A Siamese Cupid: an exceptional Minton Pâte-sur-pâte bottle vase and cover by Mark Louis Solon, circa 1901-2

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Lot 519
A Siamese Cupid: an exceptional Minton Pâte-sur-pâte bottle vase and cover by Mark Louis Solon, circa 1901-2

Sold for £ 30,000 (US$ 37,898) inc. premium
A Siamese Cupid: an exceptional Minton Pâte-sur-pâte bottle vase and cover by Mark Louis Solon, circa 1901-2
Of 'Siamese Bottle' shape with a flattened heart-shaped body with a modelled tubular neck and wide, circular base, decorated in white pâte-sur-pâte on a slate-blue ground with a seated Siamese woman dressed in exquisite costume, a Cupid represented as a child held in her hands, naked except for a mokot or pointed headdress, the scene watched over by temple lions against a ground of leafy foliage, signed L Solon, on the reverse a dancing Siamese child holds a bow and arrow, the neck, sides and foot of the vase enriched with raised-paste gilding, 38cm high, gold globe mark (cover restored), sold together with a book, discussed below (3)

Footnotes

  • Provenance: The Godden Reference Collection, bought at Sotheby's 14 April 1992, lot 448. In May 1901, when Louis Solon created this piece, he was at the pinnacle of his career. In the same year he spent eight months working on perhaps his greatest achievement, the monumental Spartan Girls Wrestling before King Lycurgus vase. By comparison, the 'Siamese Cupid' vase took 7 days of work by Solon to create the detailed panel. Early in his career Solon designed ceramic shapes and he continued to be involved in developing the unique vase forms that Minton created for his pâte-sur-pâte decoration. This 'Siamese Bottle' shape was Solon's own design.

    In 1903 Minton re-published an article Solon had written for The Studio magazine in 1894. The re-printed book was illustrated with artwork by John Wadsworth and photographs of some of Solon's recent masterpieces. The 'Siamese Cupid' bottle vase was chosen as the frontispiece, curiously illustrated using a photograph of the piece in its unfinished state, without gilding. A copy of this rare book is sold with the present lot. The following year in 1904 the completed vase was sent by Minton to be displayed at the St Louis Exhibition. The Royal Commission's report on the exhibition noted ...' Mr Solon shows us a group of a woman and child in the style of the bas reliefs on the walls of the ancient Cambodian temples. One may see in them a representation of those deities who, in the Indian mythology, correspond to the Venus and Cupid of classical times'.

    In spite of still receiving praise at St Louis, Minton requested that Solon should retire in 1904, although they continued to commission work from him, completed at his home until 1909. When interviewed by the Pottery Gazette in 1906, Solon was asked what he considered to be his most effective works. Solon replied 'If the whole of my productions were doomed to be destroyed, and I was asked to point out a few specimens that, in my estimation, deserved to be spared, it is from the works made at Minton during my last years there that I would unhesitatingly make my selection'. Bernard Bumpus, quoting this passage in his Pâte-sur-pâte book (1992), p. 142, suggests that although Solon didn't specify which pieces he had in mind, his choice would have included the 'Spartan Girls' vase and the 'Siamese Cupid' bottle. Bumpus illustrates both pieces in his own book, colour pls. XXIII and XXIV.
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A Siamese Cupid: an exceptional Minton Pâte-sur-pâte bottle vase and cover by Mark Louis Solon, circa 1901-2
A Siamese Cupid: an exceptional Minton Pâte-sur-pâte bottle vase and cover by Mark Louis Solon, circa 1901-2
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