As you know dahhling I have a bit of obsession with porcelain, particularly dinnerware. But not only for fine bone china, Limoges and the like, as you might assume, but instead I like all types of porcelain & do not discriminate. From high to low I have found great examples of pieces that make beautiful table settings and to me that is the fundamental purpose of buying them. For I am not one that simply collects anything for the pleasure of looking at it…rather I like buying things no matter their value that I will use & reuse while I am alive. Inheritance for others be damned!
I always say, it is a new discovery of a set of dinnerware that inspires a luncheon, an afternoon té, a sit down dinner, even plates that I can use for aperitifs for an afternoon cocktail! The pattern of a porcelain piece, the color, the shape of the plates helps to build a menu, based on the quantities of the pieces, a guest list is drawn and soon enough an event has been planned.
To this end I want to begin sharing with you some of my latest finds as well as my finds from years past & the events they have inspired or the ones they soon will….
The first set is one I found at our always chic & unique shop: “The Paris Market” not too long ago, a set for 12 of Minton China pattern: Gold Rose (H4680). The set included both the soup bowls & the consome toureens, salad & dinner plates, as well as cups & saucers. I have not "officially" unveiled it by using it to entertain, but I pulled them out of storage to set a table for you dahhlings.
I like the way the gold & the blue and white chinoiserie vases look and of course anything looks wonderful with a preserved evergreen as part of the design. The patterned was introduced in 1939, the design had a wide gold band and fanciful gold rose in the center on a white swirl blank. It was discontinued in 1970. My set has the markings of Minton's Crown and Globe back stamp and artists marks that date it from 1939 to 1950.
As close to perfection as this set was it did not come with 12 salad plates, but instead only came with 10. Sometime last year I found 4 matching salad plates in a little antique store off the Garden path, they were too pretty to pass up for the price & I decided that one day I could use them for a little lunch for 4....however I found that they were instead perfect to "stand in" if you will, to make up for the lack of salad plates for my Rose Gold Minton set!
I don't think you can tell the difference, and for those dinners when you want everything to look as a set, voila!
I know you already know dahhling that Minton was originally founded by Thomas Minton who was born in Shrewsbury, England in 1765. His family were keen collectors of porcelain and he commenced work as an apprentice with the celebrated engraver Robert Hancock at the Caughley Works in Shropshire and then with the equally renowned Thomas Turner. He moved to London to become a Master Engraver and was commissioned to do work for Josiah Spode who then had a warehouse in London. Around 1788, Minton decided to move from London to Stoke-on-Trent where he continued to work as an engraver for Thomas Whieldon, the first partner of Wedgwood and for the Adams brothers.
Thomas Minton was determined to become a potter and purchased land and built a modest factory in about 1792 with two ovens, a slip house and accommodation, and the factory started to produce wares about three years later. His need for expert assistance resulted in his engaging the brothers Samuel and Joseph Poulson; Samuel was a modeller and Joseph a trained potter. This led to Joseph Poulson becoming a partner in 1796. They were soon joined in partnership by a Liverpool merchant William Pownal who helped provide capital to develop the business. The firm predominantly produced transfer printed earthenware dinner and tea services using superior earthenware stone china, opaque china, and feldspar china while bone china goods were introduced with great success in 1798.
Thomas Minton became sole proprietor in 1809. He took his sons Herbert and Thomas into partnership in 1817 although Thomas left soon after to become a priest. Herbert quickly contributed to the firm’s success and became its driving force. The firm expanded their tableware lines in 1824 to include various products directed to the decorative luxuries market. The company produced fine hand-painted porcelain and industrial-strength tiles for stately homes and churches. Thomas Minton died in 1836 and control fell entirely to Herbert Minton. He took John Boyle into partnership to manage the commercial side but they did not agree on future directions and the partnership was dissolved in 1841, Boyle moving to Wedgwood. In 1847, Minton succeeded in producing a new unglazed marble-like china called 'Parian' which was highly suitable for figures. The firm attracted the celebrated French ceramic artist and chemist Leon Arnoux, and several English and foreign sculptors joined to design Parian ware.
Herbert had two young nephews, Michael Daintry Hollins and Colin Minton Campbell and they entered the business in 1840 and 1848 respectively. Hollins became responsible for the tile-making side of the business which became Minton Hollins & Co. Herbert Minton died in 1858 and control of the main business passed to Colin Minton Campbell.
The most renowned of the firm’s artists in modern times was John Wadsworth who worked with Minton’s from 1901 until he died in 1955. His crowning glory was the great vase designed to commemorate the Coronation of the Queen. From the mid-1890s, Minton's made major contributions to Art Nouveau ceramics with slip-trailed majolica ware designed by Wadsworth and Leon Solon. Minton released several Art Deco designs in the 1920s but the firm was hard hit by the Great Depression particularly for sales of luxury designs. Minton halted production of dinnerware in 1939 because the company’s resources were needed to help the war effort. The post-war period saw a revival of the firm’s fortunes. The Minton factory in the centre of Stoke was rebuilt and modernized after the Second World War by the then Managing Director J E Hartill, a great-great-great grandson of Thomas Minton.
Early earthenware and pre-1805 porcelains appear to be unmarked. After that, there were various marks reflecting the different owners prior to the introduction of the standard Minton marks of today.
Here are some of the back stamps which may help you identify your very own Minton:
Some Minton ware bears impressed marks which indicate the date of manufacture:
I am fascinated by the hidden story of every new porcelain purchase. How did it make it intact all these years to the present? How did it arrive to this particular place where I found it from the time it was made? more often than not in a completely different continent....Do you have a favorite Minton pattern in your collection dahhling?
HRHThe Duchess of State