The little faces were those of figural tobacco jars. So off I went to research what they are, what they're made of and where they come from.
Tobacco jars were produced as far back as the 1700’s, but the “Figural” tobacco jars were more popular in the 1800’s. These jars were made in the shape of either a human face or an animal and were made of ceramic, porcelain, wood, papier-mâché or bronze. There was an area in the Czech region of England where there were many German Potters. This area was Bohemia and the German Potters were the main producers and suppliers of figural jars.
Tobacco jars were used to hold the tobacco of a pipe smoker, therefore one may need a few depending on the tobacco he may have. They were a nice way of storing the tobacco while also serving as decoration in a room.
That led me to my next question(s). What is Majolica? Is it the maker? A place? A person? A style? I found a great article by Beth Peterson, at the following link, that helped answer this.pottery.about.com/od/potteryglossarykp/g/majolica.htm
In the article, Peterson shows the definition of Majolica as follows : (noun) a type of pottery in which an earthenware clay body (usually a red earthenware) is covered with an opaque white glaze (traditionally a lead glaze including tin), then painted with stains or glazes and fired.
This pottery originated in the Mediterranean and according to the article, the term “Majolica” is used to describe pottery with the lusterware tin over-glaze which was associated with potters on the island of Majorca.
Now it began to make sense to me. The items I was looking at were a specific type of tobacco jar known as Figural. The figural tobacco jars were known to be produced in Bohemia by German potters and the glaze used on some of them was “Majolica” which was originally associated with Majorca, an island off the coast of Spain..
Many different types of collectors are in search of these unique jars. They are a perfect gift for a friend or relative who collects jars, pottery, animal or human figurines. Next time you are at the Red Door, take a look in the case and check them out!