Joseph Francois Leon Arnoux



ARNOUX, Joseph Francois Leon (1816-1902), pottery designer, Stoke upon Trent.


Joseph Francois Leon Arnoux (Leon Arnoux) was born in Toulouse in 1816, the son of Antoine Arnoux, porcelain and earthenware manufacturer and several times mayor of Toulouse. Leon Arnoux studied at the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris. After qualifying as an engineer he worked with his father. 


He came to England in 1848 to study manufacturing techniques. While at Minton's he undertook research into encaustic tiles and impressed Herbert Minton who offered him the job of art director. Arnoux was responsible for Minton's display at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and his new majolica coloured glazes won a reputation both for Minton's and for Arnoux himself. He was later decorated with the Order of Franz Joseph and became a chevalier of the Legion of Honour. His reputation encouraged other French and continental artists to migrate to Minton's, including Solon,  Boullemier and Retchgitz. 


Arnoux encouraged local Potteries artists to familiarise themselves with continental styles and productions. His engineering background enabled him to effect several technical improvements in pottery making, including a down-draught oven. 

Leon Arnoux became a partner in Minton's on its incorporation as a limited company in 1885. He retired in 1892.


He married Suzanne Serac, born in St. Pierre in the West Indies, about 1840. They had two sons and two daughters, that last three of these children being born in Stoke upon Trent. 
They lived at 13 The Villas, Stoke upon Trent - this house was sold in 1861
(see copy of advert below)


Mr. ELIJAH JONES has been instructed by the Executors of the late Mr Robert Anderson , to SELL by AUCTION , at the RAILWAY HOTEL , STOKE , on Tuesday , the 12th February, 1861, at seven o’clock in the evening, subject to such conditions as shall then be produced , all that first-class VILLA RESIDENCE, in the occupation of Mr Arnoux, most eligibly and delightfully situate upon the eminence, at the VILLAS, STOKE-UPON-TRENT, and being at the extreme point of the allotment, it commands an extensive prospect of Trentham and surrounding scenery; it is also surrounded with spacious ornamental. grounds, adorned with choice shrubs, &c. The whole site comprises an area of upwards of 1,300 superficial yards.

The House is in the Italian style of architecture , and most commodious in its arrangements. There are large dining, sitting, and breakfast rooms; spacious entrance hail , paved with Messrs . Minton and Co.‘s tiles ; excellent kitchen, china pantry, washhouse, yard, and appurtenances, capital cellar, together with five airy and commodious sleeping—rooms, with closet, attic, &c.

The Garden Grounds at back abound with choice fruit trees , &c.

The whole premises are finished in a very superior manner, and fitted up with grates, kitchen range, boiler, Venetian sun blinds, cupboard, water pipes and taps, gas fittings, and every convenience.

The property is copyhold of inheritance of the manor of Newcastle-under­Lyme.

For further particulars , apply to Messrs . KEARY and SHEPPARD , Solicitors,. Stoke-upon-Trent ; or to the AUCTIONEER , Lichfield street , Hanley.


The Staffordshire Advertiser, 16 February 1861



The Villas - home of the Arnoux family
The Villas - home of the Arnoux family

photo: July 2000


Louis Solon married one of Arnoux's daughters (Maria) in about 1873.


Leon Arnoux continued in active association with Minton's after his retirement until his death on 25 August 1902. He was known popularly as 'The Man who made Minton's'.


Arnoux was buried in Hartshill cemetery. As a Roman Catholic he was buried in the 1st Class RC area of the cemetery.


The Roman Catholic 1st class area
The Roman Catholic 1st class area

Louis Marc Emmanuel Solon -
Leon Arnoux
Louisa Wilmot Campbell


Colin Minton Campbell's wife, Louisa, converted to Catholicism and so she was not buried in the family vault but here in this small Roman Catholic 1st class area.

Take a tour of
Hartshill Cemetery



1881 census:

Dwelling: The Villas
Census Place: Stoke Upon Trent, Staffordshire, England


Marr | Age | Sex

  Birthplace Occupation
Leon ARNOUX  M 65 M  Head Couloute, France Art Director At Mintons China Manufactory
Suzanne Senac ARNOUX  M 59 F Wife French Colony St Pierre Art Director Wife
Ferdinand ARNOUX U 38 M Son St Gomdens, France Partner & Coproprietor In The Firm Of Engineering Hartley & Arnoux (E&M)
Amelia ARNOUX  U 30 F Daur Stoke On Trent, Stafford, England  
Albert ARNOUX  U 28 M Son Stoke On Trent Partner & Coproprietor In The Firm Of Engineering Hartley & Arnoux (E&M)
Alice ARNOUX  U 25 F  Daur Stoke On Trent  
Cecilia ARNOUX  U 23 F Daur Stoke On Trent  
Leon ARNOUX  U 8 M  Grandson Stoke On Trent Scholar
Harriet PAULSON  U 19 F Serv Wolverhampton Serv (D)

SOURCES: P. Atterbury, The Story of Minton; Census 1871, 1881; Dir. 1S75; G. Codden, 'Artists at Minton', in Apollo, 1962; Staffs. Advertiser 6 September 1902. People of the Potteries; A Dobraszczyc notes.