Louis Marc Emmanuel Solon


SOLON, Louis Marc Emmanuel (1835-1913), pottery artist, Stoke upon Trent. 

Louis Marc Emmanuel Solon was born in Montauban, Tarn et Garonne, France, in 1835. Ill health prevented his studying law as expected and he attended the Atelier of Lecoq de Boisbaudrant, Paris. Some of his etchings were published while he was at Lecoq's studio and this led to his joining the Sevres Pottery, where he experimented with the pate-sur-pate process. A vase thus decorated was the Sevres entry in the 1867 International Exhibition. 

Solon moved to Minton's, Stoke upon Trent, just before the Prussians besieged Paris in 1870. There he was encouraged by Colin Minton Campbell to continue with his pate-sur-pate work. He and the assistants he trained produced many items which are now acknowledged masterpieces, including Queen Victoria's Jubilee Vase. 

Solon's decoration has been described as 'a curious blend of fantasy, Renaissance and Classical styles and discreet eroticism'. 

Louis Marc Emmanuel Solon retired in 1904 but continued with his artistic work and his hobbies. He 
assembled a large collection of pottery, especially salt-glaze ware. He wrote a number of books on pottery and amassed a collection of works on ceramic history of over 3,500 volumes. His published works include 'A Brief Account of Pate-sur-Pate' and 'The Art of the Old English Potter'. 


The inscription on the opening plate of ' The Art of the Old English Potter' is dedicated to Colin Minton Campbell:


To what you have done to
promote the improvement of pottery in England
the world at large will bear testimony:
If the author of this imperfect essay presumes to dedicate it
to you, it is only as 
a tribute of personal respect, and an acknowledgment,
however inadequate,
of many favours received at your hands.



About 1873 Solon married Maria, daughter of Leon Arnoux, the art director of Minton's, and they had eight sons and one daughter. The family lived at No. 1, The Villas, Stoke upon Trent, where he died in June 1913.

No. 1, The Villas, Stoke upon Trent, home of Louis Solon
No. 1, The Villas, Stoke upon Trent, home of Louis Solon
This house (and others) in the Villas are listed buildings.


1881 census:

Dwelling: 1 The Villas
Census Place: Stoke Upon Trent, Staffordshire, England


Marr | Age | Sex

  Birthplace Occupation
Louis Mark SOLON  M 45 M Head Montailban, France Artist At Mintons (Potters)
Maria A. L. SOLON  M 36 F Wife Toulouse, France  
Leon Albert V. SOLON  U 8 M  Son Stoke On Trent Scholar
Andre Henri SOLON  U 7 M Son Stoke On Trent Scholar
Mark Ferdinand SOLON  U 5 M  Son Stoke On Trent Scholar
Camille A. SOLON  U 4 M  Son Stoke On Trent Scholar
Gilbert Charles SOLON  U 2 M  Son Stoke On Trent  
Marie Claire S. SOLON  U 2 m F Daughter Stoke On Trent  
Kate SWEENY  U 31 F  Servant Clogheen, Ireland Nurse (D)
Elizabeth HUMPHREYS  U 24 F Servant Henrya Cook
Ann SMITH  U 22 F  Servant Discoyd, Radnorshire, Wales House Maid

He and his wife Maria, who died in October 1910, were buried in Hartshill cemetery. As Roman Catholics they were buried in the 1st Class RC area of the cemetery. 


The Roman Catholic 1st class area
The Roman Catholic 1st class area

Louis Marc Emmanuel Solon -
Leon Arnoux
Louisa Wilmot Campbell


Colin Minton Campbell's wife, Louisa, converted to Catholicism and so she was not buried in the family vault but here in this small Roman Catholic 1st class area.

Take a tour of
Hartshill Cemetery



His son Leon Victor Solon was art director of Minton's 1900-9. 

Solon had sold his collection of pottery at a sale held in the salerooms of Charles Butters in Hanley from 26th to 28th November 1912, and after his death his library was sold to the Central School of Science and Technology, later the North Staffs. Technical College and the North Staffs. Polytechnic. (The collection is now, 2000, in the archive library, Hanley).

The pate-sur-pate process for which Solon is chiefly remembered, involved laying slip on to a Parian clay body which had been coloured by metallic oxides. The slip is applied in successive coats. Then the piece is scraped, smoothed, carved and incised by iron chisels. Solon often spent 50 hours or more on the decoration of an individual piece.

SOURCES: P Atterbury, The Story of Minton; Census 1881; The Connoisseur vol. xxxv, Jan.-April 1913; G. Godden, Victorian Porcelain; Pottery and Class Magazine March 1951; Pottery Gazette 1 March 1906; Staffs. Sentinel 23 June1913; The Art of the Old English Potter; People of the Potteries; A Dobraszczyc notes.

last updated: 6 Sept 2003