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Posts from the ‘Denby’ Category

Denby Potter’s Wheel

Denby Potters Wheel

Denby “POTTERS WHEEL”  was designed by David Yorath, 1973.

The forms for this dinnerware were actually designed by Gill Pemberton in her Bokhara series, and given a new life with David’s pattern & colours.

Potter’s Wheel was produced between 1974 and 1987. It has a simple otameal and iron oxide brown glaze and  simple pattern of concentric circles.

There are varations in the intensity of the colours much like other Denby stoneware.

The centre area of the plates was glazed in either a rust, yellow, green or blue colour (but finding a plate other than in rust colour is very rare these days)

Denby Potter's Wheel

Denby Potter’s Wheel

Denby Potter's Wheel Plate

Denby Potter’s Wheel Plate

Denby Potter's Wheel

Denby Potter’s Wheel Bowl

Denby Potter's Wheel Plates

Denby Potter’s Wheel Plates

Denby Potter's Wheel

Denby Potter’s Wheel

Denby Potter's Wheel Colours

Denby Potter’s Wheel Colours

There was also a range of giftware designed to match this set which I really like. Each piece is different because they were hand-painted.  The range seems to consist of vases, jardinieres, and small bowls. I really like the texture and finish of these pieces and their design is timeless.  David also made a number of one off pieces in similar colour-ways to these. Read more

Denby Glynbourne

Denby Glynbourne

Glynbourne Ware (not to be confused with Glyndebourne ware which is a different design) was designed by Glyn Colledge in 1960. It was marketed as a prestige product and sold until about the 1970’s when the exotic designs of Gill Pemberton and David Yorath were more favoured.

Glynbourne continues the long Denby tradition of traditional high quality stoneware, hand thrown and hand decorated.

Production Studio Pottery at its best. Each piece was handpainted in natural tones of browns and greens with a simplified decorative pattern of leaves….the glaze is just wonderful to the touch.

It has continued to be a very collectable range to the present day.

Denby Glynbourne

Denby Glynbourne Planter

Denby Glynbourne

Denby Glynbourne

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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.

Mayflower Design - Gill Pemberton

Mayflower Design – Gill Pemberton – Denby

Denby Mayflower Coffee Pot – Gill Pemberton

Mayflower Cup - Gill Pemberton, Denby

Mayflower Cup – Gill Pemberton, Denby

Mayflower Teapot - Gill Pemberton - Denby

Mayflower Teapot – Gill Pemberton – Denby

Mayflower Backstamp - Langley Mill

Mayflower Backstamp – Langley Mill

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. Read more

Denby Burlington

Denby Burlington Design – Albert Colledge 1958

“Burlington” was design by Denby Icon, Albert Colledge in 1958-59 when Albert was 68 years of age and had worked at Denby for 55 years.

It was very contemporary design then, and I think it looks just as contemporary now. (Colledge is the correct spelling for Albert’s  surname, often misspelt)

Originally the design was glazed in a satin matt black and decorated with white, vertical broken lines. Soon after there was the turquoise blue variation. There is also a multi coloured pastel decor as seen in the planters below, and also an all green decor. The forms are made of stoneware and very long lasting – as is all Denby pottery.

The forms in this series have such beautiful lines and proportions – and consisted of a variety of vessels including vases, bowls, planters, lidded jugs, coffee pots, coffee mugs and cruets.

Denby Burlington - Original Design

Denby Burlington – Original Design – Photo by MidCenturyHomeStores on Etsy

This is an unusual form for a coffee pot, and I think it looks better without the lid – which sits quite loosely – and is more appropriate today as a water jug probably.. Read more

Denby Electric Blue

Denby – Danesby Electric Blue 1924, U.K.

In 1924-5 Bourne-Denby as the British company was then known, introduced a decorative line called “Danesby Ware” of which the “Electric Blue” range was one of the outstanding and most popular lines. The Electric Blue glaze captured a new age of optimism and cheerfulness coming out of years of darkness during WW1

Originally inspired by the shapes of an Aladdin’s lamp, the outstanding feature of this range was the beautiful blue streaky and high gloss glaze. It was produced well into the 1930’s, and is still popular amongst collectors today.

Being stoneware it has lasted incredibly well, and the pieces I have photographed here are in superb condition. You can often fine Electric Blue in online stores in the U.K., and in Canada.  The vase forms pictured here are probably the ones you will find most often – but there are some beautiful large jug forms which are much harder (and more expensive) to find.

They are such classical, elegant and beautiful shapes. Read more

Gill Pemberton, Denby, Interview

Gill Pemberton, Denby Interview

An interview with Gill Pemberton and her early years at Denby Pottery. A fascinating glimpse into how the Chevron design developed and life in a pottery works in the 1960s. The interview was originally published on my first website in 2010 (Retro Pottery Net)

 Yes, THE Gill Pemberton! she who designed the renowned and admired Denby Chevron, and Arabesque amongst others. Gill contacted me a while ago when she had discovered my blog – and clarified a few things I wasn’t clear on with the production of Arabesque.

Gill left Denby in 1981 and pursued a whole different career which I hope we have the chance to discuss in another interview, but for now lets hear all about Chevron.

Gill, At Art College what were your major studies and preferences,…. were you planning to become a ceramic designer?

I won a scholarship to study at Birmingham College of Art and Crafts for 4 years, first 2 years general art and crafts (lettering, life drawing, silver, sculpture, embroidery, and pottery etc), for the last 2 I chose to specialise in Pottery.

….Then I got a place at The Royal College of Art in London, to study Industrial Ceramics for 3 years. In my first year, we all had to choose, study, draw, and MAKE some pottery piece in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I chose a small 18th century china teapot, covered with enamel painted flowers. It took a year of hard slog, but I learned SO MUCH about modelling, mould making, glazing, not to mention making the body, and of course that flower painting!

It was such an incredible experience to be able to handle such a fragile ,beautiful piece, almost in touch with the maker…..and modelling the handle and spout….in the shape of a dragon!, It showed me skills I didn’t know I had !

I spent many warm happy hours in the V&A,…..no TV in those days ! And no money to heat my basic bedsit! Looking back I can see the value of all that time looking at and sketching such treasures.

We also had the opportunity each week to do life drawing, taught by Arnold Machin [he of the Queen’s head on stamps and coins], and looking back again I see how much I learned from him about form, volume, shape, not to mention how to draw !

I spent the next 2 years making stacking teapots, cups jugs, and doing the obligatory flower painting. In the fifties England was in very austere times, not much had changed since the thirties, and rationing and restrictions on the pottery industry meant they wanted designers who could do beautiful watercolour flower sprays on existing shapes, but this was NOT for me ! I was quite sure I could produce MUCH better tableware than was in the shops, so YES, I did plan on being a designer, but not the kind Stoke on Trent wanted!

Were you given a specific brief, role or an outline of what Denby wanted when you started as a designer starting with Denby?

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Denby Chevron

Denby Chevron

Denby’s top designer in the 1960s and 1970s was Gill Pemberton, responsible for the creation of the iconic designs Chevron (Camelot U.S.), Arabesque (Samarakand U.S.) and Rondo amongst others. Gill was a standout student when she studied at both the Royal College of Art, (3 years) and Birmingham School of Art (4 years), before being spotted by Denby.

Gill’s primary brief at Denby was to re-define the traditional qualities of Denby Stoneware into contemporary sculptural shapes which could be admired as objects of beauty in their own while being highly functional.

Denby pottery was founded in 1809 and continues to the present day producing tableware and decorative stoneware items which are both practical and beautiful. Their practice of employing top designers and craftspeople has ensured its success for over 200 years.

Gill Pemberton’s Chevron design is I believe one of the design classics of the 20th Century…having as much in common with the principles of the Bauhaus as it does with domestic pottery. The Chevron range is ergonomically correct and balanced to use – in perfect alignment with one of the most important aspects of modern design principles – i.e. That form follows function.

Denby Chevron Saucer Boat

Denby Chevron Saucer Boat

Denby Chevron Cereal Bowl

Denby Chevron Cereal Bowl

To us today Chevron simply looks very modern with clean lines, but in the 1960s it was revolutionary, and was highly popular, typifying the mood of an era.

Gill’s method of working was always very hands on, working with the modellers, throwers and chemists, and nearly always working directly on to the clay without drawings, except for periods when she wasn’t able to work through having 3 children.

Working with Stoneware requires quite a different technique to working with porcelain or china clay. It’s probably best described as requiring a sculptural or modelling skill which Gill Pemberton certainly had.

The Chevron range was huge, consisting of over 70 pieces. Initially all the casserole dishes and cups/mugs were hand thrown, and the flatware hand jollied.

The tall straight sides shapes of many of the pieces of Chevron required great skill of the potters, and was at first difficult to throw with the high straight sides on many of the pieces. The distinctive serrated “chevron” pattern was created with a small roller.

Denby Chevron Tall Jug

Denby Chevron Tall Jug

Denby Chevron Extra Tall Coffee Pot

Denby Chevron Extra Tall Coffee Pot

As with other Denby sets of this time there were a number of sizes of coffee pots, tea pots, cups, mugs and jugs. Read more

Denby Arabesque

Denby Arabesque design by Gill Pemberton would have to be one of the 20th Centuries greatest dinnerware designs. Unlike many other dinnerware and production designs of this era and later Gill actually designed all the forms and the patterns – including the ergonomics of the handles and such.

Originally Arabesque started as a small set of gift ware designed by Gill Pemberton – with the same stylish and ergonomically correct handles as those on Chevron. A trip to Russia with her husband in 1962 inspired the idea for the red and golden hand painted decoration which she developed further. The design for Arabesque was bound to become a cultural icon of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The Arabesque range was in production only 12 months after the Chevron range had started and continued in production for almost 20 years.

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