The very impressive decorative pattern on this Midwinter trio is “Kismet”, in production from 1968-1974. The design reflects so well the time in which it was designed – the late 1960s. This was a time of interest in all things Indian, spirituality, batik, psychedelia and The Beatles – amongst other things. It is such a joyful pattern.
The pattern was designed by Joti Bhowmik, who also designed a variation of this design in blue, purple, green and mustard called “Bengal” which was in production from 1968-1970. I haven’t been able to find out any more about Joti Bhowmik unfortunately, and cant find any other patterns them other than Kismet and Bengal.
The forms on which the designs appear are of course the very popular “fine shape” which was designed by the Marquis (David) Queensberry and Roy Midwinter in 1962, and introduced to the market a much stronger and durable ceramic with brighter colours, on a simpler and more modern, functional and streamlined profile.
Roy Midwinter (1922-1990) left the Midwinter Pottery in 1981 and moved to Federated Potteries in Stoke on Trent. (Midwinter Pottery was owned by Wedgwood post 1970 and closed in 1987).
While at Federated Potteries Roy designed a striking, but little known range of patterns including “Safari” (1986) pictured below, which echoed an increasing public interest in the designs of the 1950s.
Other designs by Roy Midwinter at Federated Potteries during this period were Calypso, Fireball and Tropicana – all with the nod to the 1950’s but having a much more 1980s or Memphis Style vibe to them I think.
Safari is by far my favourite.
Roy Midwinter Safari
This charming and now very nostalgic looking design is Midwinter “Nurseryware” c1955. Its designer, the incomparable Jessie Tait.
The design is now incredibly rare, and pieces from the series pop up very rarely, but I was fortunate to find a few pieces from the series recently in an auction lot of pottery oddments.
While the shapes here probably do not represent the complete range of this transfer printed design on the “Fashion Shape” – you can get a good feel for the theme of the design. It is not known what other pieces there are with variations of this pattern, but Steven Jenkins in his authoritative book on Midwinter Pottery also mentions tankards with hand painted pink elephants holding each others tails as part of the range.
The design is so much of its time – with motifs designed to appeal to boys such as trains, Indian headdress, cricket bat, aeroplanes, spinning tops etc. One would assume that a pattern was also produced with motifs appealing to girls, as much as this one would appeal to boys at the time.
If you have, or know of any other pieces in this series, I would love to see them.
Midwinter Nurseryware 1950s Jessie Tait – Photo Ray Garrod
Midwinter Nurseryware 1950s Jessie Tait – Side Plate – Photo Ray Garrod
Midwinter Nurseryware 1950s Jessie Tait – Saucer – Photo Ray Garrod