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Chestnut dish

  • Place of origin:

    Stoke-on-Trent (made)

  • Date:

    1855 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Minton, Hollins & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lead-glazed earthenware, with metal heater

  • Museum number:

    3568 to B-1857

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 2 []

Object Type

This dish and spoon feature realistically moulded half-open chestnuts and leaves. The rich brown and green majolica glazes add to the realism, while the brilliant blue interior and pink ribbon wound around the spoon all add to its attractiveness. The use of decoration to indicate the function of the piece was a Victorian pre-occupation. The development of these rich, natural coloured glazes made this all the more possible. The arrival of roasted chestnuts at the table in such a dish would unmistakably be a treat and generate admiring comments from guests.

Materials & Making

Among the many forms of Renaissance ceramics that interested Léon Arnoux (1816-1902), art director at the Minton ceramic factory, was 16th-century tin-glazed painted Italian maiolica. Although Arnoux did produce tin-glazed, painted wares in the style of Italian ceramics, what is now known as majolica was a range of brightly coloured low-temperature glazes launched in 1849 as 'Palissy Ware'. Only later did these become known as majolica ware. By the 1880s this name was commonly applied to all such ware, whether made by Minton or not. This colourful, popular ware is one of the most typical types of Victorian ceramics.


Léon Arnoux was art director at Minton from about 1849 until his death. After leaving Paris in 1848, as political unrest escalated there, he travelled around the Staffordshire potteries and was employed by Herbert Minton (1793-1858) at Stoke-on-Trent. Through Minton he became a friend of Henry Cole (1808-1882), first Director of the South Kensington Museum (now 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 the glazes. He also introduced majolica, 'Henry II' wares and other Minton specialities.

Physical description

Chestnut dish; earthenware;

Place of Origin

Stoke-on-Trent (made)


1855 (made)


Minton, Hollins & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Lead-glazed earthenware, with metal heater

Marks and inscriptions

Impressed date stamp for 1855

Object history note

Manufactured by Minton & Co., Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Descriptive line

Chestnut dish; earthenware; Minton & Co; Britain; 1857.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This serving dish has a metal insert that can be heated to keep roast chestnuts hot. The dish is decorated with nuts and chestnut leaves and the spoon is in the shape of a chestnut branch. These popular, brightly coloured lead glazes and naturalistic forms were first launched at the 1851 Great Exhibition under the name 'Palissy Ware'. [27/03/2003]
Chestnut dish and spoon 'Majolica ware'
made by Minton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 1855
Mark: date symbol for 1855, impressed
Lead-glazed earthenware

3568-1857 [23/05/2008]


Images Online; Earthenware; Ceramics; Eating; Food vessels and Tableware; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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