Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic Contrast
Hornsea Pottery, Lancaster Vitramic “Contrast” has become a British design icon. It won the British Design Council awards for design in the 1970s. It features a stunning chocolate velvety matt brown glaze with a black gloss band and bright white interior. The forms are simple, elegant and beautiful – they remind me of the purity of the forms of Denby Chevron with its clean, elegant lines and forms.
A brief history of the design:
In 1972, after years of compromise by adapting and adding to their first factory, Hornsea Pottery needed to expand due to its success. A new (second) site was found and the official opening took place in 1976. The first three ranges produced at the Lancaster factory received Design Council Awards and with them Hornsea Pottery enhanced its already worldwide reputation.
Hornsea Pottery had marked its silver jubilee in 1974 by launching a celebration range of products and this led to a collaboration with Lord David Queensberry and Martin Hunt. Together, in 1974, they produced a very successful range of “Lancaster Vitramic” tableware designs, starting with Contrast.
The Contrast design was initially trialled at the Hornsea site, then produced at the Lancaster site, followed by the equally successful variations Concept, Ebony, Impact, Palatine and Cinnamon (produced exclusively for Harrods) plus there are several more variations including one where the black band is replaced with a glossy bright orange instead.
Below are some pieces of the Contrast design that have passed through my hands:
The following information is added from the Wikipedia entry for Hornsea Pottery – the website I oringinally used for this information – The (original) Hornsea Musuem – no longer exists online)
Unfortunately, there were many teething problems and it took factory workers longer to train to the higher standards required for the newly introduced brown Vitramic body. Despite this shaky start the first three ranges produced at the Lancaster factory received Design Centre Awards and with them Hornsea Pottery enhanced its worldwide reputation.The Lancaster site only lasted for twelve years. Despite overcoming the early difficulties and its eventual profit making, it could not stand up against the economic climate of the time. It closed in 1988.