I’ve never come across a dinnerware set quite like this one before – consisting of 2 very different styles and production techniques.
The maker is RIDGWAY (Staffordshire). The cups and bowls are hand thrown from a terracotta clay and glazed in a dark olive green matt glaze – A great shape too – they are wide at the bottom and narrower at the top.
They’re really quite chunky – and you would think they were handmade by a studio potter – except for the stamp on the bottom.
In almost complete contrast is the bone china plate-ware designed for this setting. It is bone china, with hand-painted greens and blues – but when its all together – the design simply works, with the green hues of the plate ware tying it all together. I think it is a fascinating experiment in tying together traditional plate ware design, with the developing “hand made” movement of the late 1960s.
The pattern is “ROMANY”. (not to be confused with Denby Romany and many other makers who used this name during the 1960’s)
The backstamp is from the 1960’s. Ridgway were quite a large group of Staffordshire Potteries produced many brands including – Colclough, Paladin, Portland, Adderley and Gainsborough potteries.
Of course Ridgway were also the producers of the now iconic “Homemaker” by Enid Seeney
Ridgway Romany back stamp
Quite often I come across some very smart decorative patterns on Staffordshire pottery marked “Biltons”, with designs from the 1950s to 1970s.
There doesn’t seem to be much written about this maker, except for the timeline below which comes from ThePotteries.Org . They produced mainly inexpensive dinnerware for the domestic mass-market…and their peak seemed to be in the 1960s when they introduced mass production decoration techniques such as rubber stamped pattern making, and multi colour machine printing.
As happened frequently with many of the Staffordshire potteries, Biltons changed ownership often before being unable to continue into the 21st Century due to both changing markets and financial pressures.
Colin Melbourne (1928-2009) ranks highly along with the best of British Ceramic Designers of the 20th Century. It seems surprising that his work is not more widely known and appreciated outside the U.K, but many of his designs seemed to be ahead of their time.
The vase below I came across late last year is from Melbourne’s “Petra” – a series of several different camouflage style patterns for Royal Norfolk, Staffordshire, c late 1950s.
Colin Melbourne “Petra” Series Vase
Colin also produced a now very collectable series of animals for Beswick, another for Midwinter and one for Bossons. Colin also worked with David Queensberry on a series called “Drumlanrig Melbourne” with striking abstract patterns. You can see examples of most of these series on the UK website RetroSelect .
I think though, one of Melbourne’s most striking series was “Memphis”, for Crown Devon c1960. Read more