Thomas Minton (1765 – 1836) was an English potter. He founded Thomas Minton & Sons in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, which grew into a major ceramic manufacturing company with an international reputation.
During the early 1780s Thomas Minton was an apprentice engraver at the Caughley Pottery Works in Shropshire, under the proprietorship of Thomas Turner, working on copperplate engravings for the production of transferwares. The Caughley engraver Thomas Lucas went to work for Josiah Spode at Stoke-on-Trent in 1782, taking some elements of the fashionable chinoiserie patterns with him. At Caughley, it is claimed, Minton worked on the original design of the true willow pattern, and prepared the first copperplates of it.
After Minton left the Caughley works in 1785, variations of the original design were acquired by Spode, Wedgwood, Adams, Davenport and others. Minton, who was married in London in 1789, had his portrait made by James Northcote, R.A.. He was favoured and employed by Josiah Spode, for whom he engraved a new version of the willow pattern. He was assisted by Henry Doncaster of Penkhull: his pupil William Greatbatch (father of William Greatbatch (1802-1885), another notable engraver) became chief engraver for Spode and for the successor company, Copeland's. It is claimed that Minton engraved the popular 'Buffalo' pattern for Spode.
Minton established his own pottery factory in Stoke-upon-Trent in 1793 producing earthenware and from 1798 bone china. His products were standard domestic tableware in blue transfer printed or painted earthenware and china, including the ever-popular willow pattern, and fine ornamental chinaware.
- Sydney B. Williams, Antique Blue and White Spode, 3rd Edn, (Batsford, London 1949), p. 129.
- Robert Copeland, Spode's Willow Pattern, and other designs after the Chinese (Paperback edition, Studio Vista/Cassell, London 1990), p. 8.
- Williams, as above, p. 129; Copeland, as above, p. 14; W.B. Honey, English Pottery and Porcelain (A.C. Black, 1933), p. 190.
- Arthur Hayden, Spode and his Successors (Cassell, London 1925), pp. 62-64.
- L. Jewitt, The Ceramic Art of Great Britain, 2nd Edn (J.S. Virtue, London 1883), p. 396; R. Copeland, as above, p. 116.
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