The Museum of Ceramics of Manises came into being around the 1960s, when the Manises City Council received a bequest from the married couple José Casanova Dalfó and Pilar Sanchis Causa.
This donation marked the birth of the Museum of Ceramics of Manises, as it consisted of a building—a manor house from the end of the 18th century, where the museum is currently located—and a collection of works of art and ceramics which, as was expressly stated, were to be used for the creation of a museum.
The museum’s initial stage was marked by the exhibition and conservation of the objects bequeathed and of the first pieces recovered from the subsoil of Manises or donated by the city’s residents, which were incorporated into the museum’s collection.
Over the years, the museum’s collection grew, mainly through excavations, donations, deposits and purchases; and it sought to specialise and become a space dedicated exclusively to the ceramics of Manises. This aim called for an intensification of study and research work in order to obtain more rigorous data and information on the city’s ceramic production.
This knowledge was also to be transmitted to the public through an explanatory exhibition narrative. Thus, little by little, the Museum of Ceramics of Manises evolved to become what it is today: the centre for the acquisition, conservation, research, exhibition and dissemination of the history of Manises’ ceramics.
The Museum of Ceramics of Manises has a collection of more than 5,500 pieces. Chronologically, pieces range from the 14th to the 20th century, and 90% are works of local manufacture with decorations in cobalt blue, green and manganese; blue and gold lustre from the 14th to the 16th centuries; Baroque polychrome of the 18th century; colourful tiles; ceramics of the modernist period, etc. However, we also find some production from other significant centres, such as l’Alcora or the city of Valencia, in order to compare the similarities of the works.
The museum also has works by artists Alfons Blat and Arcadi Blasco, and a sizeable collection of contemporary ceramics that come from the winners of the Manises International Biennial of Ceramics.
The Museum of Ceramics of Manises is well aware that the ceramics of Manises is not only represented by ceramic objects, nor can it be understood only through them. On the contrary, it is a phenomenon that encompasses everything that has surrounded Manises’ ceramics throughout more than 700 years of continuous activity.
For this reason, in parallel to the ceramics collection, the Museum has assembled a collection of working tools made up of a set of almost 1,400 tools and utensils used in the processes of manufacturing and decorating ceramics in the city, which has made it possible to recover an important manufacturing heritage associated with the production of ceramics in Manises. Most of these objects come from donations made by companies and individuals who have worked in the municipality.
A good sample of these is exhibited in the Technology Room, a space where the production processes and the most important technical characteristics of Manises’ ceramics are summarised in five sections:
clays and the preparation of the pastes, the shaping, the glazes, the decoration and the firing, as well as a kiln for the firing of Arabic-type lustreware built by José Rodrigo Cervera (Manises, 1909-1988), and a model of a mid-20th century earthenware factory made by Francisco Tárrega Castellano (Pedralba, 1939-Manises, 2018).
It is, as a whole, the ideal didactic complement for a proper understanding of the collection of historical ceramics on display in the other galleries of the museum.
The Museum of Ceramics of Manises’s collection of art ceramics includes an outstanding group of works by Arcadi Blasco (Mutxamel, 1928-Madrid, 2013) which, at the artist’s own request, were donated in 2000 for their safekeeping, dissemination and permanent exhibition in the museum’s galleries.
The seventeen pieces are representative of the different stages of his career as a ceramist. With them, the Museum of Ceramics of Manises became the public institution that preserves and exhibits the largest collection of ceramics by Blasco.
At present, the Museum of Ceramics of Manises is trying to adapt to the new demands of museums and the recent needs of the public by focusing its attention on offering more context and a more up-to-date interpretation of the collection in order to create a more enjoyable and effective way of understanding it. To achieve this, the museum organises activities that seek to involve the community and is working in the long term on a new extension that will allow to restructure the works and the narrative of the exhibition in the new space available. Ultimately, the Museum of Ceramics of Manises aims to be a modern, well-equipped museum with a desire to serve today’s society and future generations.
Admission to the museum is free. Group visits must be booked in advance.
Closed every Monday and on 1 January, 1 May, 19 July, and 24, 25 and 31 December
|Tuesday to Saturday||From 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.||From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.|
|Sunday and holidays||From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.|