The Minton Archive is a pre-eminent business and design archive which comprises over 33cubic metres of material. It was saved for the nation in March 2015 as a result of a public campaign led by the Art Fund and is now in the collections of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archives Service.
The Archive includes hundreds of thousands of items – including original designs, drawings and pattern books – covering more than two centuries of groundbreaking pottery design, manufacture and production. Many celebrated artists and designers feature in the Archive, including Augustus Pugin, Christopher Dresser, Thomas Allen, John Bell and Marc-Louis Solon. It also includes the comprehensive records of Minton, Royal Doulton (the two companies merged in 1968) and a number of other firms taken over by Royal Doulton in the 20th century. The archive has been described by ceramic historian Paul Atterbury as ‘’quite simply the greatest 19th century industrial archive in Britain”
The fourteen volumes and one box of designs being conserved in this NMCT-funded project include Early Pattern books and the Ornament books that are in demand from researchers from around the world. The box of design drawings is typical of over 100 such boxes containing designs from artists including Augustus Pugin, Christopher Dresser and Thomas Allen. There is substantial public interest in the archive and it offers nationally important research potential in a number of fields.
This conservation project will inform the development of an accurate programme for the conservation and presentation of the entire collection for which further external funding will be sought.
In view of the importance of this collection, NMCT Trustees awarded a major grant of £24,000 towards this £33,000 project. This grant was made possible thanks to the support of the Pilgrim Trust.
All images are courtesy of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archives Service