Pokémon and The Minton Archive

We recently had a little bit of fun on social media thanks to the Pokémon GO craze currently engulfing the world (bear with us!). Linking creatures found in Minton artwork to specific Pokémon characters – and coining the term “PokéMinton” in the process – might seem a little flippant, but it actually gave us the opportunity to share images of the Japanese-inspired artworks produced for Minton by Christopher Dresser for the very first time.

Artwork by Christopher Dresser, unlike the vast majority of the material in our Art & Design folios, isn’t currently associated with a specific catalogue record. This makes it particularly difficult to highlight his designs in our themed searches or reference his work here on the blog. However, as Pokémon GO hit the headlines it dawned on us that the weird and wonderful creatures dotted throughout Dresser’s designs were in many cases just as outlandishly styled as some of the “Pocket Monsters” now (virtually) roaming the country.

We scoured the Pokémon encyclopedia (yes there is such a thing, and it even has a special name – the Pokédex!) to see if we could uncover any similarities between the stylised animals depicted in Dresser’s 19th century designs and the modern-day Pokémon before sharing our findings via the Archive Service’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. We called the creatures we found PokéMinton – because they’re not your average Squirtle or Pikachu after all.

If you’d like to see how we got on in our quest to find these PokéMinton, or if you’d just like look at some of the Dresser illustrations we picked out, check out the series of embedded tweets below. Normal service is now resumed!