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Posts from the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

Midwinter Sienna, Mexicana – Jessie Tait

Every piece I come across from this series is so beautifully elegant and well proportioned – a fantastic example of 1960s modernism and industrial design at its best.

The pattern for “Sienna” was designed by British design icon Jessie Tait for the Fine Range (1962-1978). It was one of the top selling designs from this series.

The forms for the Fine Range were designed and developed by the Marquis of Queensberry in collaboration with Roy Midwinter.  As well as considering the forms, an improved white clay body was developed, along with a new tougher glaze. The shapes were loosely based on a milk churn – and the straight sides were the perfect vehicle for a wide range of patterns – over 60 designs were created for this series.

Every aspect of this design has been carefully considered, from the shapes to elements such as the lid which shaped in quite a complex manner underneath so it will not fall out when being poured. This considered, quality design you rarely come across these days.

Along with Sienna, another of my personal favourites from the Fine series is “Mexicana”, again by Jessie Tait – this was the only hand painted pattern in the series – but this also proved so popular the pattern was later applied as a transfer.

Midwinter Sienna - Jessie Tait

Midwinter Sienna – Jessie Tait

Midwinter Sienna - Jessie Tait

Midwinter Sienna – Jessie Tait

Midwinter Sienna - Jessie Tait

Midwinter Sienna – Jessie Tait

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Royal Doulton “Kay”, c1914

This lovely Art Deco design is from Royal Doulton c1914 from their “D” series of dinnerware.

Called “Kay” the design features a charming hand painted design in an Art Deco style, in blue overglaze on plain creamware//earthenware.

Pieces in this design don’t seem to have survived well if used, as the eathenware or “creamware” base is quite “soft”, and easily prone to chipping, crazing, cracking etc. However considering the year this was released, at the start of World War 1, industry would have been facing some very tough times.

You can work out the production dates from these “D” series wares from Doulton 1899 to 1964 on the link here

Royal Doulton Kay 1914

Royal Doulton Kay 1914

Royal Doulton Kay 1914

Royal Doulton Kay 1914

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Denby Troubador

Another of my Denby favourites is “Troubador” (sic). Designed in the early 1970s.

It is beautifully simple and delicate pattern of superbly hand painted magnolias with leaves in soft greens and pale browns with the faintest touch of dusty pink, on a simple stone coloured stoneware.

I really like the forms of the 1960s – early 1970’s Denby – especially forms such as the bowls and plates in  this series.

Timeless but contemporary at the same time – and gaining popularity to a new generation currently.

The pattern, form design and quality production of this dinnerware is sadly almost non existent these days – apart from hand made studio pottery – which this most closely resembles.

Denby Troubador

Denby Troubador

Denby Troubador Read more

Denby Cottage Blue

Denby Cottage Blue was introduced in 1926 and continued to be popular into the 1980’s – a very long running design by any standards.

Cottage Blue is typified by its blue mottled glaze which is partly transparent (I would call it Imperial Blue – it isn’t a bright cobalt blue). Contrasting with the blue is the lovely buttercup yellow interior on most of the forms.

It was introduced on the traditional shapes Denby was using at the time – and it looks like more shapes were added as time went by.

I’ve seen it attributed to Donald Gilbert – but I don’t think that can be correct as he didn’t join the firm until 1931.

Here are some of the charming pieces from Cottage Blue. I particularly like the angled forms of some of the ramekins and serving dishes.

Denby Cottage Blue Teapot

Denby Cottage Blue Teapot

Denby Cottage Blue Group

Denby Cottage Blue Group

Denby Cottage Blue Ramekins

Denby Cottage Blue Ramekins

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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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