40s Australiana

Diana Flannel Flower pie dishDiana ‘Flannel Flower’ pie dish, made in Sydney, Australia 1940s

I collect Diana pottery- and as a landscape architect I am particularly fond of the Australiana series of flowers produced in the 40s. Here we have the flannel flower, hand-painted- in a pie dish. The Flannel Flower is the floral emblem of NSW [and has been associated with this State since Federation in 1901.] I wouldn’t say that this is a terribly accurate or particularly artistic rendering of the flannel flower but it represents an important milestone in Australian pottery- where the fashions and obsession with all things English were replaced with a nationalistic interest in Australian iconography.

I have posted several other Diana Flannel Flower pieces [see several posts, below] but this is the first pie dish I have come across. It’s in excellent condition and clearly stamped Diana on the back.

I’ve teamed the pie dish with a little whimsy- a 40s koala figurine smoking a pipe. Not so much Australian iconography as Australian kitsch at its best!

The pie dish is for sale: $AUD75 [and I’ll throw in the koala as well!]

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50s Diana jug

50s Diana jugDiana jug
made in Sydney, Australia 1950

This is a fantastic Diana jug- described as J4 and selling for 9/- in 1950, when it was made. That’s 9 shillings- 9 ‘bob’ in the old parlance [or just less than half a pound!]

The jug was produced in this matt white glaze, and the brown and green drip glaze that has featured previously on this blog. I collect Diana in the brown & green colourings- but love the deco stylings of this jug and am sorely tempted to keep it.

I’ve styled the jug as a vase- the matt white glaze looks fabulous with the off-white colour schemes of most contemporary walls- and it’s nice to have a retro piece that has a few functions.

The jug is for sale: $AUD75

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Sydney winter

Diana pottery Diana and daffodils

Some more of my Diana pottery collection- an inter-war pottery manufacturer located very close to where I now live. The pottery operated from 1940 to 1975 – and these vases evidence a post-war nationalism in the use of drip glaze colours : the particular Australian browns and greens of the Eucalypts.

Winter is daffodil time in Sydney: I like the colours here and particularly like the Diana vases on the timber table. Daffodils and Eucalypts are a bit of a mixed metaphor – but the old adage that a group of three a collection makes, I think, is true.

Diana ‘prawn’ pottery [sold]

Diana 'prawn' potteryDiana prawn pottery
made in Sydney, 1956-1964

I have shared my fascination with Diana Pottery many times on this blog- and having just sold some iconic Flannel Flower pieces, thought I’d post this rather more kitschy ‘prawn’ collection.

Picture this: it’s the mid 50s in Australia. Nationalism and modernism are joining forces in artistic expressionism and so Diana comes up with : prawns. Prawns as an emblem of a new national dish. Prawns because we have whopper sizes in Australia. Prawns, because they are easily rendered in clay and are a simple, easily recognised form…and prawns because- well every other national dish was already taken.

We see here a large platter with fluting and capacity for two different dipping sauces in the middle; a sauce boat and saucer [presumably for tartare sauce] and a side plate- all with painted red prawns as handles, and the same fluting. Accompanying these are two ramekins and a sauce boat – with handles in the form of prawns, but unpainted.

There is much conjecture in the world of Diana collectors as to whether the absence of colour/paint/glaze on these matt white pieces is intentional, or whether they were merely unfinished. There are many pieces that have the same moulding or casting of figurative elements as pieces that were hand-painted but were sold unpainted- vases, plates, ramekins, the lot. My own feeling [and completely unsubstantiated opinion] is that the unpainted pieces were entirely intentional…one could mix and match with the painted pieces and not be quite so overwhelmed with bright red prawns. And I say this as a person dedicated and entirely wedded to kitsch. Even I have limits.

This collection comprises six pieces which are all in good condition -and is for sale: $AUD175

Diana pink & white Flannel flower vases [sold]

Diana vasesDiana pink & white Flannel flower vases
made in Sydney, Australia c.1960s

Some more of my Diana collection. Flannel flower is the floral emblem of NSW [and has been associated with this State since Federation in 1901.]  Diana pottery in the 60s produced a number of Sydney specific floral emblems on vases and pots – some were hand painted [and quite garish in my opinion.] I like the more subtle relief work depicting the Flannel flower on these vases.

These four vases showcase the four Diana vase styles that exhibited the flannel flower designs- from back to front in the image: – trough vase, round regular vase, posy ring vase and basket vase.  My Diana collection finishes with these pieces from the 60s…I really can’t bring myself to embrace the pieces that were made in the 70s.

The four vases are in excellent condition, and are for sale: $AUD225

Styling with Diana vases

Diana 40s pottery1940s Diana pottery

This is an image of bookshelves I designed for our front entrance room. The bookshelves were envisaged as a series of ‘boxes’ to allow me to catalogue our books, and as a framing device for parts of my collection.  I can change the ensemble pieces around easily – and so far it’s half / half between the books and the pottery collection. These pottery pieces are  Diana, the pottery that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975. Diana pottery had many iterations, but I like these brown and green coloured pieces the best, and I particularly like those jugs with the quasi-kangaroo leg shapes.

I don’t think I can part with my brown-and-green Diana collection, but thought I could use the shelving device to showcase other parts of the collection that I can reluctantly say goodbye to. These feature in posts, below…

Diana ramekins & condiment bowls [sold]

Diana ramekins & condiment bowlsDiana ramekins & condiment bowls
made in Sydney, Australia c. 1950s

I have posted before about Diana, a Marrickville [Sydney] pottery that produced homewares from 1940 to 1975. I live very close to Marrickville, so became fascinated with this pottery and have…  um… collected… a… bit… of it….. ..  .. . .[see proof in myriad posts, below!]

These fantastic 50s ramekins are all in good condition.  I love the way the ramekins, when stacked like this, resemble Daleks [the official nomenclature is ‘scroll ware’, but I can’t help thinking Dalekware.] Each ramekin is stamped “guaranteed ovenproof” and I have tested them and they are indeed still good for oven baking today.

Diana ramekins, a quintessential 50s soup accoutrement, came in either a square or round shape with scroll handle. Diana made sure that all the 50s colours were represented, and like other ceramics of the time, continued the trend of producing multi-coloured dinnerware that could be bought piece by piece- rather than a patterned or mono-chrome set. This meant that if a piece broke, it could be easily and cheaply replaced to make up the set.

Together with the condiment bowls, these ramekins would kick-start any Diana 50s collection. The set is for sale [8 ramekins & 7 condiment bowls]: $AUD155

Diana ring posy vases

Diana ring posy vasesDiana ring posy vases
made in Sydney, Australia c. 1950s

Posy vases were a big thing in the 50s…a vase just deep enough for a single, small flower to float in water, in a ring arrangement that made the posy self-supporting. I have used gum sprigs [with leaves, gum nuts and flowers] in these bowls and the result is quite spectacular.

The first two vases are oval in shape: the third is circular. All three have the beautiful pinks and crimsons so associated with the 50s_ and the middle vase has an incised flannel flower pattern [regular readers will recognise that pattern from a couple of previous posts.]

Regular readers will also be aware of my great love for all things Diana – especially the ‘Australiana’ green and brown coloured pottery. It is with some reluctance that I offer these beautiful vases for sale…I have retained the same shapes/patterns in the green and brown glaze in my collection, and so have to let these ones go.

The three vases are for sale: $AUD75

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Spotty Diana pottery [sold]

Diana spotty potteryDiana ‘spotty’ pudding bowl and jug
made in Sydney, Australia c. 1952 -1957

Diana pottery didn’t start the 50s trend for spots – but it certainly continued it with gusto. During the period 1952-1957 all sorts of domestic ware was glazed with a single strong 50s blue, yellow or pink background with white dots. Large white dots, not your namby-pamby polka dots!

Spotted pottery is now popularly identified with the 50s, and it is getting increasingly harder to find. I love Diana pottery- partly for their Australiana-themed output [see many, many posts, below] and partly because it operated not far from where I now live. Nostalgia- and proximity- a heady mix!

These two pieces are not the same blue- probably hand painted by different people on different glazing days – but don’t they look smashing together? The robust pieces are still able to be put into kitchen service- I have testified on this blog before about the number of lovely christmas puddings I have enjoyed made by my sister-in-law, who often cooks them in a Diana pudding bowl [and I enjoy two gifts in one!]

I have seen the pudding bowl on an antique seller’s website for $120 – with $95 for the jug.  They are now becoming rare and are collectible- and popular.

For sale: $AUD155

Diana Flannel Flower pottery

Diana Flannel Flower potteryDiana Flannel flower pottery
made in Marrickville, Sydney c.1954

Some more of my Diana collection. I have mentioned before that the Flannel Flower is the floral emblem of NSW [and has been associated with this State since Federation in 1901.]  Diana pottery in the 50s produced a number of Sydney specific floral emblems on vases, pots and kitchen cookware– and some – like these Flannel flowers- were all hand painted.

This set comprises: a lidded casserole dish [hand painted with ‘28’ on the base] a stovetop pan [‘9’ on base] and a large baking dish [‘6’ on base] –these all have the ‘scroll handle’ that Diana used on many of its kitchenware. These pieces are all ovenproof, although I don’t think any of these has seen the inside of an oven. The pie dish [has ‘1’ on base] and the large serving platter [“4”] found out the set.

All pieces are in perfect condition with the exception of the large platter which has a small nick in its rim. For Diana collectors, or Flannel flower devotees, this set is for sale: $AUD250

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