Australia in the #40s and #50s

Australian Souvenirware,
made in Czechoslovakia, England, Australia 1940-50s

A selection of hand-coloured, photographic transfer prints of various Australian cities and landmarks made in the 40s and 50s. What a great wall feature they’d make!

Featured herein are beaches, streets, bridge and bridge approaches and traffic bridges, parks, clocks, landmarks, harbours, town halls, parliament houses and rivers [and I quote] :

  • Harbour Beach, Manly
  • Prince Street, Grafton
  • Belmont, Lake Macquarie
  • Bridge Approach, Shoalhaven River from Showground, Nowra
  • Bridge, Shoalhaven River, Nowra
  • Traffic Bridge, Macksville
  • Machattie Park, Bathurst
  • Dr Evershed Memorial Clock, Bega NSW
  • Bottle Rock, Coonabarabran
  • Ulladulla Harbour, NSW
  • Town Hall, Rockhampton QLD
  • Perth, WA
  • Parliament House, Canberra
  • Murray River, Corowa.

Makers are all noted on the backstamps: Victoria, IBC, Royal Grafton Bone China, Royal Stafford Bone China, Westminster China [the last, weirdly from Australia.]

All fifteen plates are in great vintage condition and provide a snapshot of important landmarks in Australia, as judged by tourists in the 40s and 50s. Or – as I mentioned – massed together they would make a fantastic wall feature.

The souvenirware plates are for sale: $AU120

Buy Now

An ode to 70s design

Fred Press cheeseboard & Bessemer piecesFred Press, American artist
Lionel Suttie, Australian industrial designer

Fred Press was an American artist, and from 1950 to the 1980s was the chief designer of Rubel & Co on NY’s Fifth Avenue. He set out to revolutionise giftware, bringing his artistic sensibilities to domestic ware. Here we see a cheese/fruit board, in the shape of an apple, with one of his iconic drawings reproduced on the ceramic tile. The tile itself was made in Japan and is set in American teak, and it is signed Fred Press.

Lionel Suttie was an Australian industrial designer, bought in to Bessemer to revolutionise the design of utility ware– butter dishes, sugar bowls and table ware. This was the first time mass produced melamine products were thought worthy of design – or that they could make could make a design statement. In this image- a russet brown lidded condiment bowl, an avocado cup and saucer and a yellow sugar bowl.

Altogether a fine homage to the 70s -and- 70s designers.

This set is for sale: $AUD105

Buy Now

Dalmatian s&p

Dalmatian salt & pepper shakers
made in Japan, 1960s

These fabulous dalmatian shakers could well be modelled on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians characters- but aren’t marked as such. The manufacture place and time is right, but they weren’t made under license to Disney [or at least there is no space on the base to note this.] Either way- they were probably inspired by the popularity of the film- and are super cute. Just look at that wink!

Salt and Pepper collection is growing as a hobby- they are small so don’t take up much space, and have been made since the mid Nineteenth Century. America has several museums devoted to salt and pepper shakers.

This would be a good way to start your own collection: there is a bit of wear to one dalmatians red collar, but otherwise they are in good vintage condition. They are for sale: $AU15

Buy Now

Blue Moon

Poole Blue Moon tea cups,
made in England 1960-1975

Poole is a very well known pottery, which started operating in Dorset, England in 1873 – and continues today. I am particularly fond of the pottery produced between the 30s and 60s.

These tea cups – very modern in shape and sans handle – are part of the Cameo range. The colour is ‘Blue Moon’ –a deep blue exterior, with a slightly off-white interior [pure white would be too stark…this off-white is just right.] The set of eight tea cups and saucers have the traditional mid-century Poole mark on each piece.

The cups don’t hold much tea – not that I have used them as such – the lovely colour and repetition of form has had them serve a purely decorative function. But they would make for a lovely tea party.

For sale: $AUD145
Buy Now

Lotte

Figgjo ‘Lotte’ plate
made in Norway, 1960s

This design, part of Figgjo’s Turi-Design Lotte line, depicts the eponymous Lotte in garden settings. The design also comes in shades of green, and the whole dinner set including butter dish and salt and pepper shakers was made. The line was discontinued in the 80s and is now very collectable. Etsy and EBay have entire sections devoted to Lotte!

This dinner plate has some crazing to the outer glaze, but I think that just makes it more charming. Crazing doesn’t affect its use, and adds cred. It would be a nice idea to collect bits and pieces from both the blue and green collection and mix and match; like many things- the entire setting is quite overwhelming and less is definitely more!

The plate is for sale: $25

Buy Now

40s Australiana

Diana vase
made in Australia 1940s

Diana made art pottery out of premises that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975. Unlike many other Sydney–based potteries of the time, Diana made only domestic and art pottery, rather than industrial items – capitalising on the huge demand for domestic wares with an ‘Australiana theme’.

This small vase is a double from my collection, so I am reluctantly parting with it. It was also manufactured in classic 50s colours [powder pink, baby blue] and also came in a lustreware glaze. This vase comes from the ‘Australiana’ collection; it is hand-painted in bushland colours; and it also came in a eucalyptus green colour. Because the vases are hand-painted there is quite a variation in the glazed colours: you can just see some green tones creeping into the bark-coloured brown tones.

The vase is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU25

Buy Now

Soda syphons

Soda syphons
made in West Germany, and England c.1970s

Following on from the cocktail themes of recent posts, these soda syphons are a must have for the retro bar. The red syphon is unbranded, but marked ‘West Germany’ on the base, and the yellow syphon – although similarly unbranded, was made by Sparklets in England. Both syphons have a 1 litre capacity, have their original cartridge holders, and come with a box of Sparklets cartridges. I love the 70s image of mother and children contemplating the delights of making soda water on the Sparklets box!

The syphons are anodised aluminium and in good condition and working order. I can’t give any guarantees that the Sparklets cartridges still work…they are over thirty years old, but luckily soda cartridges are still available to buy as the design hasn’t changed.

Elsewhere on this blog I have showcased old glass soda syphons, made in Australia. If you are interested in syphons, and their history- read on!

These syphons are for sale: $AUD75

Buy Now

Terra Ceramics lazy susan

Terra Ceramics ‘Daisy’ lazy susan
made in Australia, c.1965

The ubiquitous daisy- symbol of the 60s- is stylised and showcased on these Terra Ceramics pieces. Terra Ceramics was proudly Australian, and they have imbued their daisies with the colours of the bush-  olive greens, tans and browns. This set is a lazy susan: four segmented ceramic pieces lift out from around the central circular piece, with the whole lot on a burnished anodised aluminium tray. Which turns around – hence ‘lazy susan’.

The pieces are stamped “Terra Ceramics Australia, Terama hand painted”. It’s now unusual to find hand painted ceramics- and if you look at the five individual pieces you can see subtle differences in the hand-painters work.

I have also collected a matching Daisy ramekin, and Daisy salt and pepper shakers. The Daisy collection continues!

The lazy susan is in excellent vintage condition and is for sale: $AU75

Buy Now

70s fishy platter

Fish platter
made in Japan, 1970s

I don’t collect much from the 70s; – 40s to 60s are more my thang; but this fish platter caught my eye. It’s quite 60s in it’s modelling- but definitely 70s in it’s decoration. The recesses between the fins and the tail make a clever handle; and the arc of the handle is beautifully repeated in miniature to form a little fishy mouth. Superb styling!

I can’t find a makers mark- it just has a ‘made in Japan’ sticker on the back. I expect that these fish platters were exported all around the world in the 70s- everyone has fish, right? I’ve teamed the fish with some 70s Crystal Craft coasters…keeping with the 70s theme.

The fish platter is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU35

Buy Now

Hawaii 5-0!

Hawaii souvenir wall plaque
made in Japan, 1960s

Careening right back into kitsch territory, this is a Hawaiian souvenir from the 60s- made in Japan! It’s a wall plaque- how good would this look hanging in a contemporary interior? Very, very good!

The plaque is hand painted, and features a dancing hula girl, Hawaiian beachscape, complete with flowers, palm tree and background volcano; all framed in a pineapple. Because nothing says Hawaii like a pineapple!

The plaque is in excellent vintage condition and ready to hang. It’s for sale: $AU15