Minton Secessionist Peacock Vase

This striking Minton Secessionist vase was probably the first piece designed by Leon Solon (1872-1957) after he joined Mintons in 1895 and probably dates to 1898-1900. It is a typically Art Nouveau design and the peacock was a motif often used by Symbolist painters and Art Nouveau designers. A good example of the use of a peacock in Art Nouveau design is the book ‘L’Animal dans la Decoration’ by Eugene Grasset and M.Verneuil which appeared in 1897. Grasset was teaching in Paris in the 1890’s and Solon might well have come across his work. There are numerous other examples of the peacock as being used as a motif in pottery, textles, jewellery and painting at this time.

The vase has moulded decoration combined with transfer printing, but there is no slip decoration. The coloured glazes were added last and allowed to run to give the impression of a hand made object. The vase is marked with the Minton globe stamp because it was made before a specific Secessionist mark was designed. It also bears the shape number E3186

Minton Scessionist Peacock vase designed by Leon Solon c1898-1900

L'Animal dans la Decoration by Grasset and Verneuil 1897


Minton Secessionist Jardiniere with Stylised Trees

A further example of Minton designers using stylised tree motifs can be seen in this jardiniere. The Vienna Secessionists often used tree motifs and minton designers would have seen their work ‘The Studio’ magazine. they might also have known the fabric designs of Voysey which make use of stylised trees in a very decorative manner.

Minton Secessionist Jardiniere with stylised tree pattern

Woven fabric design by Charles Voysey 1896

Stylised trees and landscape fabric design by Voysey c1895

Minton Secessionist Planter with Stylized Trees

This rare Minton Secessionist Planter has the shape number 3773 which is a Secessionist shape. It is decorated with stylized trees, a motif quite often used in various forms by Minton designers.

Minton Secessionist Planter shape number 3773









This small vase is also decorated with stylised trees in blues and greens . it probably dates from around 1905 and looks forward to the Moorcroft Blue Trees pattern which was popular in the 1920’s.

Minton Secessionist Vase with stylised tree pattern

An Unusual Minton Secessionist Vase

I bought this vase many years ago at an antique fair and have never since seen a similar pattern. I have seen the shape ( number 3501) produced in a solid blue, but not with this waterlily pattern. The vase has moulded decoration at the top, rather than slip, and transfer printing has been used for the waterlilies. As a final touch, a broad wash has been applied to give the impression of a hand finished object. This is typical of the marriage between industrial production and hand craft which Minton Secessionist wares successfully achieved. The waterlily was a popular Art Nouveau motif and used by Minton in their Secessionist chargers. It was also widely used in Art Nouveau designs in France, Belgium and Austria. Leon Solon, who probably designed this vase, would have seen many examples of waterliles used in a decorative way in ‘The Studio’ and he might also have seen Harry Napper’s Waterlily textile of 1905. Mintons had great experience in transfer printing tiles and vases so the technical problems of printing this vase were easily mastered.

Rare Minton Secessionist Waterlily Vase shape number 3501

Detail showing moulded decoration

Detail showing transfer printed waterlily

Harry Napper Design for a Waterlily Block Printed Fabric 1905

Some Minton Secessionist Marks

Minton used a series of ciphers for dates and the following cover the Secessionist period although many pieces do not carry date marks.

There are a number of different marks used specifically for Secessionist pieces. Some of the earlier pieces used the raised Minton mark combined with a Secessionist printed mark.

Other early pieces have a special Secessionist transfer stamp in an art nouveau style which was later discontinued in favour of a simpler Secessionist stamp.

The most common stamp is the curvilinear Minton Ltd pattern with or without Secessionist written underneath.

Some of the very first pieces of Secessionist, such as Solon’s original Peacock Vase, pre-date any Secessionist stamp and simply carry the Minton marks used for other ranges:

Other marks which appear are the Shape Numbers, Pattern Numbers, date marks and sometimes coloured marks which almost certainly refer to a particular decorator and the colour way used. On some pieces there are no marks at all.

Minton Secessionist Pattern No 46

Very often the pattern numbers on the base of Minton Secessionist items have no logic – for example pattern No 1 is used indiscriminately often for unusual designs. However some pattern numbers can be ascribed to certain designs, and Pattern No 46 is consistently used for what I call the ‘square leaf’ design. I believe this design originated with Archibald Knox’s designs for Liberty metalwork as it is a shape suited to metal production. The Secessionist designers – maybe Solon himself – used it extensively on two popular shapes – the small vases shape number 3543 and  another smaller vase which I illustrate. Both vases were produced in a number of different colour ways and both were good sellers.

The marks illustrated show the pattern number 46, the shape number 3548 and an 8 in a circle denoting 1908. Most Secessionist shape numbers are in the 3000 range, but many pieces are borrowed from other standard Minton ranges and do not have a Secessionist shape number.

Minton Secessionist Vase Pattern No 46 in green and yellow

Minton Secessionist Vase Pattern No 46 Shape 3543 in red and green

Minton Scessionist Vase with pattern No 46 design

Archibald Knox Tudric box with 'square leaf' pattern

Secessionist Marks showing pattern number, shape number and date for 1908

A Tale of Two Teapots

Minton Secessionist teapots are very rare. Few were made and many have suffered from use over the years. I bought the blue and white teapot on Ebay many years ago : the smaller one was in a local auction house and almost black with tannin staining from many years of use. My restorer left it in a special solution for the best part of a year which drew out the staining and returned to its pristine state.

The Secessionist range did not have a specially designed teapot, so these are both standard Minton shapes, one slightly larger than the other. The decorator would have taken them from the Minton moulding shop where the items were moulded, and both shapes also appear regularly with floral non-Secessionist decoration.

The larger teapot is dated 1902 and has the pattern mark No 5. Many years after buying it, I discovered the teacup, saucer and plate which are also marked with pattern No 5. The blue and white design is fairly unusual for Secessionist and is directly influenced by the Viennese work of architects like Otto Wagner who sometimes clad his buildings in blue and white patterns.

The plate and teacup follow a similar design but here the wavy lines are moulded rather than applied using a slip technique.

The smaller teapot is decorated with a variation of the ‘square leaf’ design which often appears in Secessionist pottery and which almost certainly derives from Archibald Knox’s metalwork for Liberty and Co.

The ‘square leaf’ pattern is usually given the pattern number 46 but in this case the pattern number is 1. It seems likely that pattern No 1 is used for experimental pieces or when the designer is not sure what number to use. In other words, there is no logic to Pattern No 1.