A view of CHELSEA space from the outside

CHELSEA space is a public exhibiting space where invited art and design professionals are encouraged to work on experimental curatorial projects that may not otherwise be realised.

The emphasis is on curatorial experimentation, the exposure of process and ideas, and re-readings of artworks and archives and their re-presentation for contemporary audiences. CHELSEA space is a platform for discussion and questions rather than definitive answers.

CHELSEA space is sited on the Millbank campus of Chelsea College of Arts, next to Tate Britain, and provides extra-curricular interest for the school and open access to the widest possible audiences.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Wednesday - Friday, 11am - 5pm

Admission charges


Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Detail of the printed mark found on the base of an early Mintons Secessionist example from the Alessandra and Simon Wilson collection.

The Democratic Dish: Mintons Secessionist Ware

  • 19 September — 26 October 2018 *on now

Mintons was a British ceramic company established in 1793. From c1901-1916 they produced a range of pottery called Secessionist Ware, designed by John W. Wadsworth under the art directorship of Léon Victor Solon. The stylised floral and foliage designs constitute a major British contribution to the international style of Art Nouveau. However, Solon and Wadsworth named the collection after the leading European Art Nouveau grouping of the time, the Vienna Secession, whose first international exhibition had been held in Vienna in 1898. The use of industrial manufacturing methods meant the Mintons Secessionist range was more accessible to the popular market than other smaller studio or hand-made pottery.

This exhibition of chargers, toilet ware, vases, pedestals, flower holders, candlesticks, jardinières, a cheese stand, plates and other utilitarian wares, alongside archival material from the Minton Archive, will demonstrate the innovative approach to colour that Léon Solon contributed to the Secessionist range, combined with John Wadsworth’s designs of often radical abstractions from plant forms. The exhibition will also examine Wadsworth's advocacy for the decorative arts, highlighting both Solon and Wadsworth’s contribution to British design between 1900-1915.

Artist Biographies:

Léon Victor Solon (1873-1957)
Léon Victor Solon was artistic director of Mintons between 1895-1905. Son of Marc Louis Solon, grandson of Léon Arnoux (both employed by Mintons). Studied at Hanley School of Art, and then in 1894 at the Government School of Design at South Kensington (which became the Royal College of Art). After moving to the US, Solon developed a career as a designer of architectural ceramics, nick-named ‘Prince Polychromy’, his designs included the colour scheme for Rockefeller Centre’s sculptural decorations.

John W. Wadsworth (1879-1955)
Apprenticed as a silk designer, he attended classes at Macclesfield School of Art. in 1898 Wadsworth won a National Scholarship to the Royal College of Art where he studied under Walter Crane, Lethaby and Pike. Named Senior Scholar and awarded a travelling scholarship, Wadsworth spent several months in Paris in 1899. In 1901 he was appointed assistant art director at Mintons, and was appointed Art Director when Solon left Mintons in 1905. In 1915 he went to work for the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company as Art Director where he stayed until 1931. He was at Mintons again from 1935 until his death in 1955.

The Minton Archive
The Minton Archive was presented to the city of Stoke-on-Trent on 31 March 2015 by the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) with substantial support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and significant additional donations from Staffordshire County Council, The Pilgrim Trust, the Bamford Charitable Foundation, the bet365 Foundation (Denise Coates Foundation), William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust and many other generous supporters.

The Democratic Dish: Mintons Secessionist Ware would not have been possible without the generosity and encouragement of Simon Wilson, and the support of the staff at the Minton Archive, Stoke-on-Trent City Archives, including Chris Latimer, Andrew Dawson and Mrs M. Lewis. The curator would like to acknowledge Arts Council England for additional funding support for this exhibition.

Preview: Tuesday 18 September, 6-8.30pm
Exhibition Continues: 19 September – 26 October 2018

Tuesday to Friday, 11am-5pm and by appointment

Suitable for

  • Any age




Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street
Greater London




020 7514 6983

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