pieces is that they are so decorative, they come in amazing designs and colors. Arranging majolica throughout your home will give each room a touch of beauty, and bring the pleasure and excitement of France home.


A few of our  currently available Antique French Asparagus and Artichoke Barbotine pieces:

1. Longchamp Cradle. 2. Keller Guerin Set of 6 Plates. 3. Luneville Cradle. 4. Keller Platter and Plates. 5. Purple Asparagus Plate Set. 6. Sarreguemines Cradle. 7. Purple Asparagus Plates.

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop

5 thoughts on “Secret Life of Antiques: French Majolica II”

  1. Lawrence Jay

    Love this, your articles are always so great to read.

  2. Lynette Carter

    I have a beautiful collection of majolica that I love to share. Yours is beautiful!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top