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
The Apollo Series Vases – Royal Norfolk UK, 1960s.
Way back in July 2011, on the previous version of this site I posted about a spectacular very large blue vase with “Apollo 11” stamped underneath. I couldn’t find anything out about it until after several comments on the blog it was identified by Steve Optix from Retro Mojo UK as being produced by Royal Norfolk (UK).
What I love about this series is the way the textured ripples on the surface remind me of the Apollo rockets on take off when you had all gasses and steam rippling and flowing down the sides of the rocket. The designer of the series is yet to be identified.
Apollo 11 Vase, Royal Norfolk, UK
Over time, in my experience, all mysteries to do with vintage ceramics are resolved. Late last year Steve from Retro Mojo put together information about the Apollo series forms, and below is a summary of the background discovered. Read more