Height: 260.000 mm
Room 47: Europe 1800-1900
Pair of 'Moon Flasks' decorated by Thomas Mellor for Minton & Co.
Stoke-on-Trent, England, AD 1879
Porcelain vases with cameo heads inspired by engraved gems in the British Museum
The profile heads on these vases are loosely
based on two engraved gems in the British Museum. One, a
The form of the vases is inspired by Chinese pilgrim bottles, reflecting the eclectic mix of cultural and historical sources typical of Victorian design. They are decorated using pâte-sur-pâte, an elaborate technique which involved building up layer upon layer of white liquid porcelain into delicate low relief images. The technique was originally developed at the Sèvres factory in Paris, and introduced at Minton during the 1870s by the French designer, Marc Louis Solon (1835-1913), who passed on his skills to British craftsmen, such as Thomas Mellor, whose signature appears on each vase. Because of the amount of labour involved, pâte-sur-pâte pieces were always very expensive. The cost of producing these pieces was estimated at £4 11s. 10d., a considerable amount of money during the 1870s.
H.B. Walters, Catalogue of the engraved gems (London, 1926)
P. Atterbury, and M. Batkin, The dictionary of Minton (England, Woodbridge, Antique Collectors' Club, 1982)
B. Bumpus, Pâte-sur-pâte: the art of cera (London, Barrie and Jenkins, 1992)
J. Rudoe, Decorative arts 1850-1950: a c, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
J. Jones, Minton: the first two hundred (Shrewsbury, Swan Hill Press, 1993)