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
What a charming design. This is “Whispering Grass”, by Jessie Tait for Midwinter in 1960.
It is a transfer printed design of the flowering whispering grass, hand coloured in lilac and yellow. As with all of Jessie Tait’s designs – beautifully drafted, detailed, and balanced – as well as sitting so well on the forms.
The hollow ware of all the series is in this very soft but vibrant lilac on the outside – a colour you rarely see on dinnerware. Whispering Grass seems to be quite a rare design, and hard to find now.
For the export market the lilac on the hollow ware was replaced with black instead – but I haven’t been able to locate any images of this variation.
Midwinter Berkeley is a design by Jessie Tait for Midwinter, produced 1969-1974. It is quite a rare design these days. The pattern was produced on the “Fine Shape” Series which Midwinter started in 1962.
The design consists of a band of squares in alternating olive and turquoise, with an alternating centre colour.
The design to me reflects the influence of colour theorist Joseph Albers....who’s work significantly influenced 20th Century Art & Design – including “Op Art” popular in art, design and culture at the time – and especially big in Britain and Germany.