Sydney Opera House – 70s style

Sydney Opera House souvenir plateSydney Opera House plate
made in England, 1970s

Even in the 70s we were outsourcing our souvenirware to England. This souvenir plate featuring the Sydney Opera House was made by the well known Wood & Sons in Burslem, England.

A crude sketch of the Opera House is surrounded by – the NSW Coat of Arms at the top, and a repeated flora motif around the edge. And that motif is surrounded by a ubiquitous 70s graphic. Everything is mission brown – so 70s! – and very busy. In the 70s you got a lot of bang for your buck.

The back of the plate is no different. A huge scroll of text describes the Opera House—size, position, etc, etc – and then this extraordinary [and completely ridiculous] statement:

“New South Wales proudly claims that this magnificent structure is among the greatest ever created in the history of mankind.”

The 70s! gotta love it! It was the greatest decade ever created.

This plate is for sale: $AUD45

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30s Australian tea spoons

30s Australiana tea spoonsAustraliana tea spoons
made in England 1930s

These 30s tea spoons are by turns nationalistic, kitsch, and utterly adorable.

The spoons are silver plated [ESPN] and very unusual- I haven’t found anything like them in my retro hunting travels.

Each spoon is unique- very unusual for the 1930s; the spoon heads feature different Australian animals- koala, merino sheep, kangaroo, lyre bird, kookaburra and emu; – and the handles are asymmetrical, fashioned to resemble a branch and being adorned with boomerangs and either a kookaburra or a koala.

And then the spoon bowls are all the same, as if the crazy handle was quite enough. Nationalism is all very well, but one must have a precise measure of sugar for one’s tea!

40s Australian souvenirware

40s Australian souvenirwareAustralian souvenirware
made in Czechoslovakia and England, 1940s

Souvenirware in Australia was outsourced in the 40s and these fine bone china porcelain pieces are all by different manufacturers. The drawing of the scene was by a local – but the resultant transfer print has all the hallmarks of the place of manufacture. The orange blush to the images pegs the date of manufacture to the 40s, as does the shape of the middle plate, with its gilt edge.

From left to right, we have scenes from Cairns, Cooma and Forster. Forster features ‘Ocean Baths and a Dance Casino’, which were clearly located adjacent one another. A dance casino is a great idea! Get bored with gambling- have a dance. Get tired dancing- go and play blackjack! I googled it and the Dance Casino opened in 1936 and closed in 1972.

The Cairns piece is by Victoria, made in Czechoslovakia; the Cooma piece is by Royal Grafton Bone China, made in England and the Forster piece is by IBC, Royal Scenic China, made in Czechoslovakia.

For souvenir collectors- a must! This collection is for sale: $75

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60s Venice

Retro Venice souvenir platesVenezia souvenirware
made in Italy, 1960s

Assiduous followers of my blog will know I am very partial to souvenirware. Especially retro, kitschy souvenirware of places I’ve visited. And studied. These plates from Venezia tick all those boxes.

It would be wonderful to be able to buy the retro souvenirware in the actual city but strangely I only ever find these plates in any city BUT the featured city. I bought these plates in a flea market in Barcelona. In Venice I found some great retro souvenirs of Rome. Maybe that’s the nature of souvenirware- it’s purchased and taken out of the country.

The two scenes show the Rialto Bridge [Ponte di Rialto] and the Doge’s Palace [Palazzo Ducale] and both hilariously feature the same gondola in the foreground. For what is a Venetian souvenir without a gondola?

The plates are for sale: $AUD40

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50s golden kitsch

50s kitsch50s kitsch

Following on from my last post in which I extolled the virtues of Towerbrite anodised aluminium, here is another Towerbrite teapot, surrounded by a hand-laced kitten notebook and a timber letter holder featuring a cockatoo.

The three work well together as they are all about gold/yellow tones, are roughly the same size and all feature simple massing/shapes. And all three have a lovely 50s kitschiness.

Each element is in good working order, still fit for purpose- and when not being used make for a interesting display. One can never have too much kitsch.

The golden kitsch collection is for sale: $AUD65

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50s anodised aluminium

Towerbrite anodised aluminium tablewareTowerbrite tea and coffee pots
made in Australia c.1950s

How shiny and lustrous are these anodised aluminium pieces- and how beautiful the bakelite handles! They certainly live up to their name- Towerbrite- and I particularly like the expressed handle connections- very modernist.

Towerbrite was an international company, churning out anodised aluminium pieces in England, New Zealand and Australia from the 1940s-1960s. Aluminium was an expensive luxury item – and owning

I first became enamoured with anodised aluminium whilst visiting a trendy new cafe in Newcastle- they had a long line of various teapots of all colours along the top of a countertop that looked fantastic. This goes to prove my theory that more IS more- and one should collect as many anodised items as one can.

The blue teapots are stamped with “stainless tableware, made in Australia” while the gold set of coffee pot and water jug are unmarked. All are clean inside- no tannin staining- which suggested they are still waiting for a brew. And all are in good condition, no nicks or scratches.

This set is for sale: $115

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60s framed lithograph

B James litho printBambi in the Giant Redwood Forest, framed lithographic print
made in USA, c.1960

Bringing together my love of Bambi, 60s Americana and – weirdly- botany, I present to you this wonderful lithograph- by a B. James [as signed in the b.r.h. corner.] The image measures 48” x 24” [1.21m x 0.6m] in a timber frame, mounted to stand proud of the hessian backing. The total size of this beauty: 54” x 30” [1.37m x 0.76m] – how good would it look hung over your Parker sideboard?

Two Bambis stand dwarfed by the Giant Sequoia trees as the morning sun glistens on the idyllic scene. To say the image references the Garden of Eden is to state the obvious- so one Bambi is clearly Eve, the other Adam. Or this is the sixth day of Creation, before those pesky humans showed up and ruined it all.

Whatever, this picture is iconic. It just fits into the back of the car [with the windows down and the frame peeking out.] And it’s for sale: $AUD155

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70s chunky glass

Kosta Boda candleholders and Vereker owl paperweight‘Sunflower’ Kosta Boda candle holders, made in Sweden c 1970s
Owl paperweight by Eamonn Vereker, made in Australia c 1970s

Continuing my love affair with 70s Nordic glass, I introduce to you the Kosa Boda ‘Sunflower’ candle holders. And adding to my interest in 70s chunky glass is this lovely owl by an Australian glass artist from Adelaide- who is still producing glass work today.

Eamonn Vereker is an Irish craftsman who clearly loves animals. I am particularly drawn to the slightly askew eyes of this creature…sort of looks like Columbo on a good day [the visage, and the wonky eyes.] And the lovely feather-like shapes in the glass interior – the colours do look fabulous with those mustard [Ikea] candles.

A lovely chunky glass set- for all you 70s/owl collectors out there! This set is for sale: $AUD75

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60s Nordic glass

iittala candlestick holders & Kosta Boda terrieriittala ‘Festivo’ candle holders, made in Finland 1966
Kosta Boda Terrier sculpture, made in Sweden c1960s

Continuing my new love affair with retro Nordic glass, here are two pieces from the 60s.

The candlestick holders were designed by Timo Sarpaneva. The candle holders come in 1 ring [as in my image] up to 8 rings- and were designed in translucent and blue glass. Again- the candles are from Ikea [to continue the Nordic theme.]

The Airedale terrier – designed by Bertil Vallien, was part of a ‘Zoo Line’ series of sculptural decorations. Sold as a paperweight or as a piece of stand-alone sculpture, these pieces are now quite collectible. Just saying.

The beautiful chunky glass looks fantastic next to a window, or as a table centrepiece.

This collection is for sale: $AUD115

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70s Nordic design

Chunky 70s glasswarePukeberg Glass ‘Solifleur’ vase made in Sweden c1970s
Kosta Boda ‘Igloo’ candle holders made in Sweden c1970s

More of my Nordic glass collection –from the 70s. The single stem vase is known as ‘Solifleur’ [although a French term] and the candle holders are called ‘Igloo’. Both are made of chunky glass, so reminiscent of the 70s.

The vase was designed by Uno Westerberg for Pukeberg Glass, and the candle holders were designed by Bengt Edenfalk for Kosta Boda. Pukeberg Glass is well known for their monumental glass pieces – and this vase is kind of the pinnacle of their chunky 70s look. Meanwhile, Kosta Boda was going all icy in the 70s, with many bowls, figurines and candle holders having a frozen-water-captured-in-glass theme.

And as is my wont – the candles are by Ikea. All the pieces are in excellent as-new condition.

This fabulous set is for sale: $AUD125

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