Marc-Louis Solon (1835-1913) was the most celebrated pâte-sur-pâte artist in the world. The pâte-sur-pâte technique, a ceramic invention of the 19th century without precedent, involves building layers of ceramic slip into sculptural relief and fashioning them to produce an effect like antique cameo. Solon began working with this material after joining Sèvres in 1857, and by 1862 he was recognized as one of the leading pâte-sur-pâte artists in the manufactory, renowned for the technical achievements he had made. It would seem that Léon Arnoux, the innovative French art director at Minton, was eager to recruit Solon to his team of artists and designers during the 1860s; he would have been keen to develop the use of the pâte-sur-pâte technique not using porcelain, as employed at Sèvres, but the new Parian body which suited it even better. But it was not until after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war and the evacuation of Sèvres in 1870 that Solon was to leave France. He joined Minton in September of that year, and was quickly established in his own workshop, with his own assistants. At the International Exhibition held in London in 1871, Minton's display included examples of Solon's pâte-sur-pâte which were highly commended. He spent the rest of his career at the factory and continued to experiment with bodies and colours, and to teach his assistants, some of whom became almost as adept as the master himself.
These two vases can confidently be dated to the earliest part of Solon's work with Minton. They both carry an impressed and printed 'Minton' mark - this changed to 'Mintons' in 1873. They both have white Parian bodies overlaid with coloured Parian slip whereas Solon soon developed a range of colours that he used to tint the body throughout. Solon was in the habit of designing vases in pairs, usually with contrasting or complementary subject matter: here the subjects would appear to be Amity and Discord or Love and War. The vase decorated with Discord is signed with Solon's caligraphic monogram, which he had also used while working at Sèvres. Perhaps to stress the point that this vase is not a product of the French factory he has, unusually, included the word 'Minton' in the paste alongside his monogram. While the monogram still occasionally appeared until the late 1870s, from around 1873 he generally signed his work L. Solon.