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

Diana coffee pot & vaseDiana coffee pot & vase
made in Sydney, Australia c.1950s

I have posted Diana pottery before…I am very partial to Diana as it was made in a pottery that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975- very close to where I now live. These two pieces are quintessentially 50s pieces – the vase has a lovely mottled grey outer colour and a beautiful yellow inner. The yellow is repeated in the coffee pot’s lid, the two-toned theme being popular in the 50s.

The shapes of the pieces are also very 50s- the funky asymmetric form of the vase and the tilted line of the coffee pot. You’ll notice that the vase still has its original Diana sticker – stickers tend to make a piece more valuable, and it’s in perfect condition. Likewise the coffee pot, which has never been used.

Regulars to my blog will know that I collect Diana- from the 40s in the colour marking of green and brown [this evidencing my nationalistic streak] and while I love these pieces, they are not part of my permanent collection.

For sale: $AUD125

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60s kitschiness [is my kinda kitschiness]

60s kitschinessMelbourne tray, made in Hong Kong, 1960s
Hornsea sugar bowl, made in England, 1960s
Diana ramekins, made in Australia, 1960s.

An ode to 60s kitschiness – a bar tray featuring the beautiful city of Melbourne in the 60s- terrible image, much touched-up and with an explanatory label; a green ‘Heirloom’ sugar bowl, stoneware designed and produced by John Clappison in 1966 for Hornsea; and a pair of Diana ramekins, made in Marrickville, Sydney in the late 60s.

A range of 60s aesthetics: the tacky, the patterned and the late-modernist. All now very desirable and collectable. People collect bar-themed paraphenalia [‘barphenalia’] – Hornsea is oh-so collectable now, and Diana pottery [and ramekins especially] is becoming very desirable.

All these items are in good vintage condition, and are for sale: Melbourne bar tray: $AU20, Hornsea Heirloom sugar bowl: $AU25, and the Diana ramekins: $AU20.

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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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.

70s goblets

Diana ‘Safari’ goblets
made in Australia 1970s

My regular readers know how much I love Diana pottery- made in a pottery near where I now live, in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975. I especially love the 40s and 50s pottery…and until recently have not so much enjoyed the 70s [having actually lived through it in Australia– it was rough.]

BUT now I have a photographer son- who takes all my images- and he totally embraces the 70s. Where I see brutalist brutalism, he sees a weird, fresh take on colour and form.

I have not- I note- seen him embrace my love of the 40s and 50s. I have tried. Lord knows. Parental responsibility is taken seriously. But- no dice. Clearly, we can only embrace that which we have not personally lived through. Until… we see it through fresh eyes.

For Diana ‘Safari’ aficionados- I have other pieces available on the blog. And- the goblets are for sale: $AU25.  They are in great vintage condition.
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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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40s Australiana

Diana vase
made in Australia 1940s

Diana made art pottery out of premises that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975. Unlike many other Sydney–based potteries of the time, Diana made only domestic and art pottery, rather than industrial items – capitalising on the huge demand for domestic wares with an ‘Australiana theme’.

This small vase is a double from my collection, so I am reluctantly parting with it. It was also manufactured in classic 50s colours [powder pink, baby blue] and also came in a lustreware glaze. This vase comes from the ‘Australiana’ collection; it is hand-painted in bushland colours; and it also came in a eucalyptus green colour. Because the vases are hand-painted there is quite a variation in the glazed colours: you can just see some green tones creeping into the bark-coloured brown tones.

The vase is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU25

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60s kitschiness [is my kinda kitschiness]

60s kitschinessMelbourne tray, made in Hong Kong, 1960s
Hornsea sugar bowl, made in England, 1960s
Diana ramekins, made in Australia, 1960s.

An ode to 60s kitschiness – a bar tray featuring the beautiful city of Melbourne in the 60s- terrible image, much touched-up and with an explanatory label; a green ‘Heirloom’ sugar bowl, stoneware designed and produced by John Clappison in 1966 for Hornsea; and a pair of Diana ramekins, made in Marrickville, Sydney in the late 60s.

A range of 60s aesthetics: the tacky, the patterned and the late-modernist. All now very desirable and collectable. People collect bar-themed paraphenalia [‘barphenalia’] – Hornsea is oh-so collectable now, and Diana pottery [and ramekins especially] is becoming very desirable.

All these items are in good vintage condition, and are for sale: Melbourne bar tray: $AU20, Hornsea Heirloom sugar bowl: $AU25, and the Diana ramekins: $AU20.

Diana collection

re:retro shelves & collection1940s 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 the 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 collection. These pieces are 40s and 50s Diana, from a 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.