Hello. We like to collect well-designed vintage pottery (and lots of other stuff) from the 1950s,
'60s and '70s. Here are some pictures and info of a selection of the things we've found.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Fishley Holland studio pottery.

One day I'll get this lovely piece of studio pottery rigged up properly as a table lamp. Because, although it may not look like it, this pot was designed to be a lamp base. There's a hole at the top for the light fitting and a small one at the back for the cable.

The lamp base is hand thrown in red clay and is a fine example of Fishley Holland studio pottery. I would say the lamp base dates from the 1950s or 1960s. The base has a signature W. F. Holland, I think this is for William Fishley Holland who's pottery was at Clevedon, Somerset during this period.

The dark grey background colour is a perfect shade for the pale green raised slip decoration. The wonderful decoration is of leaves and natural forms which are highly stylised and free-flowing.

Personally, I think this pot looks really good just as it is. But when I do find a suitable fitting and a shade, I'll let you see how it looks as a lamp.

There's more on Fishley Holland here: Fishley Holland

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Elsi Bourelius Jie flower girls from Sweden. Bye-bye ladies.

These stylised figures of flower girls are by Jie of Sweden. They were designed by Elsi Bourelius. There's a hole in the front of the girl for water and a sprig of flowers. I like the simplified unglazed faces and hands in brown clay, even though they have no expressions and no facial features. I would say they were made about the mid-1970s but I'm not sure of that.

Unfortunately, I have to make some room in my cupboards. And, although it was a hard decision, I have to sell these three figures. So it's a sad bye-bye to the lovely flower girls from Sweden.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Hornsea Pottery Mushroom cruets. A spot of 1950s magic.

 I saw this blog-post on Downtime: Mushrooms on Downtime 

All those wonderful mushrooms reminded me of these spotty mushroom salt and pepper sets.

Made by Hornsea Pottery in 1955 or 1956, they have white stalks, the caps are in gentle pastel colours and they have a raised white slip dot decoration. There's a hole in the bottom with a rubber stopper for filling the cruets.

Mushroom shapes seem to crop up quite regularly in 1950s kitchenalia design styles (as do cacti, apples, cheese plants, etc.). I like these mushroom cruets because they're useful, they look great, and they're good fun.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Briglin studio pottery. Mmmm chocolate and cream.

It's those distinctive colours of chocolate and cream that make these attractive pots so identifiable as Briglin Pottery. There's a wonderful hand-crafted feel about Briglin studio pottery. The robust red clay bodies, the swirls and stripes of freely applied earthy, natural colours and the simple yet elegant shapes.

The Briglin studio is unusual in that, whilst many other small studio potteries were located in the countryside of Cornwall, Devon, etc., the founders of Briglin set up their pottery right in the heart of London.

I would think the pots shown here date from around the mid 1970s. I suspect the patterns shown are fairly common and were produced in quite large numbers. But some of the more uncommon designs really are extremely good looking studio pots. And it wouldn't surprise me if Briglin soon begins to become more and more popular amongst collectors.

At the moment, Briglin pottery seems to sell for quite modest amounts but it may not stay that way for long. When you consider what happened to the price of Troika studio pottery, it may not be a bad idea to be on the look out for a tasty bit of Briglin's chocolate and cream for yourself.

For more information and some superb examples of Briglin studio pottery, there's an excellent and helpful webstite here: Briglin pottery

Monday, 23 May 2011

Stylised ceramic bull by Jema, Holland.

I have these two stylised animal figures, and I think they're both very handsome.

The top one is quite a large and powerful looking bull in hand-painted blues and greens. The surface is decorated with bands of impressed motifs. I'm not sure exactly when he was made but it is marked on the underside Jema, Holland.

The second figure is also of a bull. This one is even more stylised in shape – almost cubist in construction. He's in a smart deep blue, has a finely textured surface and a nice semi-matt glaze. I don't know much about this second bull. I suppose he could have come from Spain. Both bulls are made of earthenware and are hollow.

As part of my scaling-down process, I considered keeping only one bull but in the end could not choose which one would have to go so I decided to keep them both, for now. Although they do take up quite a bit of space, the good news is that they don't eat much.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

An elegant bowl by Larholm, Norway. A mysterious recent find.

A couple of weeks ago, I found this small bowl at a local second-hand sale. It was priced at less than £1 and so I bought it. Not because it was so inexpensive but because I really liked it. The bowl is signed on the base in a hand-painted script Larholm Norway with the number 50. And to be honest, that's a name I hadn't come across before. Initial searches on Larholm pottery have not revealed much information either. So it's all a bit of a mystery really.

Even so, it's got an elegant curving shape and a delicate decoration. Fine trailed lines with blobby endings – like icing on a cake – stand off in relief against a matt black background.

I'll let you know if I find any more information. In the meantime, you'll just have to make do with the pictures.

A tasty bit of Danish Blue.

Here's the last blog-post for now on Einar Johansen Soholm vases. And it's a good one to end with.
This weighty, rounded vase is quite a bit larger than the vases shown in the two earlier blog-posts. It still has the same distinctive matt black collar at the neck but rather than a pattern of tiny triangles, there's a delicate feather or leaf motif that runs round the body. The surface glaze is a very high gloss in deep blue with an iridescent feel about it, which gives the vase a hard almost metallic look.
Made by Soholm, Denmark, the vase is part of Einar Johansen's Blue Series and was first produced about 1964. And doesn't it look good all these years later?

Friday, 20 May 2011

Soholm Blue Series. More Einar Johansen vases

Following on from the previous blog-post, here are two more Soholm vases from the Blue Series. Both designed by Einar Johansen and both from around 1964.

The bottom vase is unusual in shape. It has three sides like the one shown and three narrow edge sides. The vase in the top picture has a more organic shape.

Looking at the shape and surface texture of the top vase again, reminded me of this glass vase. I hope to be showing some glass on Potshots soon but for now, it's on with the pot shots.

Soholm vases by Einar Johansen. The Blue Series.

If you like your vases blue, you'll like these. These little vases are from the Blue Series. Made by Soholm, Denmark they were designed by Einar Johansen. I would say they date from the 1960s or early 1970s.

As well as being an intense shade of deep blue, these vases have two contrasting surfaces, the rich, glossy blue areas are indented with triangular repeat patterns. Sitting next to the blue bodies are the necks in a semi-matt black, almost leather-like, finish.

I'm a big fan of this range of pottery, it always seems to display so well.

Here are two more pieces of Soholm Pottery that I have recently sold on Potshots.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lehmann stoneware vase. A Danish delight.

I'm hoping to do a couple of blog-posts on Scandinavian ceramics. This seemed a good one to start with.

Although this vase is perhaps by one of the less well-known of the Danish potteries, it's one of my favourites.

Made by Lehmann, I would think in the 1970s but I'm not certain of that. The vase is solid and stocky. The majority of the surface has been left unglazed, revealing the beautifully textured, almost black stoneware. The hard, sharp stoneware has an almost volcanic ash feel about it. This is all complemented perfectly with the thick, shiny, deep-red glazed top.

Judging by the Lehmann label, it looks like the makers were proud to be Danish. And, if you ask me, they can be proud to have made this pot, too.

if you know who the designer of this pot was, I'd be pleased to know.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I know what you mean, mate.

I had to chuckle when I read this on Rob's blog this morning: Rob's Robert Jefferson storage jars
Although we shouldn't laugh really. Completism is an incurable affliction that can strike anyone.
Seeing that wonderful collection of Robert Jefferson spice jars, reminded me of how easy it is to be drawn into the need to find the whole set.
And spice jars seem to be the perfect bait to tempt collectors in. You start by finding a nice looking spice jar, then you find another, next you're trying to find how many were made and before you know it, you're hooked.
I got caught on the spice trail too. My quest was for these Hornsea Pottery spice jars from 1965, 1966. The retro designs are screen printed in black onto white jars. The jars have nicely turned wooden lids.
I still have the spice jars but decided that I had to give up collecting them when I discovered they were made in at least two different sizes and in four different colours – white, brown, blue and green. I mean, be reasonable, enough is enough.
So, a good excuse to show some stylish retro spice jars. But also a gentle warning to others of the hidden dangers of the vintage spice jar.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Denby Potters Wheel by David Yorath. An eye for style.

Denby is an internationally known name associated with the design and production of high-quality pottery. Over the years Denby have made countless ranges of tableware in their satisfyingly heavy, hard-wearing stoneware. And very nice it is too.

But away from the coffee cups, dinner plates and salt pots, you can occasionally find a strand of Denby pottery that deserves its own special mention. And, in my view, this is one such range.

This is Potters Wheel by Denby Pottery. Designed by David Yorath and producd in 1973 or 1974, I suppose items such as these – vases, lidded pots, small bowls – would be termed as giftware. There is a large range of Potters Wheel tableware which is perfectly fine but somehow not quite as eye-catching as these examples.

And there's certainly plenty to catch the eye. The bodies have nice contrasting finishes. Bands of matt surfaces sit next to richly coloured glossy surfaces. Rings of raised clay dots add a subtle texture and an appealing tactile element. The variable colour schemes and uncomplicated shapes work well too.

Although made by a huge company known mainly as a mass-producer, these carefully designed items seem to have a hand-crafted individuality to them. And that's one of the reasons why I'll be keeping an eye out for more.
There's a bit more information on Potters Wheel here: Potters Wheel on Retro Pottery Net

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Upsala Ekeby Mari Simmulson wall tile. The art of the brave.

In a recent blog-post on Poole pottery, I referred to two little Delphis dishes as miniature works of art. Which, in a way, they are. But that got me thinking about which pottery might come into the category 'pottery as art'. Then I remembered this rather strange but beautiful wall tile.

I think you'd have to agree that this tile is pure abstract art in stoneware and glaze.

The wall tile is by the talented and creative ceramicist Mari Simmulson and was produced by Upsala Ekeby, Sweden. I would think the tile dates from the late 1960s.

The stylised flowering plant with its thick stems, fills the stoneware tile with deep rich tones of reds, greens and blues. The whole composition is then highlighted with flashes of bright white.

I have no idea how commercially successful this wall tile may have been at the time it was made, but I can imagine that it must have taken great bravery for a manufacturer to trust in such expressionistic work. So for that courage, Upsala Ekeby deserve great credit. As, of course, does Mari Simmulson.

There's information on Mari Simmulson and some examples of her work here: Mari Simmulson 

There's also more information and pictures on this excellent blog-site devoted to Upsala Ekeby: Mari Simmulson on Upsala Ekeby Samlarna

Dagny and Finn Hald stoneware pottery. A Potshot not-got.

Here are some pictures of some beautiful pots.

On this occasion, they're not my pictures and, unfortunately, not my pots.

The pots are from Norway and are by husband and wife Dagny and Finn Hald. The two ceramic artists produced these wonderful stoneware vessels in the 1950s. I like the simple shapes and earthy colours. The expressive decoration reminds me of tribal or aboriginal art.

The pictures are from an excellent book I found some time age – A Treasury of Scandinavian Design, Edited by Erik Zahle, Published by Golden Press, New York, 1961. The book covers the design work of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden from the 1950s. I hope to show more of this book at a later date.

So far I have not been able to find a Hald pot of my own – but a lucky someone who did is here: Hald pottery at Retro Scandinavian 

And (thanks Janne) also here:  Finn Hald at What's blogging my view

Poole Delphis dish by Ros Sommerfelt.

Two colourful dishes by Poole Pottery. From the Delphis range, these small, seven-sided dishes have vibrant abstract patterns and were made in the early 1970s. Both are signed by the artist. The top dish is by Ros Sommerfelt, her signature is the one shown on the left of the two base pictures. I'm not sure who the artist was on the second dish.

Nice shapes, strong colours and expressive decoration – three factors that ensured these little dishes made their way into the Potshots collection.

If you're lucky, you can still pick up smaller items of Delphis like this at a reasonable price. And, to me, it's worth the small investment in order to be able to display these miniature works of art.

If you want to compare these Delphis items with the later Aegean range, there are some examples here: Poole Aegean range and here: more Aegean

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Hornsea Pottery Studio Craft, 1960. Who needs colour?

Who needs colour?

Not if you have shape and texture like this.

I like how the shapes are nicely varied. There's a tall torpedo-shaped fluted vase, a Y-shaped jardiniere and a squat-shaped bowl. Two of the pots have a wonderful texture of carefully arranged raised dots or pimples (named as White Bud). The silky transparent glaze leaves only the colour of earthenware clay.
These elegant and subtle vases are by Hornsea Pottery and they were designed by John Clappison. The name of the range is Studio Craft, Home Decor and they date from 1959 - 1962.

My favourite is the small bowl. It was made in 1960 but it's another one of those well-designed items that looks as modern today as the day it was made.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Aviemore Pottery. One to watch for the future, perhaps.

These vintage vases are by Aviemore Pottery, Scotland.

And, I'm sorry to say, that's just about all I know about them. I don't know who designed, made or decorated them. I'm not even sure when they were made but would guess they are from the late 1970s. So perhaps this is a fairly useless blog-post.

Well maybe. But I did want to show these pots because they do have some style about them. For a start, they have elegant shapes (I like the very narrow necks – even though this makes them impractical for holding flowers), the glazes are silky semi-matt in subtle colour shades, and the abstract resist patterns add the feeling that they were individually hand-crafted.

There's one other interesting thing about Aviemore Pottery like this – at the moment, it seems to be a very good value buy. You can pick up a small bottle vase on Ebay for less than £5.00. A large vase, like the one in the top picture, would cost around £18.00.

One to watch for the future, perhaps.

If you do know anything about Aviemore Pottery, I would be keen to fill-in some of the blanks.