Here we have a delightful candle holder made in the 1920s. It came from an Estate sale where I met and got chatting to the grand-daughter of the original owner. She knew the candle holder was from the 20s because her grandmother had talked with much affection about its purchase- and long use since then.
The candle holder is unmarked- not uncommon for pottery pieces produced just after the war- but the green glaze and the stylistic influences are classic Art Deco. As is the integral handle- made from the upsweep of the base- all very modern in the 20s and anticipating the modernism of the 50s.
I have teamed the candle holder with a pair of 20s cast iron kookaburras from my partner’s collection [you will recall she is exceptionally fond of kookaburras.] Although they are of the same era, the kookaburras look crude next to the sleek modernism of the candle holder.
The candle holder has some crazing to the glaze at the top [click on the image for a zoomed view]- but that is to be expected from something nearly 100 years old. Other than that it’s in good nick and is for sale : $AUD75
GempoPotteryAustralia money box
made in Japan, 1962-1974
A fabulous retro lion money box – made by Gempo Pottery as part of a zodiac series; this one of course is Leo the Lion.
The money box features the abstract, large–faced form that marks all Gempo Pottery. It is also particular to its period; the stylised features, and the stoneware pottery glazed in rustic creams and browns. As was the custom in Australia at the time, the money box was designed in Australia but manufactured by ceramic artisans in Japan.
The money box comes complete with its original rubber stopper and is in excellent condition. A must for money box enthusiasts and Leo’s alike!
Denby-Langley ‘Canterbury’ pottery
made in England 1960s
Denby has been producing pottery since the early 1800s- and continues to this day. This set – so quintessently 60s, was designed by Gill Pemberton, a potter working for Denby but working out of the Langley pottery just at the time it was taken over by Denby. Gill is well remembered for her innovative and radical designs and for pushing the rather conservative Denby pottery well into the 60s.
I collected each piece of this set individually. It started with the teapot, which is quite small – more like a ceremonial Japanese teapot- from which it takes its cues. I don’t normally warm to brown tones but the form and concentric rings of the teapot won me over.
The jug, sugar and fruit bowl have the same colourings and concentric rings- and the same pared down form. The ‘Canterbury’ design is an example of the late modernism of the 60s anticipating the hippy-earthiness of the 70s. And doing it with consummate style; any brown pottery that looks good on a timber table must be doing something right!
This set is in excellent condition and is for sale: $AUD135
An experiment in styling: a beautiful 50s ‘wave’ vase by Poole with a reproduction glass vase. The old and the new together; ceramic and glass. And pink tulips; a gift from my partner.
The twintone Poole vase was designed by Alfred Read in the 50s – as part of Poole’s ‘Freedom’ range. This range saw asymmetric forms created in the same colour range as existing pieces – so one could introduce a bit of funkiness without going completely crazy. A little bit of modernism could creep into your conservative tea service!
This vase is stamped C97 which indicates a vase in the ‘peach bloom’ [pink interior] and ‘seagull’ [mottled grey exterior] colouring. I have other examples of this ‘twintone’ [Poole’s descriptor] – tea cups and saucers – elsewhere on my blog. The pastel shades of the powder pink and muted grey are such classic 50s colours – but I love how this free-form shape starts to anticipate the 60s.
The wave vase is in great condition, and is for sale: $AUD70
Diana coffee pot & vase
made in Sydney, Australia c.1950s
I have posted Diana pottery before…I am very partial to Diana as it was made in a pottery that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975- very close to where I now live. These two pieces are quintessentially 50s pieces – the vase has a lovely mottled grey outer colour and a beautiful yellow inner. The yellow is repeated in the coffee pot’s lid, the two-toned theme being popular in the 50s.
The shapes of the pieces are also very 50s- the funky asymmetric form of the vase and the tilted line of the coffee pot. You’ll notice that the vase still has its original Diana sticker – stickers tend to make a piece more valuable, and it’s in perfect condition. Likewise the coffee pot, which has never been used.
Regulars to my blog will know that I collect Diana- from the 40s in the colour marking of green and brown [this evidencing my nationalistic streak] and while I love these pieces, they are not part of my permanent collection.
Skyline kitchen utensils
made in England c.1930-1940s
These kitchen utensils are all timber handled [with the exception of the chip cutter in the middle.] Skyline utensils were imported to Australia post war, with the selling point that the handles were colour-coded to describe their function. From L to R : knife sharpener, potato mashed, crinkle-cut chip cutter, pizza cutter, egg whisk, pastry blender.
The utensils are still going strong, the stainless steel blades and whisks equal to modern utensils- and so could be used in today’s kitchens. They are also highly collectible.
Sticking with Australiana of the 30s here we have five pieces by Nell McCredie. McCredie was an architect before she opened her pottery studio in Sydney in 1932 to make fine art pottery by hand. She continued to produce pottery right up to her death in 1968, and she was a vocal advocate for pottery being considered ‘fine art’.
McCredie pottery made vases and domestic ware – often with the distinctive white matt outer glaze seen in this image -and a contrasting coloured shiny interior glaze. The forms were simple and strong, quite different to the fussy forms of other 30s and 40s pottery.
Each piece was signed by hand- by Nell’s hand: “McCredie NSW.” That’s how to tell you have a genuine McCredie.
This [pristine] collection of McCredie pieces is for sale: $AUD175
A wonderful example of a depression era canister – this aluminium sugar canister evidences all the hallmarks of the 30s- drilled, green bakelite handles, mismatched green tones, applied ‘Sugar’ label, and graduated rings to the cream base.
Anodised aluminium was in its infancy- and achieving colour matching next to impossible. So each green lid was slightly different across the whole set of five canisters [and added to this of course, is colour fading over time.] Meanwhile bakelite technology was forty years old- you could get any colour you wanted there.
The size of this canister tells you something about the storage of sugar in the 40s. This canister was second in size only to the Flour canister. Everything else in the series was smaller: Suet, Rice, Tea and coming up last, Coffee. My how things have changed in the modern world! [Coffee should always be the largest!- and what the hell is suet?]
The canister has a few dings due to age, but the anodised aluminium base and lid are in good condition. The canister is for sale: $AUD55
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.