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Fraternal Embrace

Artist: Minton (Stoke-on-Trent, England)
Year: October 1865
Medium: Parian, Shape 426
Size: Height - 13”, Length - 13”
Original Location: Grand Salon
2014.03.14 BMA Purchase

Minton is considered the most important maker of Parian. An example of Victorian sentimentality, appealing especially to a woman like Adelicia who had lost multiple children. The original location is documented by a period photo in Belmont’s collection.

In simple terms Parian is a highly vitrified bisque porcelain. Vitrification is where elements in the clay melt to form a hard surface. Minton was the first company to market this porcelain with the name Parian around 1845. Other companies were using the name statuary porcelain. Parian was named after the white marble of Paros. It is impossible today to say who and when Parian was discovered, invented or develop. Copeland was experimenting with producing improved bisque in the early 1840s. The Art Union Magazine wrote in 1846 about the new statuary porcelain’s “lustrous” and transparent qualities. The writer felt it rival the best alabaster. The major improvement over bisque besides its looks was its durability. Unlike bisque and to a less extent marble it was impervious to moisture and dirt. The second firing of the statue produced a finish that could be cleaned with soap and water.

Minton had already been making figures in biscuit since the mid-1820s. The first shape list for Minton was published in 1852 with a second list in 1859. Judging by the shape number of 426 Fraternal Embrace would have started production in 1865. The inspirations for these statues were drawn from many sources including classical art, 18th century sculptures and contemporary English and French sculptures. Major artist were commissioned to produce models for Minton and other Parian makers. The artist for Fraternal Embrace is unknown.

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