Pâte sur Pâte (and Pugin too!)

During our ongoing work to sort and re-file (wherever possible) the Archive’s bundles of out-of-sequence material we came across one of the copies of “Pâte sur Pâte” originally listed under SD 1705/MS2861-2863 and MS2540. With so many copies to hand we decided to disbind the most tired example and digitise it fully for the online catalogue.

“Pâte sur Pâte”, or “Clay on Clay”, is a highly specialised technique where successive layers of liquid clay are applied to a body in order to build up a low-level decorative relief. In this slim volume Minton artist Marc Louis Solon, who was first introduced to trials of this method during his time at Sévres, writes about “the early history of ‘Pâte sur Pâte,’ and how he came to devote the greater part of his life to the work in England”. It’s a fantastically informative record of this process of decoration, containing both “personal reminiscences and technical notes” from an artist who “uninterruptedly practised [it] during the lapse of half a century”, and you can now read it in full.

Having trouble viewing the Book Reader above? Try opening it in a new window.

We’ve also been busy updating the online record for SD 1705/MS1807, adding our signature zoomable viewer to enable hi-res study of the 27 A.W. Pugin designs – marked S.1 to S.27 – found within it. You’ll even find new rotation controls so you can manipulate the artworks to more easily read the many annotations scattered across them. Clever stuff eh?! As usual you can find the standard grid layout via the record page’s “Interactive” tab but we’ve also included a special version below that maintains each item’s relative size as if they were laid out on a table together.

Zoom in and out with your mouse’s scroll wheel or by using the on-screen controls. Click and drag the image to move it around. On touch-enabled devices drag the image with your finger and pinch to zoom.