70s brutalism

Diana salt & pepper shakers
made in Australia, 1970s

Further to the Diana pottery from the 40s and 50s recently discussed- meet some Diana from the 70s! This range is called ‘Safari’.

Earthen tones [tick] brutalist, oversize shape [tick] chunky form devoid of decoration [tick.] This is the 70s alright!

I have also collected the teapot, and creamer in Safari: but like a lot of 70s ware, I find less is less. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. However- if you are a big fan of the 70s [ie: you didn’t actually have to live through that time] you may like to consider the teapot and creamer.

The brutalist salt and pepper shakers are for sale: $AU25

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Wall pocket vases #50sstyle

Diana wall pocket vases
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

I have posted much about Diana, a Marrickville [Sydney] pottery that produced from 1940 to 1975. I live very close to Marrickville, so became fascinated with this pottery and um…collected…a…bit…of it….. ..  .. . .

By the late 50s Diana was experimenting with ‘Australian’ colours [read: bush colours] and moving away from the classic 50s pastels of powder blue, baby pink, soft yellow, etc. These wall pocket vases were also made in those colours, but now they were being hand-coloured with the greens and browns of the eucalypt bushland.

The hand-applied glaze meant that no two vases were the same- and the new colours were enthusiastically taken up by a community eager to embrace new concepts of nationalism. Every vase shape and form was re-created using the new colourway; so you have art deco inspired shapes – to more modernist, assymetrical shapes- but now having the new nationalist colours.

These three wall pockets are part of my own collection- but alas- I do not have the wall space to do them justice and they have been boxed up for a decade. It’s now time they went to someone’s wall – to display eucalyptus sprays – of course!

The three Diana wall pockets are for sale: $AU225

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Bakewells blue & white striped

Bakewells jug & pudding bowl
made in Sydney, Australia 1930s

Bakewells started production in Sydney 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 [jugs, pudding bowls, coffee pots and ceramic canisters.]

Here we have a blue and white striped jug and pudding bowl from the 30s; the blue and white colours were used to resemble English Cornish Ware and were the premium pieces produced in the 20s and 30s. Every day pieces- were termed ‘Cream Ware’ while the blue and white pieces have the MADE BY BAKEWELLS, SYDNEY N.S.W. backstamp.

Being handmade in the 30s, the colour of the glaze and the clay used varied, so each piece is slightly different.  Three different sized jugs were made, and six different sized bowls; with the largest bowl having a pouring lip. This meant that pudding bowls could also be used as mixing bowls, and vice versa.

This set of jug and bowl are for sale: $AU105
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40s ‘Utility’ jug

Fowler Ware ‘Utility’ jug
made in Australia 1940s

I’ve featured a lot of Fowler Ware pudding bowls and jugs on this blog: the 40s colours and shapes are so fabulous. This jug is stoneware, and from the Fowler Ware ‘Utility’ range – perhaps off-white wasn’t as glamorous as the coloured pieces -and could be used every day.

Whatever, the beauty of the off-white stoneware is that any fruit/food/kitchen implement stored in them looks fantastic. Collecting in a single colour is quite dramatic, and these pieces look fantastic in a white or neutral-toned contemporary kitchen. I was inspired by a friend who has about 15 off-white bowls sitting on the top of her kitchen cupboards- in that space below the ceiling.

And the beauty of the jug- it doubles as a vase! Win-win-win!

I have matching Utility stoneware pudding bowls for sale elsewhere on the blog. Start collecting today!

The Utility jug is back stamped, and in excellent vintage condition-for sale: $AU35

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70s Golden Glory

Johnson ‘Golden Glory’ teacups
made in Australia 1976

The back stamp of these 70s tea cups 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 teacups are looking so fresh and unblemished today. Also- never been out of the box.

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 is ‘Golden Glory’- which, double entendre aside, is a selection of lovely golden Australian flowers. This pattern 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 Johnsons ceramics 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.

This boxed set of four teacups and saucers is for sale: $AU45 Buy now for Christmas!

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Bakewell graduated jug set

Bakewell graduated jugs
made in Australia 1940s

These fabulous graduated jugs are called ‘Beulah Ware’- named for Bakewell’s wife, Beulah. They are functional jugs, with just a hint of art deco styling in the handle shape and the graduated patterning.

Bakewell 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 – with ceramic canisters, bowls and jugs.

The earthernware jugs came in a set of four: unfortunately we only have three here. A full set of graduated jugs is next to impossible for find now – and originally, they came in this pastel green, a pastel yellow and a baby blue. You’ll note the subtle variation between the green colourings- this was due to the hand-glazing technique, and was a deliberate policy to allow for replacement pieces, should you break one of a set.

The graduated jugs are for sale: $AU95
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Shaving mugs

Keel Street Pottery [KSP] shaving mugs, made in England c.1900-1930s
Koala shaving mug, made in Australia, c.1930-1940s.

Shaving mugs are highly collectible and becomingly increasingly hard to find.

The ceramic ‘woodgrain’ finish shaving mugs [woodgrain- presumably to render the pottery more ‘manly’?] by KSP predate the pastel colours of the 50s, and yet anticipate those very colours. Yes, now I am certain the woodgrain would help with the whole manly act of shaving. The pink, yellow, & green shaving mugs are all in perfect condition, and marked ‘KSP, made in England’ on the underside.

By contrast, the blue shaving mug is made in Australia by Koala. Koala pottery had a short run, and produced- as far as I can tell- only shaving mugs. I would love if the shaving mug had a koala’s face on it, but alas, it’s a purely perfunctory item, other than that cool blue colour.  It’s also in tip-top condition.

The four mugs are for sale: $AUD100

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Pates planter

Pates planter
made in Australia 1940s

This fantastic planter was made by Pates Pottery, which operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990. As you may have noticed, given the tenor of the posts of this blog, being a Sydneyite I have an affinity for the potteries that were producing domestic ware in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Pates’ designs and colours were influenced by the 1940s art and interior design trends; and produced work with this ‘Australiana’ colour glaze- brown and green – apparently reminiscent of the Australian bush. This nationalistic colour combination was very popular, and since I am a landscape architect, and quite fond of the Australian bush, I have tended to collect Pates’ pieces in this colour range. I have another pair of Pates planters, in the same shape but a different ‘colourway’ on the blog – you might like to check out.

This large planter looks fantastic supporting a range of succulent plants: I would advise keeping the succulents in their pots and styling them like cut flowers.

The large planter is for sale: $AUD45 – buy now for Christmas!

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.

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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