|Welcome to the Minton study collection
based exclusively on examples from the Minton factory, designed to
show the development of English ceramics across the 19th century,
on into the early decades of the 20th century.
The Cumming Collection began, innocently enough, with the purchase
by Robert and Marian Cumming of a decorative pair of Sèvres-style
vases, vaguely described by the antique dealer as `Continental'. With
a bit of research, they turned out to be English, mid-19th century,
made by Minton. Five years later, a chance bid at a 1983 auction yielded
a magnificent, `Continental', Sèvres-style plate which also
proved to be by Minton. However, this prize became identified as part
of a dinner service ordered for the wedding of Edward, Prince of Wales,
and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
The Service is in the
Queen's collection in Sandringham.
Bob was now hooked on collecting English porcelain and he decided
to concentrate on the 19th century, specializing in the early production
of the Minton factory. There were knowledge gaps which offered the
challenge of historical research, and he pursued this vigorously in
parallel with building the study collection.
At the same time as Bob was establishing a comprehensive picture of
Minton's first period bone china, the time-frame of the Collection
began to widen as interesting pieces were acquired.
As the Collection began to outgrow display and storage space and as
Bob wanted to see it preserved and utilized for public education,
an agreement was reached for the donation of a representative number
of pieces to the Gardiner
Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto, Canada. About three hundred
examples are now in the Museum and they are accessible to researchers
and serious collectors, on application to the Curator of the Museum.
Also, thirty pieces have been donated to the Winnipeg Art Museum
and another thirty to
historical Earnscliffe, the Ottawa Residence of the British High
Cumming Ceramic Research Foundation was established to provide
an annual international scholarship, research grants and financial
support for public education at the Gardiner Museum.
Some 19th century ceramics are scarcely covered in the study collection,
e.g. pâte-sur-pâte and majolica. Display and storage space
is limited at the Gardiner Museum and in the Cumming private collection,
and examples are readily available in other public and private collections.