DescriptionA Monumental Mintons Partial Gilt Pâte-sur-Pâte The Planning of the Journey Urn by Marc-Louis Solon, England, 1895-1900
Marks: inscribed to body L. Solon, Minton; marked in gilt to underside (crown-globe-MINTONS), ENGLAND and stamped (X-dot), (partially effaced swan), M, MINTONS
23-1/2 x 8-3/4 inches (59.7 x 22.2 cm)
Property from the Collection of the Birks Museum, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois
The monumental urn of baluster form, the slender cylindrical neck topped by wide mouth, enriched with gilt stylized reeded neck and stylized bands of anthemion, lotus blossoms, and scrollwork, flanked by gilt divided serpentine scroll-handles that meet the wide shoulder in acanthus-adorned terminals, the body finely painted with a continuous pâte-sur-pâte scene in white slip, raised on a conforming socle and square base decorated with gilt bands of scrollwork.
Marc-Louis Solon, the most renowned of the pâte-sur-pâte artists, masterfully executed the elaborate central frieze The Planning of the Journey. On the front, a group of cherubs and a slim Neoclassical figure -possibly a shepherd based on the greaves and crook - examine a globe in the shade of a flowing ivy tree. Hammered to the tree trunk is a manicule, a symbol of a pointing hand used since the Medieval period to direct viewers' attention. If we follow the direction of the sign, our gaze is led left to a group of putti preparing cargo on the shores for an upcoming journey. On the verso, ancient Greek ships sail while putti sound trumpets in the foreground. The story ends on the other side of the ivy tree, where putti with baskets gather fruits and vegetables, the abundance of a new land.
The story would have continued on the urn's companion piece, The Arrival. An imaginative and playful blend of Renaissance, Classical and the fantastical, this urn was meant to spark conversation by challenging viewers to unravel the references within. The engaging story coupled with the delicate translucency of Solon's pâte-sur-pâte make this an excellent example of his work.
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