Purchase, Gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Luke Vincent Lockwood, Sidney H. and Helen M. Witty, Mrs. Roger Starr and Julien A. Garbat, Louise Rorimer Dushkin and James J. Rorimer, by exchange, and funds from various donors, 2000
In the mid-Victorian era there was great interest in the decorative styles of the sixteenth century, which is reflected in many fields and even in women's fashions. The leading firm of Mintons made copies of the rare sixteenth-century French court ceramics then known as "Henri II" ware. Such copies were first produced by Leon Arnoux, the factory's French art director. In the late 1860s Toft, a member of a line of prominent seventeenth-century potters, turned out exact reproductions at Mintons of sixteenth century models, with dark clay ornament inlaid on a white body-the equivalent of niello on silver-and also larger, original works. The latter, very much to contemporary taste in form, utilized a second technique practiced at the "Henri II" workshop, now almost universally recognized as having been at Saint-Porchaire, a village in Poitou.
This second technique consisted of painting on the surface of the white body with colored stains, which were then given brilliance by a clear lead glaze. While the shape of this potpourri is orientalizing, the symmetrical decorationis taken with little adaptation from Saint-Porchaire orginals, including the repeated H around the foot, a reference to the king found on numerous pieces of the earlier period.
[Jessie McNab, 2000]
Marking:  C. Toft;  Minton & Co. / 1871
The Minton Works Museum Stoke-on-Trent (until 1999; Sotheby's, London, November 8, 1999 , lot 69; sold to MMA)