Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Fine Art History of Art&Cult Stud


Running through this thesis are various research questions, themes or fil rouge, such as questions surrounding how these ceramics promoted the Florentine and Italian national identity, debates around the concepts of Modernity versus historicism, and the influence of the various great European and Italian exhibitions and how they were used by these workshops to disseminate Modernity to the art critics and wider public. These great international exhibitions inter-connected debates surrounding national identity, national styles, and the production, and consumption of ceramics in Italy.
Another research question involves the Oriental hybrid styles which were developed to a differing extent within the three workshops during late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, as they came to define the output of Galileo Chini in particular.
*I use the term Orientalism and Oriental to denote the various oriental styles from Near Eastern, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern countries from the Mediaeval period to the early twentieth century which influenced the Florentine potters. For example, the fashions for Japanisme and Chinese blue and white porcelain, the influences of the Hispano-Moresque lustreware pottery Chinese porcelain, Siamese Bencharong porcelain and Persian Iznik pottery on Italian maiolica.
The central research questions will ask:
How did the Florentine potters express their adherence to Modernity in a prevalently historicist market, and how did they express their modern Florentine identity in a florid market for the neo-Renaissance? What made them distinctly Florentine?
Was there a connection and/or continuity with the Mediaeval Hispano-Moresque lustreware ceramics found on the churches of the town of Pisa (bacini) and the use of lustreware ceramics on the Stile Liberty Orientalist architecture of the late nineteenth to early twentieth century? For example, was there a connection between these objects and the ceramics used on the architectural tiles of the period? Such as the bourgeois seaside villas of Viareggio and the thermal baths of the spa towns of Salsomaggiore and Montecatini?

How did this Modernity express itself in ceramic form in the traditional art world and cultural milieu in Florence? It is interesting to ask why an innovative and avant-garde ceramist such as Chini would have chosen to adopt an interpretation or hybrid of Orientalist art as a means to express his adherence to Modernity.
How did Orientalism express Modernity, and why was Orientalism associated with the Modern in the minds of the art world and market for these objects? What was it about the art of Orientalism that potters from late nineteenth century found so compellingly modern, and what did it say about the evolution of oriental iconographical motifs being used in modern decorative art?
The themes which form the framework of the thesis will incorporate the many of the cross-cultural artistic influences on Florentine ceramic production which connect the various elements as they cannot be seen in isolation. The ceramic objects from each workshop will be chosen as examples because which constitute the most representative in the primary and secondary sources.


10 25 50