Majolica produced by George Jones rivals that of Minton and Wedgwood in both design and workmanship.
At age fourteen, he commenced a seven year apprenticeship with Minton and upon completion in 1844 worked as a travelling salesman for Wedgwood. It was not until 1862 that George Jones entered the pottery manufacturing business, firstly producing white granite wares and in 1866 he commenced production of majolica at his new works in Stoke on Trent. By 1873 Jones eldest two sons, Frank Ralph and George Henry Jones had become familiar with the business and joined their father in partnership. The firm was retitled George Jones & Sons and the name “Crescent” was registered as the trademark of the new company.
George Jones won a medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1867 and received acclaim at exhibitions in London (1871), Vienna (1873) and Sydney (1876). Fortunately, much of the firm’s majolica production was also marked and the distinctive mottled brown and green undersurface glazing of Jones majolica allows attribution of other unmarked pieces. The firm produced a very large amount of majolica which is still available to collectors. Being of uniformly high quality, the pieces are also among the more expensive.
George Jones produced a broad array of majolica wares. The most successful pattern was the Apple Blossom which is sometimes called Dogwood. The design was adapted to a variety of shapes including small and full-sized cheese keepers, a tea service and graduated pitchers. Calla Lily and Pond Lily patterns were likewise utilised in a number of different shapes. Many pieces are decorated with an ochre twisted rope trim with pointed acanthus leaves. Naturalistic themes predominate, and precisely, but artistically modelled flora and fauna add to the unique charm of George Jones majolica. Among the most prized for collectors are covered dishes including cheese keepers, game pie dishes and sardine boxes. Particularly important is a game pie dish with rabbits moulded in relief about the base and the cover decorated with a nesting game bird which forms the handle. The piece was produced both with and without a brood of chicks surrounding the hen. Other covered pieces are festooned with foxes, pastoral cows and water birds. Some successful covered designs were produced in a variety of colours including turquoise, pink and cobalt with complementing interior colours. Also important are a series of fruit compotes composed of a turquoise bowl supported by a gnarled oak trunk, each with different animal figures surrounding the base which were allegorical of the continents. The Victorian whimsical sense of humour is enshrined in the design of a punch bowl produced in several colours with the bowl supported by the supine comedic figure Punch.