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Apollo 11 – The Vase!

Apollo 9 Vase, Royal Norfolk U

The Apollo Series Vases – Royal Norfolk UK, 1960s.

Way back in July 2011, on the previous version of this site I posted about a spectacular very large blue vase with “Apollo 11” stamped underneath. I couldn’t find anything out about it until after several comments on the blog it was identified by Steve Optix from Retro Mojo UK  as being produced by Royal Norfolk (UK).

What I love about this series is the way the textured ripples on the surface remind me of the Apollo rockets on take off when you had all gasses and steam rippling and flowing down the sides of the rocket. The  designer of the series is yet to be identified.

Apollo 11 Vase, Royal Norfolk, UK

Apollo 11 Vase, Royal Norfolk, UK

Over time, in my experience, all mysteries to do with vintage ceramics are resolved. Late last year Steve from Retro Mojo put together information about the Apollo series forms, and below is a summary of the background discovered.

  • Royal Norfolk Pottery Company in the late 1960’s produced a range of vases to commemorate the NASA Apollo missions 8 though 11.
  • It seems that there were four vases released – One shape per mission, and there were four colours – acid orange, dark blue, white and lastly green. A black has also been found (in Apollo 11 at least)
  • The Apollo 8 vase was a basic short cylinder, measuring 190 mm tall.
  • The Apollo 9 vase a fantastic modernist form measuring 255-260 mm tall.
  • Apollo 10 is the big cylinder measuring 295 mm tall and 110 mm across.
  • The Apollo 11 version, measures 300 mm tall and being an almost inverted version of the Apollo 9.

My personal favourites are Apollo 9 and 11. The acid orange is a spectacular colour, but the deep blue is equally impressive.

Apollo 10 Vase, Royal Norfolk

Apollo 10 Vase, Royal Norfolk – Photo Steve Optix


Apollo 9 Vase, Royal Norfolk U

Apollo 9 Vase, Royal Norfolk UK – Photo Steve Optix

Apollo 8 Vase, Royal Norfolk UK

Apollo 8 Vase, Royal Norfolk UK – Photo Steve Optix, Retro Mojo

The Royal Norfolk Pottery Company, established in 1958, were called such because they worked out of Norfolk Street in Shelton, Staffordshire, nothing to do with Norfolk.


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