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Posts from the ‘Poole’ Category

Poole Bokhara – Robert Jefferson 1964

Robert Jefferson graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1954, and worked as a lecturer in ceramics at Stoke-on-Trent College of Art before being appointed designer at Poole Pottery in 1958, where he worked until 1966.

While he is well known for his reinvigoration of Poole Pottery with the Poole Studio and iconic Delphis  series, plus the introduction of the latest glazes and technologies to the factory,  there is so much more to this very talented designer.

A now lesser known, and increasingly rare series designed and introduced by Jefferson at Poole in 1964, was the “Bokhara” series.

Below are a few examples from the Bokhara series I was fortunate enough to come across recently.

The series was entirely hand thrown and hand decorated – which is a rarity for 1960s production/table ware. There are nine different shapes of jars and vases in the series, and some come in two or more sizes, with most having more than one surface pattern – making a total of 29 pieces in total listed on the factory pattern sheet….although the odd variation in pattern/colour has been known to appear as well.

In addition to the colour-ways listed on the factory production sheet Bokhara forms can also be found in Poole Twintone colours, and some traditional Poole patterns and colours.

Poole Bokhara, Shape 658

Poole Bokhara, Shape 658 OHA (Old Gold/Sepia)

Poole Bokhara Preserve Jar Shape 655 OBA sepia/orange/black

Poole Bokhara Preserve Jar Shape 655 OBA sepia/orange/black

Poole Bokhara 675

Poole Bokhara 675. A tapering form in black and sapphire on a blue ground. 1 of 2 sizes in the colourway called JB. This form seems to be the most valued and collectable at the time I write this.


Poole Bokhara 656

Poole Bokhara 656 OE.B (Sepia/Chinese Blue)

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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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Poole “Delphis” and “Aegean”

Poole “Delphis” and “Aegean”

Some of the most striking and bold abstract patterns on ceramics in the 1960s and 1970s came from Poole Pottery in the U.K. Two important series from Poole during this era were the Delphis and Agean series.

There is a lot of information about these now iconic and very collectable series online and in books.

 From the “Poole Museum” website, now closed:

The name Delphis has become associated with the standard range of shapes and designs produced by the new Craft Section at Poole Pottery which was opened in May 1966. The range was a natural progression from the earlier ‘Delphis Collection’ of studio pottery in standardised shapes which launched in October 1963. New glazes were introduced following a visit by Guy Sydenham and Tony Morris to the Vallauris factory in France in 1966. These were more reliable (and probably safer) than those previously available. Production employed a team of paintresses under the initial guidance of Tony Morris. The bold designs and colourful glazes were instantly in tune with 1960’s fashion and such was the popularity of the range that the factory struggled to keep pace with demand.

The leading figures who developed the Delphis series were designer Robert Jefferson, potter Guy Sydenham, and very talented painter Tony Morris.

The Delphis series consisted of about 75 shapes. The shapes were standardised – but the colour, decoration, glazing of each piece was unique – enabling a large pottery to produce work with a hand crafted look, but on a commercial scale. The designs were marketed as “irreproducible”. The Delphis series became Poole’s best selling series, and continued until its withdrawal in 1980.

What stands out about the Delphis series as a whole is the use of very bold, bright colours and abstract, hand painted patterns. There is frequent use of bright red, orange, and yellow – with the use of black to delineate the patterns and make the designs “pop”.

The piece below is shape 88 and signed by Christine Tate, who was a section supervisor for the Delphis range from 1966-1970. Most pieces of Delphis are signed the the artist/painter, but you will find some from the series that are not signed, but just have the Poole backstamp, and usually the shape number.

Delphis Spear Dish - Shape 88

Delphis Spear Dish – Shape 88

Poole Delphis Bowl, Form 57

Poole Delphis Bowl, Form 57

“To encourage this experimentation and creativity during the early years, each decorator would be given a few hours a week to produce their own work, be it models, tile panels, any artistic output they wanted.  However, Delphis became such a commercial success that demand began to encroach on these creative freedoms with over time been introduced and later with the painters terms of work  changed in 1972 from an hourly rate to piece work”  


Below, some more of the fantastic Poole Delphis pieces I have or have had in my possession: Read more