Flowers in porcelain and Hats

Flowers in porcelain and Hats

Until September 30th in Florence, an exhibition that brings together the traditional straw craft with the equally famous traditional floral decoration of local pottery.

It is rare that the artistic production line of a historic factory is so stubbornly ignored by experts. And yet, the numerous studies that, in recent decades, have been dedicated to the various periods of the Manifattura Ginori barely mention the host of artists in Doccia near Florence, who, between the late 19th and early 20th century, depicted nature and especially flowers on porcelain.

But what is the reason for the little interest shown for the genre so far by the scholars? Perhaps, apart from a question of taste, it is the fact that it eludes a preconceived classification.

Indeed, taking a closer look, we see that the Liberty decoration of these forms often have very little of the linear stylization and formal synthesis typical of the Art Nouveau avant-garde.

Rather, these artists favored a naturalistic, voluptuously colorful style of painting that – with its transparency and the combination of brushstrokes – tended to use porcelain like a canvas, elevating the artist’s virtuosity and the beauty of the floral subjects.

The straw production in Signa, near Florence, has been famous for three centuries. Indeed the industry was started in 1714 by Domenico Michelacci , who began making the hats that were exported throughout the western world from the port of Leghorn, accessible by the Arno River.

Thus the English-speaking world of the East India Company’s great trade, the hats were given the name of “Leghorn’’. They soon spread to France, taking the name of “Chapeaux de paille d’Italie” even before the Italian Unification, therefore becoming the very first example of Made in Italy in modern time.

Signa became the worldwide centre for the production of hats (a district which extended over a large part of Tuscany), arriving at 150,000 workers by the mid-19th century.

Still today Signa, the heir and jealous guardian of this extraordinary tradition, is the international leader in quality, thanks to the ongoing commitment of very famous firms that employ hundreds of highly specialized workers.

Flowers in porcelain and Hats

From Florence throughout the World

Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze

Via Bufalini, 6

Until September, 30th

From Mon. to Fri. 9.00 am - 7.00 pm

Sat. and Sun. 10.00 am - 1.00 pm / 3.00 - 7.00 pm