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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Minton Archive

Minton Museum, 1889.

In a corner of the Internet lies a Web site that could prove of great use to scholars and pottery collectors alike in the coming years: the online version of the Minton Archive.

The Minton Archive consists of the production records of over twenty companies who operated in Stoke-on-Trent from about 1800 through 1968. In addition to the Minton company itself the records of such companies as Ridgeway, Royal Doulton, and Shelly are included in the archive.

Created by The Art Fund in 2015 and gifted to the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the original paper archive is slowly being transferred online. Right now the records of the Minton pottery archive are available for research online as are a small group of highlighted images that accompany these records. Plans are to enlarge these visual images to include the entire Minton section of the archive as well as those records of the other companies.

The site itself is a wonderful read for anyone interested in this period of British ceramics. In addition to photographs of the company there are individual sections devoted to the company, artists, shapes, production, artwork and employees. There is also a marvelous blog that covers a variety of topics from designs to conservation of the paper the original archive was written on.

The archive is extensive. Because of this I will concentrate on only three sections that I thought would be of interest. One of those sections highlights the extraordinary designs of Christopher Dresser. Dresser was a highly influential industrial artist who left his mark on all levels of decorative wares.

Another section shows original designs for majolica wares including English Registration records.

Minton majolica lobster terrine*

Minton vase in porcelain*

Minton majolica oyster plate*

Finally, the blog section did an examination of the famous Minton butterfly plate, starting with the original registration through the various designs used on the plates.

Minton butterfly plate in majolica*
Minton butterfly plate in majolica*
In time the archive will only become better as it expands to include more records. We're very lucky that the potteries had the foresight to save their records for posterity.

To visit the archive go to:  http://www.themintonarchive.org.uk

All images are from the Minton Archive with the exception of those with asterisks*

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