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.
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.
Joseph Bourne & Son bought the Langley Mill pottery in October 1959. This merger was also seen as a means of preventing the Langley Mill pottery from falling into the hands of Denby’s competitors. The purchase of the Langley Mill pottery by Denby resulted in a merger of two of the larger producers of domestic stoneware in England. Initially, the two potteries were operated as two separate entities, with their own sales policies and distribution systems remaining unchanged.
However, in terms of product lines, the new owners wished to impose a new direction on the Langley Mill pottery, placing a greater emphasis on the production of high quality kitchen ware and giftware. This period therefore saw a considerable number of new stoneware product ranges, some of which were targeted specifically at the American market.
In 1967 the name of the pottery was changed yet again to Langley Pottery Ltd. Principal designers during this period were the father and son team of Albert and Glyn College and also Gill Pemberton and Thelma Hague. In 1976 the decision was made to unite the two potteries under a single name, so the Langley Pottery Ltd. and Joseph Bourne & Son collectively became Denby Tableware Ltd.
By the end of the 1970s, the two potteries were beginning to report annual losses, with the result that they were both sold to the Crown House group of companies. One of the first decisions of the new owners was that the Langley Mill site should be closed and production transferred to Denby. The final design to be produced at Langley Mill was “Falling Leaves”, an oven-to-table ware designed by Thelma Hague.
Langley Mill pottery was closed in December 1982 with a special commemorative plate being produced to mark the last firing of the kiln and the sad end of 117 years of stoneware production. The site was eventually sold and the remaining buildings demolished in 1987. In 1997, the site was redeveloped and is now a small retail park
The original Denby Ads for the four related series from the Denby Pinterest page.