William IV Porcelain Desk Thermometer by Minton Potteries, Staffordshire.

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Vendor: Jason Clarke Antiques

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For sale, a rare William IV porcelain desk thermometer with brass scale plate by Minton.

Comprised of a porcelain surround with pillars to either side, and with floral and scalloped rococo type reliefs detailed in gold and gilt. It holds a brass engraved scale plate showing 30 to 100 degrees of Fahrenheit. No further markings are present on the base or on the scale plate to provide guidance to the source of its manufacture.

The confirmation that this is an example of Minton’s early output are recorded in the company’s design books from the period and were discovered again by Geoffrey Godden in the late 1960’s and largely reprinted for his book entitled, “Minton Pottery & Porcelain of the First Period 1793 – 1850”. Prior to Godden’s discovery, many of Minton’s ornamental wares were considered to have been manufactured by other famous potteries of the period. This somewhat unusual piece is entered as design number 35 in 1830 and an image is included of the original sketch.

This unlikely manufacturer of scientific instruments, the famous potteries of Minton in Staffordshire was established in 1793 by Thomas Minton and it from this early period of the company’s history under his stewardship that this fascinating piece derives. Upon the founder’s death in 1836, his son Herbert maintained the company and arguably bought it to a much wider audience with his use of Sevres, Majolica and the company’s much famed tiles, some of which can still be seen incorporated into the flooring at Capitol Hill.

An interesting and rare piece for both the collector of scientific instruments and of early Minton, it is the only example of early ornamental porcelain with a scientific use ever manufactured from this factory. The provider of the scale and thermometer remains sadly unavailable through the source evidence but they would certainly have been bought in from the scientific instrument trade by Minton for later inclusion and the quality of the workmanship is evidence of a capable hand.

An example of this design is also incorporated into the Victorian and Albert Museum Collection.

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