Each finely painted and hand-tooled in white slip, one vase depicting maidens using swords to free winged putti emblematic of Love from eggs, the other vase depicting maidens unearthing putti emblematic of Love from beds of roses and trapping them in cages and covered vessels, the necks and lower bodies with stylized vases, bell-flowers, caducei, rinceaux and shells in white slip against various polychrome slips, flanked by loop handles embellished in gilt and platinum and terminating in flowerhead roundels
1678 in. (42.9 cm.) high
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.
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Lot Essay

A sketch dating between 11 December 1880 and 11 January 1881 in Louis Solon's illustrated journal entitled 'Les Oeufs' corresponds to the present pair of vases. Solon is not known to have repeated the designs on any of his major works. The journal also notes that Solon worked on the vases for a remarkable 25 days, with a two-day pause in the middle for the Christmas holiday.

The celebrated ceramics artist Marc Louis Solon came to England in late 1870 following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. The Minton factory had, under the directorship of Léon Arnoux, acquired a reputation for attracting the most skilled craftsmen from leading porcelain factories on the Continent. Solon enjoyed a long and successful association with the Minton factory producing some of the manufactory's most memorable pieces, including numerous works displayed at the great expositions of the late 19th century. As U.S. Commissioner Blake observed in his Reports of the United States Commissioners to the House of Representatives following the 1878 Paris Exposition Universelle, three years prior to the present vases' completion, Solon's "work is incomparably superior to that of any of his imitators, far surpassing in art value the best examples of figure subjects from the kilns of Sèvres. He alone fully and satisfactorily unites skill in the technique of paste and glaze and the genius of sculptor and designer. His favourite subjects, as is well known, are the female form, Cupids and cherubs. He delights in illustrating the pranks Cupid plays with the hearts of maidens." For an exhaustive discussion of Solon's work at Minton, see B. Bumpus, Pâte-sur-Pâte, London, 1992, pp. 100-151.

For a pair of vases in the same shape, also with polychrome necks and socles and scenes of maidens unearthing putti, see J. Jones, Minton: The First 200 Years of Design and Production, Shrewsbury, 1993, p. 201.

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