Minton porcelain was produced by Minton’s Ltd.
The company was founded in 1793 by Thomas Minton, who established a factory in The Potteries region of Staffordshire, UK. From its inception, Minton’s produced earthenware. It introduced bone china lines in 1798.
From its inception, Minton’s produced practical, earthenware items, often in the ever popular willow pattern. However, fine ornamental china lines were introduced in 1800, with ceasing in 1816 and recommencing in 1822.
Tile making became a major project when the firm was taken over by Thomas Minton’s son Herbert in 1845, who developed new production techniques while networking with architects and designers such as Augustus Pugin. In the same year the firm entered into a partnership with Michael Hollins, forming the tile making firm Minton Hollings & Co. The firm exhibited widely at trade exhibitions throughout the world and examples of its exhibition displays are held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. where the company gained many prestigious contracts including tiled flooring for the United States Capitol.
Statuary porcelain, also known as Parian (due to its likeness to Parian marble) was developed by Minton during the mid nineteenth century, and in 1849, young French ceramic artist Léon Arnoux was hired as art director, remaining with the Minton Company until 1892. This and other enterprising appointments enabled the company greatly to widen its product ranges, one of the first innovations being the very colourful and highly successful Majolica ware launched at The Great Exhibition of 1851.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 gave Arnoux the opportunity to recruit the modeller Marc-Louis Solon who had developed the technique of pâte-sur-pâte at Sèvres and brought it with him to Minton. In this process the design is built up in relief with layers of liquid slip, with each layer being allowed to dry before the next is applied. There was great demand for Solon's plaques and vases, featuring maidens and cherubs, and Minton assigned him apprentices to help the firm become the unrivaled leader in this field.
Others introduced to Minton by Arnoux included the sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and the painter Antoine Boullemier.
On his death Herbert Minton was succeeded by his equally dynamic nephew Colin Minton Campbell who took the company into a highly successful exploration of Chinese cloisonné enamels, Japanese lacquer and Turkish pottery.
In 1870 Mintons opened an art pottery studio in Kensington, London directed by W.S. Coleman and encouraged both amateur and professional artists to become involved in pottery decoration and design. When the studio was destroyed by fire in 1875, it was not rebuilt.
From the mid-1890s onwards, Minton's made major contributions to Art Nouveau ceramics with a fine range of slip-trailed majolica ware, many designed by Marc-Louis Solon's son Leon Solon and his colleague John Wadsworth. Leon Solon was hired by Minton's after his work was published in the hugely influential design magazine The Studio and he worked for the company from 1895-1905, including a brief stint as Art Director. Solon's early designs for Minton's were strongly influenced by the Viennese Secessionist art movement, founded by Gustav Klimt and others, and so became known asSecessionist ware.
The Secessionist range covered both practical and ornamental wares including cheese dishes, plates, teapots, jugs and comports, vases and large jardinières. The shapes of ornamental vases included inverted trumpets, elongated cylinders and exaggerated bottle forms, although tableware shapes were conventional. Early Successionist patterns featured realistic renderings of natural motifs—flowers, birds and human figures—but under the combined influence of Solon and Wadsworth, these became increasingly exaggerated and stylised, with the characteristic convoluted plant forms and floral motifs reaching a peak of extravagance around the turn of the 20th century.
The Minton factory in the centre of Stoke was rebuilt and modernised after the Second World War by the then Managing Director, J. E. Hartill,a great-great-great grandson of Thomas Minton. The tablewaredivision was always the mainstay of Minton's fortunes and the post-1950 rationalisation of the British pottery industry took Mintons into a merger with Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd. By the 1980s Mintons was only producing a few different shapes but still employed highly skilled decorators. The factory, including office accommodation and a Minton Museum, was demolished as part of rationalisation within theRoyal Doulton group. Royal Doulton was taken over in turn by the Waterford Wedgwood group in January 2005.
An excellent resource for collectors of Minton porcelain can be found here: http://www.antique-marks.com/antique-minton.html
A Minton’s porcelain boar’s head sold for $32,000 at Tepper Galleries Inc. in October 2009.
A Mintons pate sur pate sold for $17,000 at DuMouchelles in December 2012.
A pair of figural Minton candle sticks sold for $7,600 at Blue Dolphin Antiques in November 2005.
A set of 12 cabinet plates sold for $6,600 at Sotheby’s in December 2006.
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