Famous Potters of Stoke-on-Trent
The history of Mintons
Thomas Minton 1765-1836
Thomas Minton moved to Stoke in 1793 and opened his newly built factory in 1796 - he went on to become Spode's nearest rival.
The Minton factory was the most popular supply source in the 19th century of dinnerware made to order for embassies and for heads of state and the name continues to the present day as part of the Waterford, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton Group.
In 1845, Herbert Minton took Michael Daintry Hollins into partnership, and the tile-making side of the business became known as Minton Hollins & Co. Herbert Minton's successful experiments in making encaustic tiles during the 1840s had set him at the forefront of a huge industry supplying the needs of institutions, churches, and domestic interiors all over the world.
Later, he was a leader in exploiting industrial techniques for producing printed and painted tiles, and for the rest of the century the firm produced tiles in a vast array of styles, many of them designed by leading artists such as Christopher Dresser, Walter Crane, John Moyr Smith, and William Wise. Relief-moulded tiles were introduced to the Minton range from the
Minton produced some of the finest examples of Parian ware, a marble-like unglazed porcelain body developed during the 1840s and used most successfully for sculptural pieces. John Bell, the American Hiram Powers, and Albert Carrier de Belleuse were among the sculptors who produced statuary for Minton; scaled-down models of larger pieces by contemporary and past sculptors were also produced in Parian, and sometimes the material was used in combination with glazed and painted bone china for display pieces.
The French ceramist Léon Arnoux became art director at Minton in 1849 and remained there until 1892. Among his achievements were the development of Renaissance-inspired ceramics such as inlaid earthenwares, pieces painted in the style of Limoges porcelain, and the richly colourful majolica, first shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and used for all kinds of objects from large garden ornaments and elaborate display pieces to dishes and jugs for the table. Arnoux attracted other French artists to Minton, notably the sculptor Carrier de Belleuse, the modeller and decorator Marc-Louis Solon, and the painter Antoine Boullemier.
Solon introduced the pâte-sur-pâte technique to Minton, having developed it previously at Sèvres. This laborious process involves building up a design in relief with layers of liquid slip, each one having to dry before the next is applied. Using this technique, Solon and his apprentices modelled diaphanously clad maidens and tumbling cherubs on vases and plaques with a skill that was unmatched at any other factory.
Colin Minton Campbell
After Herbert Minton's death in 1858, the firm was run by his nephew Colin Minton Campbell, a similarly dynamic and innovative director. Oriental decoration preoccupied Minton from the 1860s onward. Highly original pieces, both in earthenware and bone china, evoked Chinese cloisonné enamels, Japanese lacquer and ivories, Islamic metalwork and Turkish pottery.
In 1870, Minton's Art Pottery Studio was established in Kensington, London, under the direction of the painter W. S. Coleman, in order to encourage both amateur and professional artists to decorate china and tiles for Minton; although popular and influential, the studio was not rebuilt when it burnt down in 1875.
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