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Minton rarities, Australian Pottery, American Ceramics – and more, Fresh to Stock

Welcome to an interesting Moorabool ‘Fresh Stock Release’.

Featured are a small collection of early Victorian ‘Staffordshire Cottages’ – pastille burners that were made as mini houses with working chimneys to allow the smoke out!

Minton Majolica 'Chinaman' teapot, bright majolica colours, 1874
Our latest character to arrive at Moorabool….

There’s a couple of rare British Pottery pieces, the most noticeable being the Minton Majolica ‘Chinaman’ teapot. This remarkable design is a ‘Minton Classic’, chosen in the 20th century as one of their reproduction lines – but ours is original, and very early: the design appears in the early 1870’s, and this example bears the date code for 1874.

He’s an interesting character, dressed in a magnificent flower-decorated pale blue coat and green pants incised with bamboo. His hair is in a thick platt, and loops around as the handle. He’s holding a mask, a ferocious dark character, from whose mouth protrudes the green-glaze spout. His head lifts off as the lid, and his hair is held up with a tall comb that acts as the knob – which brings to mind the possibility that this is in fact a woman!

The other notable item is a pair of ‘Moon Flasks’, the name & shape borrowed from the Chinese. These are painted with cherubs catching butterflies amongst apple blossom – so very Victorian!
They are signed by the artist, and this opens up an interesting background: two sisters, Eliza J. and Rosa J. Strutt, were employed at the London workshop known as ‘Minton’s Art Studio Pottery, South Kensington’. Minton had set this up in 1870 in South Kensington. These flasks are by Eliza J. Strutt.

Pair of Minton Art Studio Moonflasks, painted by Eliza J. Strutt, 1873

This fascinating Art Pottery studio actually owes its origins to the establishment of the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington. When this was being set up, the museum’s interior decorations were planned to include lavish tile panels, and Minton was commissioned to execute them. From this came the idea for a London based decorating studio; land was leased by Minton right next to the Royal Albert Hall – and they shared the smokestack used for their kilns with the heating apparatus for the hall!
The Minton Art Pottery Studio opened in 1871 with the great designer W.J. Coleman as the director. The blank pots were made at Minton, and decorated in the new studio by students from the Government’s ‘National Art Training Schools’. 3/4 of these were women, and a contemporary account stated ‘…it was worthy of notice as the only place in London devoted to the manufacture of high-class pottery’.
Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the complex in 1875 and it was never re-built.

An interesting Minton fact: there’s a change in the name/mark, illustrated perfectly in these two pieces: from 1873, the first mark ‘MINTON’ (as seen on the teapot) is changed to ‘MINTON’S’ (as seen on the vases).

MINTON MINTON'S marks, 1873 1874

British Pottery Rarities

Australian Pottery

Plus more!

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