Indulge your passion for the finer things in life. Merchant of Prato presents beautiful handmade ceramics from Italy. Our Italian ceramics are created in small workshops by artisans using techniques passed down from generation to generation. Many of the designs we feature date back hundreds of years and many patterns are derived from Renaissance art. Each piece of Italian pottery is handmade and painstakingly hand-painted, thus each piece of our pottery is unique.
Whether you are purchasing a gift or adding to your own Italian ceramic collection, The Merchant of Prato presents an assortment of Italian pottery to choose from. Bring Italy into your home! Our exquisite Italian Dinnerware will bring elegance to your table. Matching Serving Ware, Pitchers & Biscotti Jars compliment the dinnerware pieces. Wonderful Home Decor pieces will brighten up your home. Lovely Wall Plates, Della Robbia Plates, Umbrella Stands and Urns from Deruta, Italian Ceramics Majolica Tiles, colorful Vases, colorful House Number Plates and decorative pieces will have your friends saying "Bella, Bella". Our Italian Ceramic Mattonella Tiles featuring The Saints, Professions & Botanicals are truly unique and are the perfect gift. Our Handmade Italian Christmas Ornamentsand Religious collection of Holy Water Fonts are perfect gifts.
We provide many decorative home decor pieces all Made in Italy, including magnificent wall plates, urns, umbrellas stands, vases and decorative pieces. Interior decorators will find many unique decorative pieces as well as a large selection of Italian ceramic tiles which are wonderful in kitchen and bath redesigns.
Our Italian ceramic collection features collectible patterns including Ricco Deruta, Raffaellesco, Ornato, Miele, Geometrico, Alcantara, Frutta Mista, Frutta, Limone, Melograno, Contrade Palio di Siena and many others.
The Merchant of Prato works with several ceramic factories in Italy including Bottega degli Artisti, Sberna, Fratelli Mari and several others.
Bottega degli Artisti is very famous in Italy and abroad, being one of the best producer of pottery in Castelli. Castelli is a little village in the centre of Italy, just close to the Gran Sasso Mountain. Castelli is best known for its, a form of decorative ceramic, which were collected by the nobility of Europe for centuries and which were at their pinnacle from the 16th through 18th century and are still produced today by local artists. Castelli majolica was a favorite dinnerware of Russian Tsars. One of the most valued collections of Castelli ceramics is now housed at the Winter Palace of the Hermitage State Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Fratelli Mari Company was founded in 1932, the year which production started. Over the years, thanks mainly to the initial work of the founders and their successors, but also thanks to the work of talented artists of the area, the Company has made a name for itself through the world, and won recognition to various exhibitions and competitions. Today Fratelli Mari is one of the most prestigious companies of Deruta and its collection includes a great variety of classical and modern pieces, classified as : giftware, objects for home and kitchenware. Traditional forms/shapes with their timeless beauty account for a major part of the product line hand made at the Mari factory and they offer one of the best examples of the majolica tradition.
Ceramiche Sberna is one of the most important factories in Deruta, which is famous the word over for their lovely handmade Italian ceramics. Sberna was founded in the late 1950’s by Francesco Sberna, a master craftsman of majolica. Today, Sberna is known for their superb craftsmanship and beautiful traditional designs.
In addition, we carry fine kitchen cutlery and collectible knives including cork screws and cigar cutters by Coltelleria Saladini. Since the Middle Ages, the Tuscan town of Scarperia has been a famed center of knives and cutlery production. Coltelleria Saladini is one of the only businesses still producing knives in Scarperia, Italy. Based on historical patterns and materials, the Saladini Collection of kitchen cutlery and collectible knives is immediately distinguished by a stylistic renewal of form with a particular attention to detail.
Deruta Majolica: Majolica, the name given to the style of tin-glazed, decorated pottery that reached its peak in the 1500’s in Renaissance Italy, is produced in many Italian towns, with Deruta being the most famous. Today over 250 factories produce pottery in Deruta.
Artisans in Deruta still apply age-old techniques to produce the ceramics, from throwing local clay on a potter’s wheel to meticulous hand painting using time-honored, as well as more modern designs. First, local clay is formed and thrown on a potter’s wheel. The, after two to three days of air-drying, the pottery is cleaned and sanded of small imperfections or bumps before the first baking in a kiln at nearly 1000 degrees centigrade. The object is then dipped into a pale-colored glaze, typically white or cream, that serves as an opaque base before decoration is applied with mineral paints.
Before the designs can be hand painted onto the pottery, the artists will use a paper pattern to transfer a design onto the piece, tapping carefully with carbon sticks through holes pierced on the paper. Some of the designs used date back hundreds of years, including the Raffaellesco pattern. The Arabesco pattern is reminiscent of Arabic art. For modern designs, the artist will paint freehand. After the painting is complete, the pottery is given a second firing at about 950 degrees centigrade.
"I want to thank you for all of your great help in showing me your many plate choices to work with my dishes for Thanksgiving, plus your excellent work in expediting delivery so they got here by the holiday. They got here and worked perfectly. Wishing you an excellent 2019!"
Los Angeles, California
Jan. 5, 2019