'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
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.