New directions in the study of the Italian majolica pottery ‘a la Turchesca’ known as ‘Candiana’


  • Federica A. Broilo


‘Candiana’ is the conventional name used among the scholars to indicate a majolica from the northeast Italian region of Veneto. Produced between the end of the sixteenth and the first decades of the eighteenthcenturies, it is considered atypical of the various Italian productions from that period: the only example of majolica reminiscent of the Ottoman Iznik production. The only place in Veneto where kiln wasters of ‘Candiana ware’ have actually been found is the town of Bassano del Grappa at the foothills of the Venetian Prealps, north of Padua although we know that pieces of ‘Candiana’ had to have been manufactured in Padua and probably also in Venice. A large number of these pieces were dedicated to nuns, something quite unexpected considering their orientalized decoration. There are still many unsettled questions related to ‘Candiana ware’. In this contribution we will try to give the present state of scholarship on that subject and address some of the questions about the location of the kilns and the different extant typologies. To understand more about this little known majolica, we will also examine a phenomenon outside Veneto but similar to that of ‘Candiana ware’: Haban ware, tin-glazed ceramics painted with various coloured oxides, which were produced in Habsburg Hungary after the sixteenth century. It is certainly not impossible that Trentino and the Alto Adige region had a role in the transmission of forms and decorations in Central and South Europe. The city of Bolzano was a very active commercial centre since the early medieval period, with annual fairs that functioned as mediators of goods between Venice and the German lands. Venice mainly brought silk and glass to these fairs, but it is likely that pottery also entered the market for example ceramics produced in Bassano, which is conveniently located midway between Padua and Trento.