Denby “Trees”, Diana Woodcock-Beckering
Denby Trees c1970.
It would be hard to find a design that screams the 1970s more than this bold and colourful design. It has influences of Pop-Art, Psychedelic Art and the bold and colourful Graphic Design of this era. The design consists of black silhouetted trees set against an op-art style dot pattern sky in white on purple with rolling hills in green, orange and ochres. These colours (and the style of graphic) defined the look of so much design in the 1970s – but you dont often see the colour combination on dinnerware.
The shapes the design is placed on you may recognise immediately as the forms Gill Pemberton designed for Denby “Chevron” in the 1960s. The “Trees” design was placed on all of the forms of Chevron including the steel handled teapot, coffee pots, lidded forms, bowls, plates and dishes.
The design of Trees is by Diana Woodcock-Beckering who was trained at the Croydon College of Art and Design in 1962, which led to a Diploma at Loughborough College, before post graduate MA qualifications at the Royal College of Art, London starting in 1966.
Diana worked as a freelancer at Denby between 1969-1971, and after her time at Denby, Diana (now Diana Worthy) went on to set up Crich Pottery in Derbyshire in 1972 with her husband.
There is so much to Diana than her “Trees” design for Denby though, in both her training & education and later work.
I found a very thorough and well written 2001 article on the studio work of Diana HERE , which also has a good variety of images clearly showing the style Diana developed. Diana’s achievements during her study and post graduate study were quite stellar – from the article linked is this quote:
“Diana could usually be found in college (Royal College of Art) at all hours, seven days a week. There she met Hans Coper, David Queensberry and Eduardo Paulozzi. Diana won the RCA prize for drawing and also the Frank Denning Memorial Award to study designs in Scandinavia. Her final degree show M (Design) RCA resulted in offers of freelance pottery designing for Kilkenny Design workshops and for Denby Pottery in Derbyshire. She also took a full time lecturing post at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in the Faculty of three-dimensional design”
…and finally, I found these charming pieces from Crich Pottery by Diana, where a tree theme is used again on a handmade stoneware forms, to a very different but equally resolved effect.