Johnson OF Australia

Johnson Bros [Aust] dinner plates, 1975Johnson OF Australia dinner plates
made in Queensland, Australia 1975

The back stamp of these 70s plates is Johnson OF Australia – [reminds me of Lawrence OF Arabia!] Johnson Bros [Australia] produced transfer printed stoneware crockery marketed as “tough, utilitarian ware” – which is why these plates are looking so fresh and unblemished today.

Johnson Bros [Australia] was a division of Johnson Brothers England- at the time one of the largest domestic pottery producers in the world. This design wasn’t given a name or a pattern number, but the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has a record of the design: it is described as a “complex radial design with central sunflower”. The plate was collected and added to the Powerhouse collection by a Melbourne artist John Hind.

I have recently started to embrace the 70s – and Australiana from the 70s; and now I have an Instagram account, I have been seeing much 70s Australiana – and Johnson’s plates are much celebrated. There is one fantastic site where Johnson pieces are cut and sanded to make upcycled jewellery: rings and necklaces. It’s a lovely celebration of 70s iconography and the ‘tough, utilitarian ware’ that the Johnson Bros never imagined.

These two dinner plates are for sale: $AU40

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