Pairing Up, Part 3: Possibilities

In the first two parts of our “pairing up” series we’ve been quite definite about how each item is connected to the other; it’s quite easy to be that way when we can show tracings neatly overlaying artworks! The longer you spend within Minton’s Art & Design folios however, the more you start to see all sorts of connections – nowhere near as concrete as our previous examples (and just maybe the result of spending too much time amongst the artwork) but possibilities nonetheless. These are what we wanted to explore in our final post.

Even with that subtle disclaimer in the opening paragraph it’s important to say that these connections might be nothing more than coincidences. We might simply be seeing pockets of similar work by multiple artists, or the effects of prevailing tastes and styles in a particular time period. We’re therefore working in the realms of hunches and gut feelings from here on in… but that does mean that you too can explore the collection and be just as much of an expert at this as us!

First up are two ewer designs, one found in SD 1705/MS1739 and the other in SD 1705/MS1737. We know that the latter is a drawing by L.V. Solon and, whilst we won’t claim to have discovered another of his works, these two illustrations share a similar shape and style, don’t you think?


These next two items were both found separately within the hundreds of individual artworks that make up SD 1705/MS1700. Although the numbered circles don’t match up across the two designs, they do seem to outline a particular way of working. Perhaps there are more of these types of document waiting to be found elsewhere in the folios – where are the coloured designs which match the two vase sketches, for example?


It’s probably a bit of a stretch to suggest the sketches found in SD 1705/MS1701 and the artwork in SD 1705/MS1799 are really connected, but the similar subject matter and circular framing was enough to make us wonder. As the handwritten note on MS1701’s sketch suggests, finding “sketch CCC.33 & 34 for colour” would almost certainly provide us with a much stronger connection!


Our final pairing is of two beautifully detailed artworks found in SD 1705/MS1700 and SD 1705/MS1701. There’s some similarity in the style of decoration but it’s the motto used in both illustrations – “Auspicium Melioris Ævi”, or “Token of a Better Age” – which must surely connect them.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our short series of posts – here are links to Part 1: Inspiration, Artwork and Process and Part 2: Works in Progress if you landed at Part 3 first. As always you can start your own journey through the Minton company records by browsing the online catalogue or by viewing original material at Stoke-on-Trent City Archives.