Shalom! and Merry Christmas!

Shalom ceramic wall tile and a Christmas storyA Christmas Story, by Richard Burton, 1966
Shalom ceramic tile, c.1960s

Shalom and Merry Christmas! These two pieces have a lovely synchronicity, in shape, colour and form. The funky symbol of Shalom- Hebrew for peace- has a handwritten message on its timber back – ‘Jerusalem’ which I take to be its place of manufacture. The deep blue and orange of the ceramic tile are so very 60s. The tile is framed and has a hook for hanging on its back- this Shalom is meant for display.

Meanwhile Richard Burton- THE Richard Burton -has written a story about his [impoverished] Welsh childhood and subsequent Christmases. He also provided the illustrations. Apparently an acTOR and an author/illustrator. It’s a bit of a turgid read, but this book was continually republished until the late 80s. Must have been doing something right. I bought it mainly for the lovely graphics on the hardback cover.

Wishing all my readers Shalom, and Merry Christmas! And I am sure Richard Burton would want to add his wishes also.

This set is for sale: $AUD45

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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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!!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.

Swinnertons Chelsea Blue

Swinnertons Chelsea Blue crockerySwinnertons Chelsea Blue
made in Staffordshire, England c.1950s

This set comprises 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates and 4 cake plates. The colour is described as ‘duck egg blue’.

I had been hunting for the matching Chelsea Blue coffee and tea sets, but upon reflecting how lovely the harlequin crockery sets are [see for example Swinnertons Nestor Vellum ‘Moonglo’ sets, below] I can’t actually imagine having a set all one colour.

Also, for some unexplained reason, the Chelsea Blue jug looks so wrong with the rest of the set- it is overblown, and has some quasi-20s affectations…what were they thinking? This is the 50s, people! I couldn’t bring myself to buy it – and left it on the shelf- which was probably a first for me.

This would be a good starter set for a harlequin table setting for 8 – just collect similar 50s colours in the same simple, rounded forms. Or just use as is – how good would cake look on those duck egg blue plates!

For sale: $AUD120

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Fowler Ware jug [sold]

Fowler Ware jug,
made in Australia 1930s

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

This is a blue and white striped jug from the 30s; the blue and white colours resembled English Cornish Ware and were the premium pieces produced in the 20s and 30s. Every day pieces- ‘Cream Ware’ were made under the Fowler’ Utility’ label, while the blue and white pieces- coffee pots, pudding bowls and jugs- have a Fowler Ware & Sons backstamp.

This jug appears never to have been used: it is pristine inside and out. Quite a rare find.

The Fowler Ware jug is for sale: $AU75

Studio glass paperweights

60s studio glass paperweightsStudio glass paperweights
made in Australia, c. 1960s

These two paperweights show the 60s fascination with the ‘controlled bubbles’ glass technique. Controlled bubbles turned up in objects as diverse as vases, ashtrays and objects de art.  And paperweights.

Paperweights seem slightly redundant in these days of the ‘paperless’ office. But how lovely do these studio glass pieces look backlit on the windowsill? The pig paperweight has a deep blue interior and graduated bubbles and the round paperweight has a deep red interior and random bubbles. Click on the image for a larger view and admire the colours and bubbles!

Both pieces are unsigned, which is not unusual in art pieces of the 60s, but I have it on good authority that the pieces are Australian. Murano glass in Italy, and art glass makers in France, Britain and America were all producing controlled bubbled pieces in the 60s.

There are many paperweight collectors out there [check out www.paperweight.org] and museums dedicated to collecting and exhibiting paperweights. From the Paperweight Collectors Association I learnt that there are three periods of paperweight collecting:

The Classic Period [1840-1880] – mostly French made
The Folk Art Period [1880-1940] and
The Contemporary Period [1940 to present]

A very venerable history! These two very collectible paperweights are for sale: $AUD105

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50s Diana vases

Diana vases,
made in Australia 1950s

As you know, I collect Australian pottery made by Diana- the post-war pottery was situated very near where I now live in Sydney. I collect the ‘Australiana’ pottery in colours of eucalypt green and bark brown- but the same vase shape came in a multitude of colours to suit the changing interiors of post-war Australia.

Here are two posy vases- or ring vases- which display floating flowers [rather than stemmed flowers] and a small matching vase. The deep crimson and powder blue colours are SO 50s; but the geometric patterning on these vases harks back to the 20s and Art Deco. The same shaped vases were made well into the 70s, when they were handpainted [quite garishly, natch] with Australian flora.

Diana produced ‘art pottery’ from 1940 to 1975. The pottery is unique in that it only produced art and domestic pottery products, rather than having antecedents in industrial pottery. I have a number [she said, modestly] of Diana pieces featured on this blog; jugs, pudding bowls, ramekins, casserole dishes, platters, coffee pots…and vases.

This collection of vases is for sale: $AU75 [the small vase has original Diana sticker]

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Egg cups by Poole

tea & eggs 50s style!Poole egg cup set,
made in England 1954

Poole is a very well-known pottery; it started operating in Dorset, England in 1873 – and continues today. All Poole is now highly collectible- but I am particularly fond of the pottery produced between the 30s and 60s.

This Poole egg cup set is in the twintone colourway [THEIR term] ‘Seagull and Teal’. The teal makes for a nice connection with the tea caddy. The ’seagull’ is a lovely mottled pinky-creamy-colour. The five piece set is in excellent condition; the plate under the egg cups has circular indentations to help steady the cups.

Bushells tea caddies, tin and mass produced to mark commemorative occasions, are now quite sought after. Here we have her Maj, Prince Philip and both countries’ flags to mark Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. This caddy has now sold.

The Poole egg cup set is for sale: $AU75

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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
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Carlton Ware ‘contemporary ware’

Carlton Ware leaf dishes and salt & pepper shakersCarlton Ware ‘Contemporary Ware’ dishes and salt and pepper shakers, made in England 1951-1961

Many people are familiar with the botanically-themed Carlton Ware ceramics [and having a background in horticulture, I am quite ‘familiar’ with them myself.]  Various daisy/foxglove/wild rose motifs were made in the 30s, 40s and continuing into the 50s, but in 1951 a modernist theme emerged.  These leaf-shaped dishes and cubic salt and pepper shakers are an example of this and were dubbed ‘contemporary’ ware.

The four monochrome dishes have a wonderful abstract leaf shape, and so appeal to me. I also like the austerity and the somewhat obtuse cube-shaped shakers. These pieces are now quite hard to come by, and are all in perfect condition.

For sale: $AUD150

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