This is a superb vase made by Minton between 1830 and 1835 and painted with fruits by the famous painter Thomas Steel.


Minton was one of the pioneers of English china production alongside other great potters such as Spode, Davenport, Ridgway, Coalport and others. They were located in Staffordshire and were known specifically for their wonderfully fine white bone china and bright colours; there is a colour called "Minton Blue" which is a fresh azure blue that Minton excelled in. Minton supplied huge quantities of tablewares, tiles, and other items to the USA in the 19th Century; the White House was traditionally supplied with Minton crockery and many great buildings of this era were tiled with Minton tiles.


Thomas Steel (sometimes called Steele) is considered the very best 19th Century porcelain painter of fruits. He was born in Staffordshire in 1772 and was first apprenticed by Wedgwood. He moved to Derby in 1815, where he became the foremost flower and fruit painter. In 1825 he moved on to Rockingham, and a few years later to Minton, where he worked the rest of his life.


Steel had a very recognisable style of fruit painting, perhaps best described by the biographer John Haslem: 


"Steele painted both flowers and insects well, but as a painter of fruit on china he had no superior, if, indeed, he had any equal in his day... His grouping is harmonious, the light and shade well managed, each piece of fruit is well rounded, and the outline softened and blended into the one next to it, each partaking of the reflected colour from the other."


The shape of this vase was called the "scroll footed jar" and it is a typical early Rococo Revival shape. The handles are graciously shaped with scroll details, and the foot has nice indented scrolls. The colour scheme is pristine white with duck egg green and gilt. The vase is covered with raised porcelain flowers and fruits in bright colours. This, together with the deeply coloured fruit paintings, makes this vase is an abundantly colourful object. The inside of the rim has some beautiful intricate gilding, and there are some tiny stray butterflies on the upper neck and lower belly of the vase.


CONDITION REPORT It is hard to overstate how rare it is to find a Minton vase without any structural damage or repairs. The vase has been checked with UV lighting and there is not a single sign of restoration; there are only a few minor chips off the flower petals, as visible in the pictures. There is one small scratch to one of the fruit paintings, in the middle of the green apple. The body of the vase is finely crazed, but still pristinely white. 


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.


There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures.


DIMENSIONS the vase stands 29cm (11.5") high and measures 16.5cm (6.5") between the handles and 10.75cm (4.5") from front to back.


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Superb Minton vase, fruits by Thomas Steel, 1830-1835

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 


    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

  • Cancellations can only be accepted before the item has been shipped. Once an item has been shipped, the transaction cannot be cancelled anymore.

    Returns need to be requested within 2 days of receipt of the item and completed within 14 days from the date they have been agreed in writing.

    If you want to return an item because you changed your mind, you will be responsible for the return shipping. For international deliveries, this will need to be a fully tracked shipping mode. The item is expected to be received back in the same state it was sent - any damage due to insufficient packaging will be your responsibility. We will only pay for return shipping if we have mutually agreed that the item did not satisfy your expectations. A refund will be made immediately after receipt of the item.

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    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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