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Covered cup - 'Coupe Limoges and Cover'

'Coupe Limoges and Cover'

  • Object:

    Covered cup

  • Place of origin:

    Stoke-on-Trent (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1858 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lawton, Stephen (painter)
    Minton (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bone china, painted in enamels and gilded

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 13 []

Object Type
This coupe or tazza (footed bowl) and its cover were made entirely for show. Renaissance Revival forms and decoration suggested that the owner was a person of education and taste, and this imitation of French Renaissance enamels, an example of Minton's advanced technology, would impress guests as evidence of superior understanding. It was modelled closley on original examples which the designer could have seen in the Museum's collections. Renaissance Revival design was increasingly popular during the mid-19th century, not least as a result of the teaching in design schools, headed by that at South Kensington.

Design & Designing
Minton's art director, Léon Arnoux (1816-1902), was interested in design and ceramic technology of many periods and cultures. In the late 18th century and the 19th French Renaissance wares became increasingly popular among collectors and museums in France and Britain. Studying actual examples in the South Kensington Museum, private collections and printed design sources, Minton's Limoges enamel style ceramics successfully captured the flavour of the originals. Some were precise copies of work by enamellists such as Pierre Reymond and Jean de Court, while others simply used Limoges-style motifs. This example was known as 'Coupe Limoges and Cover' in the factory's records, ornament design number 692. The Sèvres tazza and cover in the style of Pierre Reymond in the Museum's collections (museum no. 4756-1858) is of a similar but not identical form to the Minton coupe.

Materials & Making
While the enamels made in the Limoges area, and elsewhere, were painted in enamels onto copper, the Minton copies were entirely ceramic. On an earthenware or bone china body, the ornament was painted in raised layers of bone china paste on a dark blue or brown ground and highly glazed. It was very specialised work, undertaken by some of Minton's most skilled artists. Time-consuming and therefore expensive, the production was small and made only between about 1855 and 1875.

Léon Arnoux was art director at Minton from about 1849 until his death. After leaving Paris in1848 as political unrest escalated, he travelled around the Staffordshire potteries and was employed by Herbert Minton, of Stoke-on-Trent. Through Minton he became a friend of Henry Cole (1808-1882), first Director of the South Kensington Museum (which later became the V&A). Arnoux was a designer and chemist and was deeply interested in all branches of the ceramic arts and their history. His contribution to Minton's success at international exhibitions and in their art production especially cannot be overestimated. He was responsible for improvements to the ceramic body, the ovens, the colours and glazes, and he introduced majolica, Limoges enamel wares, Henry II wares and other Minton specialities. Almost nothing is known of Stephen Lawton, the painter who signed this coupe, except that he worked for Minton between about 1850 and 1860.

Physical description

Covered cup of bone china painted with grotesques, term figures, foliage, festoons and scrollwork in the manner of a French Renaissance tazza painted on copper from Limoges. The cover is domed with an onion-shaped knop and the stepped-profile tazza bowl is supported by an urn-shaped stem on a domed foot. The form resembles Limoges tazze made by the Jean Court dit Vigier and Pierre Reymond workshops and Limoges enamelling revival forms made by Sevres in 1850s. Signed 'SL' for Stephen Lawton, painter, and gilded.

Place of Origin

Stoke-on-Trent (made)


ca. 1858 (made)


Lawton, Stephen (painter)
Minton (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Bone china, painted in enamels and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

Mark: 'Minton & Co Stoke upon Trent' and signed 'SL'
'SL' are the initials of the painter, Stephen Lawton.


Height: 25.5 cm, Width: 18.7 cm, Diameter: 11.2 cm base

Object history note

Painted by Stephen Lawton (active about 1850-1860); made by Minton & Co., Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Descriptive line

Cup and cover, bone china, painted in the style of a sixteenth-century Limoges painted enamel tazza on copper.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

See Object Information file in Ceramics and Glass Section office.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Interest in the work of French, as well as Italian Renaissance masters was widespread in the 19th century. The shape and painted decoration of this dish are fairly free interpretations of 16th-century Limoges enamels from France. The decoration includes Renaissance-style motifs such as the swags of fruit and flowers. [27/03/2003]
Tazza and cover ''Coupe Limoges and Cover''
Painted by Stephen Lawton, made by Minton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, about 1858
Mark: Minton & Co Stoke upon Trent SL', painted
Bone china, painted in enamels


Based on Limoges models by Pierre Reymond. See also related drawings (Minton archive?) and 4756-1858. Minton exbn. cat. no G2 [23/05/2008]


Bone china


Painted; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Grotesques; Squirrels; Scrollwork




Ceramics Collection

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