Lustreware

Pates lustreware platterPates lusterware plate
made in Sydney, Australia c. 1950s

Ah lusterware! Loved by me and…hardly anyone else –and….loathed by many. But it was such a quintessential expression of the 50s – and a world-wide phenomenon – in that it linked ideas of ‘modernity’ with ‘metal’ or machinery. In short, lustreware was all about the space-race.

Lustreware is a metallic glaze produced by using metal oxides in an overglaze, placed over an initial colour and re-fired in a kiln. Lustreware’s shininess and metallic-ness was very revolutionary in the 50s – so used to pastel pink and baby blues. It was all about the new ‘machine’ era.

This swan/peacock platter, though- is familiar in form. Pates produced this piece through the 40s in rather sedate glazed colours and then updated it using lusterware glazes in the 50s. The Pates catalogue actually describes this as a swan/peacock platter, as if it is an amalgam of the two. Either way, the bird’s head is the platter handle and the lusterware is – awesome!

The lusterware platter is for sale: $AUD75

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15 thoughts on “Lustreware

  1. I like the type of surface this produces, but this kind of stuff they did with it (as in this example) is terrible kitsch :-). I am sure it is possible to do something totaly beautiful with this type of glazing, something with simple, clear, modern forms. Anyway, its a matter of taste…

  2. I love lustreware and have a small collection of early Australian pottery and swans. I think the platter is very pretty and I also love kitch.

  3. I’m a bit strange too – I do like lustreware. I have a delightful 1960s Japanese little child’s teaset covered in elephant and circus transfers, but I seem to be the only one that ‘gets’ it.

  4. Count me in too Edwina! I love lusterware–my first piece was a teapot and creamer that belonged to my grandmother-many of the pieces that I own are the blue and orangey gold that was prevalent I think in the ’30s and ’40s-I love the piece you have shown here-I think the colors are gorgeous-and I love the beautiful arch of the swan’s neck-

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