A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Monday, September 5, 2011

Majolica Classics: Minton Majolica Oyster Plates

Imitated by many yet matched by none, the Minton six well oyster plate is the standard against which all others are compared.

Made in a variety of different colors, the turquoise plate is the most commonly found of the colors and usually the least expensive for the collector.

 The most sought after plates in the series, however, are in other colors. The most expensive color is also the rarest, yellow.

Other colors in great demand are the cobalt, pink, lavender and malachite.

The malachite plates are made from two colors of slip covered with a tranparent green glaze. This gives the plates the appearance of being made of carved malachite. 

Beginners sometimes confuse the malachite plates with the mottled plates. The latter are not made from different colors of slip but instead two different colors of glaze applied to a regular earthenware base.

On very rare occasions Minton added hand painting, monograms or other custom adornments to their plates. These are quite beautiful and extremely difficult to find.

The reverse of all the Minton plates is usually turquoise or green and all are marked on the reverse with the usual Minton marks. With a variety of copies made by smaller potteries around the same time, these marks are a guaranteed way of identifying the Minton examples.The plate below bears the cypher for 1873.

Minton made other oyster servers as well.
The rarest is certainly their Pallisy style oyster plate which is almost never seen.

Other oyster plates had fish shaped wells, wicker grounds and wells in a variety of different shapes, colors and combinations. 

The company also made revolving tiered oyster servers in two sizes.
With the prices of most majolica having dipped significantly in the past few years, Minton's oyster plates have remained in demand among collectors. They remain a good value for the investor and a beautiful addition to any collection.

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