Merry Christmas from The Minton Archive

With the festivities fast approaching the time has come for the Minton Archive website to sign off until the new year. We’ve hung our stockings on the Minton China Works fireplace and left some still-warm-from-the-kiln majolica mince pies out for Santa Claus (he’s a big Minton collector don’t you know) but before we go let’s take our customary look back at what we got up to in 2021. Oh, and pick out another Hildesheimer & Faulkner Christmas card too!

2021 has certainly been another discombobulating year and so, as with our last Christmas round-up, this roll call of highlights might be a little shorter than usual. It’s quality, not quantity, that counts mind you!

For the first half of the year the blog was dominated with our Folio Frivolity series, which picked out details from designs and illustrations from the catalogue’s Art & Design folios to share on the blog every fortnight or so; we also posted these as daily highlights via Twitter @MintonArchive. Interspersed between these our Folio Friday posts continued on, with February’s instalment marking the fifth anniversary of this long-running series.

 


 

Behind the scenes – whenever it was possible to physically work with the collection! – we were also hard at work preparing the first catalogue update in over 18 months, a fairly mammoth task that resulted in 100 refreshed records and 487 new images including representative images for the entire “Lettered Sequence” (MS1651 to MS1806) of the Art & Design section. As part of the process we also made seven volumes found in this sequence available to browse in full online – that’s technically a further 379 images on top of the catalogue update!

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When the website’s sixth anniversary rolled round in September we made our usual fuss and released a special catalogue update to mark the occasion, this time focusing on a volume of tile designs that had been hiding in plain sight until our aforementioned work took us into the folios. We don’t have as much tile-related material as you might imagine – it’s tricky – so we were really pleased to be able to release this piece into the wild 🙂

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Away from the online catalogue in April we were pleased to be able to publish a new In Depth article which explored Art Director Léon Arnoux’s involvement in reducing and controlling the use of lead glazes in the pottery industry. The Killer Glazes was kindly provided to us by local historian Michael Prendergast whose grandfather William was also involved in the efforts to bring an end to the lead poisoning of pottery workers.

On the blog we geolocated some photographs of Minton’s China Works with the aid of some incredibly well-drawn maps and told the tale of the Loch Ard Peacock, a particularly well-travelled piece of Minton majolica. Just recently we returned to the Exhibition Estimate Books of last year’s anniversary update in order to compare the 1873 Vienna volume with a catalogue of the pieces sold at the same exhibition. We even harked back to our analysis of “Eliza’s Register” with a similarly stat-heavy post that looked at what sold, and to whom…

And with that, you should be up-to-date with the Minton Archive for 2021. All that’s left is for us to wish you a very Merry Christmas – we’ll meet you back here in the new year for even more from this fantastic collection!