Christopher Dresser (British, 18341904)
Earthenware; 8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 cm)
Gift of Robert L. Isaacson, 1991 (1991.110.2)
This tile depicts flying cranes, the Japanese symbol for longevity, above stylized waves in white on a deep blue ground. Dresser clearly looked to Japanese sources for inspiration and artistic guidance. The composition of the tile relates directly to a Japanese blue and white ceramic flowerpot, circa 1860, that was exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition in London and later acquired by the South Kensington Museum (now Victoria and Albert Museum).
Dresser's role as art advisor to Minton Ceramic Factory from the early 1860s remains unclear; however, as a free-lance artist, he created a multitude of designs for the firm, although he seems to have had little control over the final product. While none of the pieces made by Minton bear Dresser's signature, this tile can be firmly identified as his design based on drawings in the company archives.