Kookaburra teaset

Noritake kookaburra teasetNoritake kookaburra teaset
made in Japan c.1933

Have I mentioned that kookaburras are very collectible right now? Perhaps once or twice!

This delightful set of teapot, creamer and cake plate was made in 1933- as evidenced by the design of the Noritake backstamp. The backstamp also indicates the pieces were “exclusively made for the Commonwealth of Australia market” – this fascinating information found on the Noritake website.

It seems kookaburras were highly sought after in the 1930s too. On this set, the kookaburras are paired on one side of the piece, and single on the other. They are all handpainted, and quite delightful.

All pieces are in pristine condition.

This set is for sale: $155

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60s browny goodness

Graham Kerr lazy susan, Vogue plate, Mikasa jugGraham Kerr lazy susan, made in New Zealand, c.1960s
Vogue patterned melamine plate, made in Australia c.1960s
Mikasa jug, made in Japan, c.1960s

And now for something a little different- a collection of items connected by colour, and age.

You may remember the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr? The original TV Masterchef. It not, then perhaps this quote from the introduction to one of his cookbooks from 1971 might jog your memory:

“To millions he was TV’s clumsily ingratiating Galloping Gourmet, a master of sauces and saucy innuendo…”

He seems to have also produced a line in timber veneer lazy susans, to which he added his name in fancy gold script. This lazy susan still works a treat- they made sturdy ball bearings in the 60s. It would be great to have it in the centre of one’s dining table, holding saucy-sauces for your dining companions’ pleasure!

The Vogue plate is a ‘squircle’- a round-edged square shape and it features a lovely abstract composition of cooking paraphernalia. And the lovely caramel/two-toned jug by Mikasa [“oven to table to dishwasher”, #c4800] completes the collection.

A lovely trio of browny-60s goodness. This set is for sale: $AUD65

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Personal collection

Diana vase
made in Australia 1940s

This is part of my personal collection: you will recall that I like Diana pottery [originally made right near where I now live] – in the colours of green/brown [Australiana- nationalistic colours discovered in the 40s and 50s.] These nationalistic colours- reminiscent of the Australian bush – are dear to me as a landscape architect.

So- while I have many other Diana pottery on the blog for sale, I continue to collect this green/brown Diana from the late war period.  Diana was starting to embrace & recognise colours that made Australia unique.

Then the 70s happened. I don’t collect Diana ware from the 70s- with the exception of the brutalist ‘Safari’ set [see blog below.] The rest of the 70s collection- when the pottery finally closed- is made up of either bland brown or gaudily covered flora. That was the crazy 70s- either abstract nothingness or super-charged vibrancy.

20s Mickey Mouse [sold]

Mickey Mouse brush holder
made in Japan, 1920s

You can date Mickey Mouse by his eyes: here Mickey is depicted in the traditional ‘pie-eyed’ way from the 20s and 30s, rather than the way he was drawn in the 70s. [‘Pie-eyed’ being a circular pupil shape with a pie-shaped cut-out.] This lovely ceramic Mickey is from the 20s- he is pie-eyed, hand-coloured and has a little box on his back to take a brush. [I whacked a flower in there; I like the way it looks like he is looking at it.]

I didn’t set out to collect Mickey Mouse – he is uber collectable – but seem now to have pieces from across the decades: a squeaky toy [made in England, 1950s] – a hand puppet [made in Korea, 1960s] and a Disney clock [made in Germany, 1970s.]

This 20s Mickey is for sale: $AU45

Fowler Ware nested pudding bowls

Fowler Ware pudding bowls
made in Australia 1940s

It is rare- very rare- to find a complete set of nested pudding bowls. Look at those fabulous 40s colours! And all in very good condition, too- ready to make puddings!

Fowler Ware created industrial pottery in Glebe, Sydney commencing in the 1840s. After WWII, Fowler Ware moved to producing pottery for the domestic market : their pudding bowls were so popular that they opened a second pottery to cope with the demand.

Fowler Ware also sold pudding bowls under the ‘Utility’ brand: these were white or cream, and while also made of stoneware, somewhat thicker and more ‘utilitarian’ than these harlequin pudding bowls. I have – as you can imagine- collected these as well!

The nested pudding bowls are in great vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU150

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Bakewells tea canister

Bakewells tea canister
made in Australia 1925-1935

This fabulous ceramic kitchen canister is called ‘Beulah Ware’- named for Bakewell’s wife, Beulah. The fantastic ‘tea’ font and decoration is all art deco.

Bakewells started production in 1884 and like so many potteries, moved from making bricks and pipes to domestic wares in the early part of the twentieth century. By the 1920s, they were manufacturing vases [‘exclusive ware’] and domestic ware [kitchenalia, including canisters.]

The earthernware canisters came in a set of five: Flour, Sugar, Rice, Tea and the smallest, Sago. A full set of canisters is next to impossible for find now – and originally, they came in this pastel green, a pastel yellow and a baby blue.

You may remember that I found the ‘Flour’ canister, sans lid- and now use it as a vase [see post, below.] And that just recently I posted a set of matching graduated jugs- same hand-coloured green glaze and with the same art deco styling.

The tea canister is in fantastic vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU65

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Boomerang dish

MCP boomerang dish
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

MCP [Modern Ceramic Products] started production in the 1940s, in Redfern, Sydney. The simple geometric forms of their vases have a very modernist styling and each has a highly textured exterior finish which contrasts with the smooth internal glaze. The two-toned aesthetic meant each vase could be made in a wide range of iterations- albeit along the 50s spectrum of baby blue, pale pink, pale yellow and pastel green.

This is a boomerang dish, with the usual MCP textured green exterior and smooth pink interior. Like most 50s pottery, the fine edge between the two glazes is described in white. So elegant. The boomerang shape was a 50s staple: not only was it ‘Australian’ but it had the added benefit of being ‘unusual’; not a pure geometric shape like most round or square dishes.

The dish was used to serve sweets; but here I have loaded it with bakelite teaspoons from the same era. I like the colours; the spoons are Tilley bakelite, also made in Sydney. Tilley specialised in cutlery, especially picnicware [and I have collected quite a bit.]

The MCP boomerang dish is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU45

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Arabia ‘Kosmos’

Arabia ‘Kosmos’ espresso cups
made in Finland, 1962-1976

Arabia is so collectable at the moment! These are ‘Kosmos’ espresso cups & saucers, designed by Gunvor Olin Gronqvist [or GOG as noted on the backstamp!] in the early 60s.

Kosmos came in brown, blue, and olive [as with this set.] The cups are marked ‘66’ and the saucers ‘69’, which are the catologue numbers rather than the date. It’s interesting to note that Kosmos was the first ceramic set to introduce espresso cups – previously only coffee and tea cups were produced. Perhaps there was something in 1962 that influenced Finnish people to embrace the espresso?

The espresso cups and saucers and in great vintage condition, and ready for use. They are for sale: $AU55/pair.

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Penny Inkwells

Penny inkwells,
made in Victoria, Australia 1880-1910

This is a collection of ‘penny’ inkwells; there are ceramic and so-called because they were cheaply made bottles that cost a penny to buy. They were crudely made and one of the first ‘disposables’- they were simply thrown out when they were empty. So this little collection is quite rare: most penny inkwells that survived the nineteenth century are chipped or broken.

The ceramic is stoneware with a salt glaze. Each inkwell is a different colour, depending on the mix of the original clay colour and the finished glaze: they range from a light tan to a deep russet brown. No two the same!

Most penny inkwells were used by school children; but would occasionally also be bought to be used in homes. There are many websites devoted to the collection of inkwells, and Ebay has a section for ‘collectable inkwells and ink pots’. Single penny inkwells in good condition are selling for around $45.

The collection of 8 penny inkwells is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: POA

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!!Cuban Fantasy!!

Midwinter Modern ‘Cuban Fantasy’ plate
made in England 1957

Cuban Fantasy! the name given to this fantastic 50s ‘atomic’ design plate says it all.

The plate was designed by Midwinter’s in-house designer, Jessie Tait [b. 1928]- who also designed ‘Cannes’, ‘Bali Hai’, ‘Tonga’ and ‘Patio Hollywood’. Clearly she had a taste for the exotic!

The divided plate has a “permanent underglaze colour, acid resistant, hand engraving” as it attests on the backstamp.  The Cuban Fantasy pattern also came in a vase, cup & saucer set, condiment jar, and a cake plate.

Midwinter pottery is having a renaissance at the moment – collectors are going mad for it. I’ve seen this plate on Ebay for $75. For you, dear reader, the plate [which is in excellent vintage condition] is :$AU55

I’ve teamed the Cuban Fantasy with a Debonair camera from the same period- as are the Observer books. The camera and books are available for sale also on the blog.