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Mayflower – Gill Pemberton, Denby

Mayflower Design, Gill Pemberton, Denby

Denby Mayflower (stamped Langley Mill) was designed for the American market by Gill Pemberton at Langley Mill, Nottinghamshire in 1964 while she was pregnant with her first child.

Its “homespun” quality was immediately popular. The plates and bowls of Mayflower have an upright spray of 3 flowers in yellow, brown, orange and grey. To me the Mayflower design stands out immediately as one by Gill Pemberton.

It was the first of several other similar stylised floral patterns including Sherwood, Canterbury and Chatsworth for which Glynn Colledge designed the patterns on Gill Pemberton’s Mayflower forms.

Each had a typically Denby glaze with stylised and hand painted floral decoration on the plates and bowls. Other companies tried to emulate many of the Denby designs of this time, but none matched the design integrity and artistry of the Denby hand painted originals.

The forms for these series had dark brown ribbed coffee pots and the jugs had an unusual projecting side handle – a further evolution of the side handle Gill had used on some pieces in her Chevron series.

Mayflower Design - Gill Pemberton

Mayflower Design – Gill Pemberton – Denby

Denby Mayflower Coffee Pot – Gill Pemberton

Mayflower Cup - Gill Pemberton, Denby

Mayflower Cup – Gill Pemberton, Denby

Mayflower Teapot - Gill Pemberton - Denby

Mayflower Teapot – Gill Pemberton – Denby

Mayflower Backstamp - Langley Mill

Mayflower Backstamp – Langley Mill

The following interesting background comes from the Wikipedia page for Langley Mill Pottery – it is worth having a look at the whole history of the Langley site which has been well written and put together. Read more

Agincourt, Crown Clarence

Agincourt Design by Jon Anton, Crown Clarence, Staffordshire

The simple but catching design with its Celtic cross is stamped to the base “Agincourt”, Jon Anton. It is a design that pops up now and then, but doesn’t seem to have been produced in large numbers.

The crown on the backstamp of these pieces is the makers mark for “Crown Clarence”. Research tells me that this was one of the brands produced by “The Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd”, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. This maker produced a number of brands including “Windsor” and “Crown Clarence”.

This design is attributed to the 1960s, and came in a dark green and dark blue variation as well. It is slip cast stoneware pottery, and relatively light weight. As you can see the relief design of the stylised Celtic cross stands out more on some pieces better than others. Love the shape of the lidded sugar bowl. Read more

Yamasan Japan, Modernist Ikebana Vases

Yamasan Modernist Ikebana Vases Japan

I love the forms and decoration of these Modernist Japanese Ikebana vases. The maker is “Yamasan”, Japan – but to date I have not been able to find out much about this maker.

There are currently a number of businesses in Japan with this name, but none of them I can see have a history as a ceramics producer.

The Yamasan factory seemed to have a good export market for its wares, going by the amount of pottery still in circulation around the world. They produced a variety of wares including dinnerware, utilitarian and decorative pieces, some stamped “made in occupied Japan”

The most well known and popular designs from Yamasan today though are these stunning Ikebana vases,  which look to be from the 1950s or 1960s.

The glaze is an iron rich one which has a grainy, bark like texture, with fantastic rust coloured, heavily textured runs. They are such architectural forms as well – reminding me of little modernist or brutalist dwellings.

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

Yamasan Japan Ikebana Vase

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Royal Copenhagen, Baca & Tenera Series

Royal Copenhagen. The Baca and Tenera Series

Both the  Tenera and Baca series from Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen were hugely popular in their time, and their popularity continues to this day on the resale market.

In a previous article about Nils Thorsson I listed the ranges he designed which includes the beautiful “Tenera” and “Baca” series in the 1960’s while Artistic Director of Royal Copenhagen-Aluminia. Tenera was the first of these 2 started c1958, followed by Baca c1964. Both series ran for many years.

Thorsson designed most of the shapes for this range, and the group of Artists and Designers under him each designed their own patterns and motifs. Ellen Malmer designed 14 of the forms and some were designed by the other artists.

This group of Artists and Designers consisted primarily of: Berte Jessen, Marianne Johnson, Ellen Malmer, Kari Christensen, Beth Breyen and Grete Helland-Hansen, Johannes Gerber, Anne Marie Trolle and Ivan Weiss

The Baca series consists of approximately 94 shapes or forms, with around 105 different designs or patterns. A glazing technique was developed by Nils so that each piece turned out slightly differently, giving them a hand-crafted appearance due to the nature of the glaze.

It is said that the name BACA comes from the Latin word for “ring” (i.e. circle) and the signature of each artist is on the backstamp of each piece inside a circle. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine just by the pattern if a piece is from the Baca or Tenera series, so an easy way to remember is that if the cypher is inside a circle it is from Baca.

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series – Backstamp showing Ellen’s cypher inside the circle, the pattern number (top line), shape number (bottom line) Royal Copenhagen backstamp, The Juliane Mark (3 waves) and the painters initial “A”.

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Vase, Pattern 710

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Baca Series Vase, Pattern 710

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Vase, Pattern 710

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Vase, Pattern 710 on shape 3455, with the backstamp showing Nils cypher inside the circle, the Royal Copenhagen mark, the Juliane Mark, painters initial (t) and an original shop label.

The pieces from both the Baca and Tenera series are marked with 2 sets of numbers on the backstamp The number on the top line is the design or pattern number, and the bottom number is the form or shape number.

There will also be the logo for Aluminia or Royal Copenhagen with the 3 Waves, and the painters initials. Read more

Annette From

Annette From, Denmark

Work by Annette From of Denmark made in the 1970s and 1980s I come across from time to time. As of 2012 she was still working at her studio in Asnæs (a village in the western part of Zealand, DK)….I am not sure if this is still the case.

She was born in 1931 in Ghent, Belgium. Annette exhibited widely in Denmark between the 1960s and 1990s – but surprisingly little of her work is seen on the market these days.

Her training as a potter was completed in 1951 after having been taught by Nathalie Krebs (Saxbo) and others,  and she set up her own studio in 1963.

The thrown forms I have seem made by her are from the 1970s and 1980s, and are solid, well made pieces with uncomplicated glazes. These thrown forms are made with have heavily textured clay as I find with quite a lot Danish Studio Pottery.

Her free-form sculptural pieces pictured below are also interesting, especially when grouped together in different ways – creating different interactions and small sculptural vignettes. While there are only 2 in a group below, they dont appear to have been made as “sets” and any number could be arranged in any manner.

If any readers of this site have work by Annette, I would love to see it – contact me via email or post to the facebook page for the website.

Annette From, Denmark, Studio Bowl

Annette From, Denmark, Studio Bowl

Annette From, Denmark, Studio Bowl

Annette From, Denmark, Studio Bowl , Top View

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Frank Keramik Denmark

Frank Keramik Denmark.

There is little known about the Danish pottery “Frank Keramik”, other than Frank Keramik got its name from owner Frank Rasmussen who operated this small pottery active in the 1960s-1970s.

His pottery was slip cast stoneware, and primarily made for the tourist market like many of these smaller makers, but it has gained a whole new audience in the past 10-15 years as pieces have come onto the secondary market and been discovered by a whole new generation.

Designs on the forms usually consist of simple but very effective repeat geometric patterns of either diamonds, greek key patterns or simple mandala patterns.

Variations of the 3 designs below are the ones I have most often come across from this maker. The red high gloss glazed pieces are particularly attractive.


Frank Keramik Denmark

Frank Keramik Denmark

Frank Keramik Denmark

Frank Keramik Denmark

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Hostess Tableware Designs, John Russell

Hostess Tableware Staffordshire Designs by John Russell

These designs are stunning. British design at its best. They were all created by top British ceramics designer John Russell c1970s for a company called Hostess Tableware Staffordshire.

He designed a number of patterns for this company, but these are the standouts I think.

The company was formed by the merger of Royal Stafford China and British Anchor Pottery c 1970, which as far as I can discover, closed in the 1990s.

John Russell is primarily known for his designs at Midwinter Pottery, where he created Midwinter “Riverside”and numerous other Midwinter designs in the 1960s. These however are far much more impressive, bold, clean and resolved designs to me, than any of his Midwinter designs.

Black Velvet Coffee Set - John Russell

Black Velvet Design – John Russell

Black Velvet Coffee Set - John Russell

Black Velvet Coffee Set – John Russell – Photo from “H is for Home” on Flickr

Black Velvet Design - John Russell

Black Velvet Design Backstamp – John Russell

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Royal Copenhagen, Soholm – Identifying Factory Seconds

Royal Copenhagen & Soholm Denmark,  Factory Seconds

It is important to know if you are spending a lot of money on a piece of Royal Copenhagen if it is a factory FIRST, or factory SECOND as often the appearance of the piece will often give no indication of it being a second. Any pieces coming out of the Royal Copenhagen (and Alumina) factories which did not meet the standard for perfection are marked as “seconds”.

This was done by etching a very fine short line, through the 3 Royal Copenhagen lines with a diamond cuter. A second mark will usually mean that the piece is worth less depending on the rarity and popularity of the piece, as seconds were sold at a 25-30% discount at the factory shop.

The pieces I come across most often marked as seconds are those from the 1950s and 1960s from the Tenera and Baca series under the direction of Nils Thorsson. Some designs in these series were inconsistent in how they fired in the kiln – and if too far from the desired look, they were marked as seconds and sold in the factory outlets. In other cases pieces could be marked as seconds because of tiny firing cracks (figurines mainly) or other small faults. However sometimes there seems to be nothing at all to indicate why it is a second.

Often this marking is invisible to the naked eye unless it catches the light, so with every piece of Royal Copenhagen it is best to run a finger over the back stamp, and you will feel immediately if the piece has been marked as second quality.  Sometimes the fault is visible, sometimes not.

The second marks are very hard to photograph because they are usually so fine – but you should be able to make them out in the images below: Read more