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Posts from the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

Poole Atlantis

Poole “Atlantis” was the name give to a series of hand pieces from the Craft section of Poole Pottery, under the direction of Guy Sydenham starting in 1969 and going into the 1970s.

There is very large variety of forms and decoration because they were handmade….and they are now relatively hard to get hold of, and often expensive.

3 clay bodies were used – either a red clay, stone coloured body or black clay body. Some pieces were carved, some were glazed, some were both carved and glazed.

The first image below is of a piece I recently came across, made and signed by Guy Sydenham.

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase –

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase – Base Shot, Guy Sydenham Cypher

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Biltons Staffordshire

Quite often I come across some very smart decorative patterns on Staffordshire pottery marked “Biltons”, with designs from the 1950s to 1970s.

There doesn’t seem to be much written about this maker, except for the timeline below which comes from ThePotteries.Org . They produced mainly inexpensive dinnerware for the domestic mass-market…and their peak seemed to be in the 1960s when they introduced mass production decoration techniques such as rubber stamped pattern making, and multi colour machine printing.

As happened frequently with many of the Staffordshire potteries, Biltons changed ownership often before being unable to continue into the 21st Century due to both changing markets and financial pressures.

Biltons Staffordshire

Biltons Staffordshire Read more

Denby Pottery Teak Salt + Peppers

Denby Pottery Teak Salt + Peppers

Something I have only discovered a year or so ago thanks to Maija from Copenhagen.  Maija found some fantastic looking Denby Salt & Pepper shakers with teak bodies. I have seen Denby items before  combined with teak trays or stands but haven’t seen this before – where the teak is used as part of the form or design.

The first use of teak used to compliment Denby Pottery I have seen to date is from Gill Pemberton’s “Arabesque” series, – which matches the time period teak started to become very popular (the early 1960s through to the mid 1970s)

A quick Google search for Denby+Teak resulted in dozens of images of Denby S&P’s with teak bases, mostly from the Potter’s Wheel series – with some fantastic colour variations.

The first 2 images below are from Maija – and it is a bit hard to know if these are from a particular  Denby series, or if they were produced as stand alone pieces to go with a variety of designs. I think they are closest in colour and glaze to Arabesque – but their shapes bear no relationship to the strong angular shapes of the Arabesque pieces.

I have often read these designs were a collaborative Dansk – Jens Quistgaard design which is incorrect, but finally I have been able to identify their designer.

The Danish link was correct, but the wrong assumption of Quistgaard has been made by many people. Gill Pemberton tells me these were designed by freelance Danish designer Kurt Franzen c1974, who also created for Denby the very smart “Gourmet” (second version, not the Kenneth Clark version) dinnerware series. It appears to have been renamed the “Gourmet Vanilla” pattern soon after release.

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers. Photo Maija, Denmark.

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers. Photo Maija, Denmark.

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers. Photo Maija, Denmark.

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Susie Cooper, Wedgwood

Susie Cooper, Wedgwood

Susie Cooper (1902-1995) was a powerhouse ceramic designer, and arguably the most important British ceramic designer of the 20th Century.

From 1966 to 1980 she worked for the Wedgwood group, starting there in her mid sixties at a time when most might think of retirement. This era proved to be the most productive and exciting period of her career. Her life long aim with ceramic design was to bring high quality, affordable and contemporary design to the younger consumer – and she certainly achieved this in her time at Wedgwood with dozens of outstanding designs.

In 1968 she had around 30 designs in production – including some which she had bought with her to Wedgwood (Glen Mist and Black Fruits).

She also bought to Wedgwood her “Can” shape developed in 1958,  which was the frame for many designs at Wedgwood.

This “Can” shape is used on some of my favourite designs Susie created in the late 1960s for Wedgwood, including a series of “Psychedelic”, “Space Age” or “Op Art” designs inspired by the space age, Carnaby Street, Kings Road London, and the “Swinging Sixties” with all its bright bold colour and pattern. She captured the essence of the sixties London style in these striking designs which were released from around 1967.

They included Heraldry, Carnaby Daisy, Harlequinade, Nebula, Diablo and Pennant. All of these designs were available in Harlequin sets (mixed colour-ways). All of them are quite hard to get hold of these days – and well worth purchasing if you come across them.

Susie Cooper Wedgwood Nebula

Susie Cooper Wedgwood Nebula – Photo Ray Garrod

 

Susie Cooper Wedgwood Nebula

Susie Cooper Wedgwood Nebula backstamp

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Royal Doulton, Atlantis 1973

Royal Doulton, Atlantis 1973

Royal Doulton released some great dinnerware patterns in the 1970s, and this is one of them.

It is  “Atlantis”, which had quite a short production period from 1973-1978.  To date I haven’t been able to identify its designer – who appears to have designed some of the other designs at Doulton during this period.

It is sometimes referred to by its pattern number “TC 1098”.

“TC” stands for translucent china – and is the first part of the stamp found on dinnerware from 1960 on. It is a translucent white porcelain manufactured without the use of bone ash, and could be manufactured at a much lower cost than that of bone china.

The decorative pattern on Atlantis, with its flourishes and curves reminds me a bit of French Art Nouveau designs by Alphonse Mucha and the like.

The design was complimented with the teapot/coffee pot and other lidded vessels like the casserole dish having a very dark navy blue lid.

I like the shape of the bowls as well with their square line design which is complimented by the addition of a nicely shaped foot detail.

Royal Doulton Atlantis

Royal Doulton Atlantis

Royal Doulton Atlantis Read more

Hornsea “Springtime”

Hornsea Springtime

This striking and now very collectable design is by John Clappison 1964-1965 for Hornsea.

It’s fresh, vibrant, cheerful design I think captures the optimism of the era, and is so much of its time. It has become hard to get hold of these days, and hence relatively expensive if you do come across it.

It was a tableware range decorated with either dark green or orange flowers with pale blue leaves, impressed into a white ground.

The range consisted of canisters, cruets, preserve pots, butter dishes, jugs and coffee mugs as well as other items of tableware.

Some of the items had plastic lids, like the canister in the first image, and others were all ceramic. The lids were either aqua blue or yellow.

.Hornsea Springtime

Hornsea Springtime

Hornsea Springtime

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Hornsea Muramic

Hornsea Muramic

I was reminded of this fantastic retro design recently when I found some interesting variations of the design on Etsy.

The full name of the design is Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic, “Muramic” .

It was made at the Hornsea Lancaster site 1977-1980, where the the award wining “Contrast” design amongst others was also made.

There are a number of different designs within the “Muramic” series, but the most commonly seen items are variations of the round shallow dish.

Other products included some fantastic wall plaques like the one pictured below, and even jewellery (very hard to find now)

Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic "Muramic" Design

Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic “Muramic” Design variation.

Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic "Muramic" Design

Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic "Muramic" Design Variation

Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic “Muramic” Design Variation via VintageGirlUK on Etsy

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Poole “Delphis” and “Aegean”

Poole “Delphis” and “Aegean”

Some of the most striking and bold abstract patterns on ceramics in the 1960s and 1970s came from Poole Pottery in the U.K. Two important series from Poole during this era were the Delphis and Agean series.

There is a lot of information about these now iconic and very collectable series online and in books – and below are some pointers to the most reliable resources to read and learn more.

As a good starting point, the Poole Museum has a great informational website with a comprehensive history of Poole Pottery,  with a collection of wonderful images of some of the best Poole designs. From the website:

The name Delphis has become associated with the standard range of shapes and designs produced by the new Craft Section at Poole Pottery which was opened in May 1966. The range was a natural progression from the earlier ‘Delphis Collection’ of studio pottery in standardised shapes which launched in October 1963. New glazes were introduced following a visit by Guy Sydenham and Tony Morris to the Vallauris factory in France in 1966. These were more reliable (and probably safer) than those previously available. Production employed a team of paintresses under the initial guidance of Tony Morris. The bold designs and colourful glazes were instantly in tune with 1960’s fashion and such was the popularity of the range that the factory struggled to keep pace with demand.

The leading figures who developed the Delphis series were designer Robert Jefferson, potter Guy Sydenham, and very talented painter Tony Morris.

The Delphis series consisted of about 75 shapes. The shapes were standardised – but the colour, decoration, glazing of each piece was unique – enabling a large pottery to produce work with a hand crafted look, but on a commercial scale. The designs were marketed as “irreproducible”. The Delphis series became Poole’s best selling series, and continued until its withdrawal in 1980.

What stands out about the Delphis series as a whole is the use of very bold, bright colours and abstract, hand painted patterns. There is frequent use of bright red, orange, and yellow – with the use of black to delineate the patterns and make the designs “pop”.

There is an excellent site by collector Rob in the U.K.   – Robs Poole Pottery Collection – where Rob has so much good quality information like the dates of the shapes, and great photos of some of a number of Delphis designs. Also very importantly, Rob has collected many of the Poole Pottery decorators marks or cyphers HERE, which is often the hardest thing to find when researching pottery.

The piece below is shape 88 and signed by Christine Tate, who was a section supervisor for the Delphis range from 1966-1970. Most pieces of Delphis are signed the the artist/painter, but you will find some from the series that are not signed, but just have the Poole backstamp, and usually the shape number.

Delphis Spear Dish - Shape 88

Delphis Spear Dish – Shape 88

Poole Delphis Bowl, Form 57

Poole Delphis Bowl, Form 57

“To encourage this experimentation and creativity during the early years, each decorator would be given a few hours a week to produce their own work, be it models, tile panels, any artistic output they wanted.  However, Delphis became such a commercial success that demand began to encroach on these creative freedoms with over time been introduced and later with the painters terms of work  changed in 1972 from an hourly rate to piece work”  

An excerpt from “Rob’s Poole Pottery” – link in post mentioned above.

Below, some more of the fantastic Poole Delphis pieces I have or have had in my possession: Read more