During our most recent deep dive into the Archive’s Art & Design section we also, as much as possible, continued to digitise items from that part of the collection as well (a nod to a future catalogue update if ever you’ve seen one!). Along the way Folio Frivolity showed us that these bundles of artworks, designs, and reference materials sometimes turned out to be volumes instead, including a small collection of books between SD 1705/MS1776 and MS1782…
First in this group is a series of three “Old Sèvres Copies” volumes, the first two predominantly filled with drawings of plate centres and borders and the third containing designs for lavish ornamental ware, all presumably reproduced from items originally created by the famous French ceramics manufactory. Some illustrations include annotations documenting important details – “This border was outside the Plate, the distance from the edge as represented” – or hinting at their future production – “PA146 […] OWR & Panels Chased as sent to America 1917”.
Old Sèvres Copies I
Old Sèvres Copies II
Old Sèvres Copies III
Our next pair of volumes, labelled “Dresden Flowers” and “Berlin Flowers”, are filled with pretty illustrations of florals and fruits. “Dresden” concentrates mainly on the former, with many of the pages featuring a central posy surrounded by other single flowers. Sometimes these are partly encircled by a border design or a faint circular outline in pencil, and a small number also include crossed-through J- and X-prefixed numbers – relating back to the Minton Art Catalogue – as well as the occasional annotation (like the rather cryptic “The pattern the same as on the other sketch”). In the “Berlin” volume things are more straightforward, with a distinct emphasis on fruits such as damsons, gooseberries, raspberries, and… a turnip(?!), though a few flower illustrations are included as well.
Our last two volumes, “Vases & Working Sketches” parts one and two, contain the largest designs of the group, so much so that many have been pasted into the books on their sides in order to be squeezed in. Often these elaborate illustrations of large ornamental pieces include the artworks for their central panels as part of the design, and in a few cases are accompanied by reference photographs which have also been added to the pages. One such example includes the annotation “Pair of Old Sevres Vases sent […] to have Rings added to handles, July 1908” alongside it.
Most importantly, as of today each of these volumes is now fully browsable via the “Interactive” tabs of their respective online catalogue entries, linked throughout the blog post above; you can also quickly navigate to them through our Page by Page themed search as well. We hope you enjoy exploring them!