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Mintons Secessionist Léon-Victor Solon Transfer Printed Tile

Condition: Very fine
Price: £110 (approx $154)
Ref: 02445B

UK (Special Delivery) £120

EU (Priority Mail) £124

US and World (Priority Mail) £128

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A little roughness top edge, very few very light surface marks, a little wear to the print mostly near the top right corner.


• Style: Secessionist
• Technique: Transfer print
• Maker: Mintons
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: 1896 (registered)


An absolutely fascinating design and in a most unusual colour too having a sense of 'arts & crafts movement style' and secessionist precursor to art nouveau.. Full of movement the curvaceous lines have a whimsical sexiness to them, the increasing size and development of the flowers as they rise captures natural appeal. One of the most modern designs that Mintons ever produced being registered in the last few months of 1896, despite that it is still a rarely found design. From the Léon-Victor Solon era at Mintons introduced the year following his joining the company, to my mind Mintons' greatest period.

The flow of the leaves has some of the 'whiplash' feel characteristic of art nouveau yet has elements of random aesthetic style of patterns from the mid 1870s, like pattern numbers 1536, 1537 and 1538 found in the Mintons catalogue. The probably honeysuckle flowers are also not so disimilar to wavy line honeysuckle ornaments found on ancient greek vases. An interesting mix of influences combining to give an innovative and modern design.

The colour is also most unusual a rather deep orange rather than red. All shades of red have always been difficult to reproduce in ceramics in particular achieving a red stable enough to withstand the higher temperatures of underglaze firing. It may be noted that William de Morgan produced neither underglaze or inglaze red only making red as lustre. This is overglaze printed indicating that even in 1896 it was necessary to decorate overglaze to achieve this particular shade. Mintons were leaders in printing technology it is very rare to find overglaze printing by them, so it appears that the process was selected in order to achieve the colour, other unusual colours appear on the few varieties of similar designs of the period.

Early for art nouveau design and a good one for debating the merits of its style for my research and objéts indicate 1898 as the presumptive earliest date for industrially made art nouveau, This perhaps best described as a forward looking arts & crafts floral design anticipating or a precursor to art nouveau, certainly very stylised and coincides with Léon Solon's arrival at Mintons when there was a rebirth in its tile making and to my mind they produced their greatest tiles.

Léon Solon joined Mintons in 1895 as a designer and virtually coincided with their making tiles in the modern majolica technique indeed from thenceforth majolica was the predominent technique for new designs. Majolica of course is limited in the fine detail that can be achieved, printing enabled a much finer line and more of a unity of colour.

Solon was hired by Mintons after his work was published in the hugely influential design magazine The Studio, he worked for the company until 1905 including for five years as Art Director. Solon was strongly influenced by the Viennese Secessionist art movement, founded by Gustav Klimt and others, and Mintons produced a range of "Secessionist Ware" much of which was designed by Solon.

Versos embossed Mintons etc slightly indistinct due to a well worn back plate, partial/indistinct printed pattern and design registration numbers, some clay loss from water-based adhesive.

Condition: Fine
Price: £100 (approx $140)
Ref: 02445E

UK (Special Delivery) £110

EU (Priority Mail) £114

US and World (Priority Mail) £118

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Very few minute marks, minor marks to the print mostly due to manufacturing uncertainties rather than wear.

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