John Moyr Smith Designed Mintons China Works Tile
  • Style/technique: Pictorial Polychrome Print
  • Manufacturer: Minton's China Works
  • Pattern number: 1868
  • Dimensions: 6" x 6"
  • Date: circa 1885
  • Colours: 4 Printed


'Nigel and King James', a pictorial representation of a scene from The Fortunes of Nigel, a novel from the Waverley series by Sir Walter Scott written in the early nineteenth century.

The Waverley novels were written in the early nineteenth century and dealt with historical adventure, the lives, loves, wheelings and dealings of personalities and events in British and mostly Scottish history. The unique style caught the public's imagination when they were published in the early nineteenth century and were very popular. The Waverley novels are credited with establishing the form of the historical novel.

Moyr Smith produced a series of 12 tile designs for Mintons China Works based on the novels. The tiles were first made as 8" square designs (pattern number 1607) in 1878 when they were shown at the Paris Exhibition. Minton's China Works were one of some 55,000 exhibitors at the exhibition which had some 16,000,000 visitors. The 6" series is pattern number 1868 therefore probably introduced in 1882.

These are amongst the best examples of Moyr Smith's work on tiles, the detail, engraving and print quality is oustanding. The design fills the tile, twice as much for your money compared to some circular designs! The colour combination of dark brown, two greys and 'gold' is striking and both printing and glazing quality are excellent. The series gets a special mention in the foreward to the 1885 catalogue:

In some patterns the colours are on the glaze, but in all cases where the Tiles are exposed to much wear, such as for Hearths, &c, the Enamelling Colors are UNDER THE GLAZE, and therefore practically indistructible. ..............

Mr Reynolds, the patentee, who was awarded a medal of the 1st class at the Paris Ezhibition of 1855, and also at Vienna in 1873, has had the management of the process at these Works since 1848, and although other manufacturers have lately adopted it, mostly in it's simpler form, it is not too much to say that noine have produced effects at all equal, for instance, to the Waverley and other series of monochrome pictures.

Spelling and punctuation as original and it should be noted that throughout the catalogue the word monochrome is used erroneously in place of polychrome.


Condition: Very fine
Price: £195 (approx $380)
Ref: 02515

Only a couple of tiny marks and a little slight discolouration in the crazing.

UK Special Delivery £203

US and World Airsure £210

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The image is a little oversize rather than cropped close to the edges so that the edges can easily be seen and any chips etc can be quickly spotted. Other marks described are usually not visible at all when the tile is viewed straight as one normally sees it and can only be seen with a critical eye when the tile is tilted to catch imperfections in reflected light. For more details of how we describe marks see Condition.

The image is full size at 72 dpi (about 430 pixels wide) in maximum quality JPEG format. Customers may request a larger 120 dpi image also in maximum quality JPEG format for closer inspection which will be sent by email.

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