Object of the month: The Hizen Vase folio

When the folder of designs was discovered in the Minton Archives, which was acquired with Art Fund's help, a mystery began: to discover which company they belonged to, and what they were for.

The records the folio was discovered in are part the archive collection of Royal Doulton plc, preserving the records of more than twenty companies. The folio contained two sets of numbered illustrations, some marked with 'not for use in the Hizen vase', as well as a page of border designs, including a small drawing of the Hizen vase's shape. There were no other references to 'Hizen' in the Minton company catalogue.

The illustrations themselves appear to have been designed to overlap, with the outline shapes in one of the two sets mirrored in the other, as if prepared for matching objects. Solving the puzzle of these 21 pieces was made more difficult by their intended output. The consistent numbering was especially helpful with the relationship between the illustrations.

The 'Hizen vase' has been found and is currently on display in an important New York Aesthetic Movement house.

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