Another of my Hornsea favourites from the 1970s is “Saffron” – which was produced from 1970, tailing off and ending by 1992.
Saffron was designed along with most of the designs from Hornsea during this period by John Clappison. It was produced in the same shapes as Heirloom and Bronte – and all of these designs were hugely successful. Again many of the canisters were printed with a label of the intended item, and all had wooden lids with a rubber seal.
The pattern and colour of Saffron work really well together…and like all John Clappison designs of this era were screen printed – which in part was because of the growing shortage of skilled pattern painters in this era.
The design has lovely circular flower motifs in a caramel-saffron colour contrasting with the burnt orange of the background. Combined these colours give an almost 3D effect. I also really like the interiors too with their luscious thick, soft cream colour.
Flatware for this series was a plain caramel colour, with concentric grooves around the rim.
Along with Heirloom and Bronte it was made in such huge quantities that it is still reasonably priced and fairly easily available, although the shapes which got more use (and hence broken) like Coffee Mugs, are always highly coveted.
I’m a big fan of the Hornsea teapots too, as they are the perfect size – not too big, not too small, and from this era by John Clappison have non-drip spouts.
You will find a variety of backstamps on Hornsea Saffron – depending on when it was produced.
Heirloom was Hornsea’s first complete range of tableware, and was designed by John Clappison in 1966 – in production from 1967-1987.
Its distinctive screen printed black pattern, along with the well designed forms, were so hugely successful that from 1968 the entire production at Hornsea was given over to it for a period.
Heirloom – as with other good designs – continues to be popular on the secondary market – now with a whole new generation discovering it.
The straight sided cylindrical shapes were designed to be stackable and were finished with polished wooden lids and airtight rubber seals. Many of the storage jars/canisters also had the name of the intended contents (flour, sugar etc.) moulded into them.
Items such as the straight sided bowls, egg cups, coffee cups and tea cups were also stackable.
The large rectangular handles on items such as the teapot and coffee pot were beautifully and ergononmically designed – as well as having non drip spout.
The plate-ware was left undecorated except for a series of concentric grooves around the rim.
The colour variations of Heirloom were “lakeland” (a dark moss green), Midnight blue, and Autumn brown. The blue was discontinued early in the production as it was not as popular at the time – however now it is highly sought after and collectable. The Autumn brown is the one I come across most often now here in Australia.
If you want a thorough and well researched history of Hornsea Pottery – I recommend locating a copy of the book “Hornsea Pottery 1949-1989” Brian Heckford & Brian Jakes (out of print, but still around in second hand book stores) ISBN 0 9526828 0 X.
Hornsea Heirloom – Autumn, Coffee Pot
Hornsea Heirloom – Autumn, Cup/Saucer
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.
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 variation.
Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic “Muramic” Design Variation via VintageGirlUK on Etsy
Bing & Grondahl “Tivoli”
This very smart design from Bing & Grondahl is called “Tivoli”, and was designed by Martin Hunt c1970s.
Martin Hunt, Co-Designer of the award winning Hornsea Lancaster Vitramic and a huge number of other Hornsea designs – also designed several dinnerware series for Bing and Grondahl and Rosenthal. The Bing & Grondahl designs include Tivoli, Korinth and Cumulus (decoration by Carl Harry-Stalhane) .
The same forms Martin Hunt designed for Tivoli were also used on the series Delphi, Olympia, Sahara, Troja, Corinth, Marrakech and Casablanca. All of these designs are now quite hard to get hold of.
If you want to see more Martin Hunt designs go to the V&A collections online here for Martin. They have a very large collection of his designs from the 1970s until current day, including some of the B&G designs mentioned above.
Hornsea Pottery, Lancaster Vitramic “Contrast” has become a British design icon. It won the British Design Council awards for design in the 1970s. It features a stunning chocolate velvety matt brown glaze with a black gloss band and bright white interior. The forms are simple, elegant and beautiful – they remind me of the purity of the forms of Denby Chevron with its clean, elegant lines and forms.
A brief history of the design:
In 1972, after years of compromise by adapting and adding to their first factory, Hornsea Pottery needed to expand due to its success. A new (second) site was found and the official opening took place in 1976. The first three ranges produced at the Lancaster factory received Design Council Awards and with them Hornsea Pottery enhanced its already worldwide reputation.
Hornsea Pottery had marked its silver jubilee in 1974 by launching a celebration range of products and this led to a collaboration with Lord David Queensberry and Martin Hunt. Together, in 1974, they produced a very successful range of “Lancaster Vitramic” tableware designs, starting with Contrast. Read more