Marc-Louis-Emanuel Solon


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(b Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, 1835; d ?Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, 23 June 1913). French potter, also active in England. From 1862 to 1870 Solon worked at the Sèvres Porcelain Factory, where he perfected the pâte-sur-pâte form of decoration in which successive layers of white porcelain slip are applied in slight relief to the vessel and lightly carved before first firing to achieve a cameo-like effect. The pieces are then glazed and fired again. His subjects—portraits, female figures in diaphanous robes, putti, small animals and birds (e.g. porcelain plaque, 1864; London, V&A)—were drawn from Classical Greece, the Renaissance, 17th- and 18th-century paintings and Victorian postcards. At Sèvres he was allowed to operate as an independent artist, with his own studio and assistants, and would either initial his earlier pieces or sign them with the pseudonym Milès. His vases, trays and plaques, time-consuming to produce, were expensive and were avidly collected. When he fled to England from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 he was employed by the Minton Ceramic Factory in Stoke-on-Trent. He adapted his methods to English parian porcelain, and the pâte-sur-pâte wares he produced for Minton were among their most esteemed products (e.g. vase, 1875; London, V&A). He collected English pottery and wrote a number of books on ceramics, as well as accounts of his own work and techniques. He retired in 1904. His son, Léon-Victor Solon (1872-1957), became the director and chief designer at Minton (1900-09) and then moved to the USA.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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