Of all the pieces of majolica Minton created for its regular production line, one piece stands above the rest: the Minton majolica Prometheus Vase. The sheer presence of the four foot piece is stunning in its magnificence. In our 30 year career of buying majolica we have seen five of these for sale. Three of these vases had glazed grounds of clear Minton turquoise with the captives, eagle and Prometheus figure in full color. Two examples had the detailed hand painting created for exhibition pieces. Even the one example we saw which lacked its lid—and therefore its Prometheus figure—was quite imposing in its beauty.
|Prometheus Bound by Peter Paul Rubens|
Designed by Victor Etienne Simian for Minton, a pair of the vases were first shown at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. This pair with painted decoration of a boar hunt by Thomas Allen was an imitation of the maiolica of the 15th Century.
|Prometheus Vase with metallic |
decoration in the Manchester Museum
A turquoise example in full color majolica glaze came up for auction recently in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has an example with sgraffito decoration by Silas Rice done in the ancient Greek manner.
Originally quite expensive, the vase was considered the Rolls Royce of Minton's line when it was new and remains so today. Consequently there are not that many available for sale. Should you be interested in buying one they have brought between $11,000 and $40,000 for turquoise examples and up to $100,000 for the hand painted ones. A turquoise example without the lid sold in Atlanta a few years ago for $5,000.