Gzhel porcelain decorated with fancy blue painting has acquired wide popularity in the whole wide world. Its value consists in its uniqueness and decorativeness. Gzhel ware is decorated with flowers, leaves, bunches and garlands of flowers. They are painted with the only colour - blue cobalt, which is sometimes laid wide and rich dab and other times in hardly noticeable touch of the brush. Touches of different intensity create a rich, bright and very impressive picture.
The history of Gzhel porcelain began in the seventeenth century. The porcelain took the name "Gzhel" after the village Gzhel which is situated in Moscow region. The first documentary evidence about the village dates back to the 1339 ecclesiastical charter of the Russian tzar Ivan Kalita. There, at the distance of 60 km from Moscow people had been long engaged in pottery. Archaeological discoveries confirm the existence of pottery on Gzhel territory since the beginning of the fourteenth century.
Gzhel crafters have always made not only table-ware, but also small genre sculpture. These works depicted animals and people in action. From time to time entire scenes of rural or urban life were depicted in such sculptures. For example: traditional tea-drinking, beauties walking or sitting at work, hens, roosters, birds and so on. All works have a uniting feature - hand-made fancy blue painting on white background. They are all truly hand-made! The artist paints every cup or vase with a brush. That is why there are no two similar works, each one being really unique and keeping the style of its creator.
Gzhel craftsmen are true artists that join talent and centuries-old experience of their predecessors.
However, hand-made works are labour-intensive. They always come in small numbers, which often cannot meet the demand. Even in Russia not many people have Gzhel ware; and collectors are very proud of their collections. The original ware has the hallmark "Gzhel" which confirms its authenticity and quality.
All Gzhel works are created in plaster forms being cast from liquid porcelain mass. After the first burning the form is painted by cobalt. Usually the background stays white. Then painting is covered by glaze. Glaze fuses and makes the surface of the work glassy, giving cobalt its blue colour. Ornaments of gzhel items are normally based on plants and flowers (roses are the most widely distributed kinds of gzhel patterns).
Modern Gzhel art is charming, cheerful and original. It soaks up the beauty of Russian nature and reserved, strong and expressive spirit of Russian people.
Today Gzhel is going through its golden age. There appear magnificent works with their mysterious dark blue shades floating through the light field. Fabulous patterns, garlands, free touches coupled with subtle drawings - all of this makes Gzhel ware original, decorative and attractive. It is nice to use Gzhel tableware. It has become very popular lately. Many collectors have been collecting it. White and blue articles decorate houses in different parts of the world. In our age of stamped fashion the thirst for original things - made not by a machine but by man's hands - continuously increases. The value of such things will undoubtedly increase with time.