Pâte-sur-pâte is a French term meaning “paste on paste” and is a method of porcelain decoration where a relief design is created on an unfired, unglazed body by applying successive layers of white slip (or liquid clay) with a brush. It dates back to 1850 in France, when an accident occurred at the Sevres porcelain factory. The company was trying to reproduce a decorative technique from a Chinese vase, but during the interpretation the experiment embarked on a very different path from the Chinese potter. They perfected what became known as pâte-sur-pâte.
Five pieces of Minton pâte-sur-pâte porcelain were offered at a Fall Decorative & Fine Arts Sale held Sept. 20th, 2016 by Bunch Auctions in Chadds Ford, Pa., to include the pair of Marc-Louis Solon decorated vases and covers shown here. The vases sailed past their estimate of $8,000-$16,000 to sell for $31,625. It was Solon who perfected the pâte-sur-pâte technique and for most of his working life he was its leading exponent. The French potter Taxile Doat was the first person to use the pâte-sur-pâte technique in the United States, in the early 20th century.