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
This is an Arabia Finland pattern you don’t see very often called “Pallas”.
It is very delicate china, with an equally intricate and delicate stylised floral pattern in gold.
The design is by Raija Uosikkinen, and produced c 1965-1970.
As far as I can tell it was a series of cups, saucer and plates – but not a complete dinner setting.
The sides of the cup are ribbed or scalloped – like a sea shell, which adds to the delicacy and overall feel of the design.
Arabia Finland Pallas
Arabia Finland Pallas
Arabia Finland designs Anemone and Rosmarin were patterns designed by Ulla Procope, both around the same time. I see variations between the exact dates, but both appeared to have been in production c1962 to c1976. I have seen Anemone described as being in production until 1993, but only from 1 source.
The designs are on the same “S” shape series of forms as was “Ruska” and several other designs.
I find it fascinating how just a single colour can transform the appearance and often monetary value of otherwise the same object. Perhaps it has something to do with changing tastes. The brown reddish iron oxide of Rosmarin might remind too many people of the 1970s or 1980s whereas the blue of Anemone seems more timeless.
Anemone tends to bring much higher prices on the resale market than Rosmarin.
The pattern is the same, and forms are the same – its only the colour that is different. This colour though changes the appearance of how the design ‘sits’ on the surface, in addition to the human eye often having a preference for blue colours over brown.
There are also more variations in intensity of colour in Rosmarin than in Anemone – the strength of the iron in the colour can vary from an almost wash-like appearance on some pieces of Rosmarin, to a wide range of dark and light iron oxide hues on other pieces. Anemone doesn’t seem to have quite the same variations.
It may also have something to do with the chemical difference between the 2 oxides – cobalt for Anemone, and iron for Rosmarin. Regardless though, I find it all quite interesting how colour can transform the same object.
Arabia Finland Anemone
Arabia Finland Rosmarin
Arabia Finland Anemone
Arabia Finland Rosmarin
This impressive looking series called “Studio” was released by Denby c1961 as a dinnerware set with a number accessories or decor items.
It seems pretty uncommon these days, except for some reason the accessories like jugs, small vases etc. which seem to pop up reasonably often.
The forms for this series were designed by Kenneth Clark who also designed the Gourmet range – and this shape was also used for Ode and Echo (a blue version of Ode).
Kenneth Clark (1922 -2012)
“Took a domestic product that had become boring in its ubiquity and transformed it with technical knowledge and design flair into a vehicle of delight and usefulness. His designs honoured the traditions of studio pottery while incorporating the technical innovations of commercial potteries”
The glaze on studio is a beautiful speckled soft glossy grey with soft edged dark brown vertical lines. Inside the glaze is a glossy cream colour. The glaze would probably have been designed by either Albert or Glynn Colledge.
Denby Studio Tall Jug//Vase
Denby Studio Cups – image via MotherMust Etsy
Denby Studio Jug – via ebay
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.
The Denby design “Romany” is from the 1970’s – but I don’t have an exact date.
Apparently this striking glaze came about from an accidental mixing of the wrong proportions in a glaze recipe – and when it was fired and shown to Glynn Colledge he loved the effects of the glaze with its runs and thicker brown areas on top of the “old gold” glaze…so it went into production as a range.
It has that very 1970’s handmade feel about it, and is yet still contemporary – especially with some of the forms such as the bowl in the first image. Some of the pieces of Romany display lovely colour runs in the glaze, and the colour can vary from piece to piece quite a bit as you can see below – but this all adds to the charm of the design I think.
The Romany glaze has a lovely satiny smooth feel to the touch as well. Denby pottery is also all very tough stoneware – so if cared for it will easily last for decades.
Ulla Procope was the designer of the forms for this now iconic series of teapots by Arabia Finland. It was produced from 1955 to 1972 in a hard earthenware. There were 2 sizes that Im aware of. There were also accessories such as a such bowl and milk jug which you don’t see very often now.
The simple, streamlined and elegant modernist form with its cane or rattan handle has become a classic, and much loved design.
It was released several plain colours including plain white, stoneware brown and black (in both matt and gloss finishes)
Probably though, it is the designs by Hilkka Liisa Ahola on the GA forms which have become the best known and most often seen nowadays.
Arabia Finland GA3 Teapot, Ulla Procope
Arabia Finland GA3 Teapot, Hilkka Liisa Ahola Sunflower Pattern
Until recently I had thought that the well known Arabia Finland “Kaarna” design was by Ulla Procope (1921-1968). However, more research recently has made me question this. The Finnish websites “laatutavara” and “dishwareheaven” both attribute the design to Goran Back, as do a number of other sources. Unfortunately the authoritative book “Arabia” by Design Museo Finland doesn’t list the design.
To throw confusion into the mix, another design “Mahonki” is often confused with Kaarna.
One thing is clear though – Mahonki and Kaarna all have the same forms or models which are known to be designed by Goran Back.
The form is referred to as the “GD3” series of forms
Mahonki is most often referred to as being a design by Ulla Procope – but this refers to the design of glaze colour and style, not the form.
To complicate the background of these designs, Ulla Procope died in 1968 at about the same time these designs were being released, so the probability is that both Kaarna and Mahonki were collaborative works – which may have been completed after Ulla’s early death. Read more