|Fate||Merged with Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd in 1968|
|Defunct||Factory on London Road, Stoke-on-Trent demolished in 1990s|
|Key people||Herbert Minton, Michael Hollins, Colin Minton Campbell|
|Products||Earthenware & bone china|
Minton's Ltd, was a major ceramics manufacturing company, originated with Thomas Minton (1765-1836) the founder of "Thomas Minton and Sons", who established his pottery factory in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England, in 1793, producing earthenware and from 1798 bone china.
Minton's early products were mostly standard domestic tableware in blue transfer printed or painted earthenware, including the ever popular Willow pattern. From c1800 production included fine ornamental chinaware. China production ceased c1816, recommencing c1822.
On his death, Minton was succeeded by his son Herbert Minton (1793-1858) who developed new production techniques and took the business into new fields, notably including decorative encaustic tile making, through his association with leading architects and designers including Augustus Pugin and, it is said, Prince Albert.
Minton entered into partnership with Michael Hollins in 1845 and formed the tile making firm of Minton Hollins & Co., which was at the forefront of a large newly developing market as suppliers of durable decorative finishes for walls and floors in churches, public buildings, grand palaces and simple domestic houses. 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.
Hard white unglazed "statuary porcelain", later called Parian ware due to its resemblance to Parian marble, was first introduced by Spode in the 1840s. It was further developed by Minton who employed John Bell, Hiram Powers and other famous sculptors to produce figures for reproduction.
In 1849 Minton engaged a young French ceramic artist Léon Arnoux as art director and he remained 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 as Secessionist 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 tableware division 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 the Royal Doulton group. Royal Doulton was taken over in turn by the Waterford Wedgwood group in January 2005.
The Victorian building which used to be the Minton Hollins tileworks is on a separate site from the former Minton pottery. It was threatened with demolition in the 1980s but was listed and has been preserved.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mintons|
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