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Minton Aesthetic Movement Greek Block Print Tile

• Condition: Near perfect
• Price: £80 (approx $121)
• Stock number: 02764

UK Special Delivery £90

EU Priority £94

US and World Priority £98

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A little roughness to the tip of the rim bottom edge, a few minute rim chips, surface near perfect.


• Style: Greek Aesthetic movement
• Technique: Block print
• Maker: Minton, Hollins & Co.
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: 1875 (circa)



A bold design of a genre popular during the arts & crafts movement period block printed in chocolate on buff. One of the oldest designs one is likely to see on a victorian tile with the exception perhaps of the fleur de lys its use recordeded for millenia. This exact design and many similar were more famously made by Mintons (China Works) in the 1870s and 1880s and often erroneously attributed to Christopher Dresser or alternatively under the pressure to attribute to a famous designer Owen Jones. They were made in embossed majolica by Minton & Co/Minton, Hollins & Co. and also printed in many colourways which were later copied by Mintons. The form is of the anthemion or palmette an ancient egyptian-greco-roman palm or shell-like design consistent with the arts & crafts movement use of ancient design themes.

Minton, Hollins & Co. most likely were the originators of the pattern on tile with the caveats as in the following paragraph. Mintons (China Works) copied many designs from Hollins and others and judging by what we see produced more of these than Minton, Hollins & Co. indeed this Hollins example is relatively rare and an interesting tile for the collector of the genre and the Minton companies.

There is no record of Christopher Dresser designing any tiles however at least two of his designs for dados have been copied on tile and another for a flowerpot adapted for tile by Mintons. That many attribute tiles to Dresser in part is founded upon a misreading of an entry in an estimate book which describes a design as "Dresser's Tomtits" which remarkably has been linked to the well known blue tits tile even though that design has apparently been seen described as "little birds" and "grey birds". However in many case the attribution is down to wishful thinking for dealers and collectors alike wish that everything they owned was made and designed by someone famous which makes it more valuable. In writings by Dresser himself, even those post-dating his alleged most famous tile designs, there is no mention of designs for tile and as there are no records where one would expect to find them of Dresser designing tiles it becomes clear that he did not. For an extended discussion see Tiles Designed by Dr Christopher Dresser?.

Anthemion is from the greek for flower and the form is variously attributed to papyrus, palm, acanthus and honeysuckle as the original inspiration but this is so far back in the sands of time (ancient Egypt!) that really most likely is that the variations were representative of different flora and coalesced into this standard form. Clam shells, nautilus shells and ammonites have also been popular design subjects from time immemorial as all early populations lived close to water supplies many near the sea shore and variations of the anthemion design very much clam shell like in form were also popular throughout history.

There are about a couple of dozen examples of anthemion designs in The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, approximately half being of the simple form as this tile. Jones makes no claim to authorship of the designs rather he says that they are "Ornaments from Greek and Etruscan Vases in the British Museum and the Louvre". Furthermore Jones states that "....the drawings have been chiefly executed by my pupils Mr Albert Warren and Mr Charles Aubert...."

The volume contains but a single plate of designs by Dresser in the Leaves and Flowers from Nature section. The most singular plate in the volume in that for the most part the designs are stylised by symmetry and geometry but at no time so removed from nature that the source can not be quickly recognised.

Verso very clean embossed Minton, Hollins etc.


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