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.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Mysterious girl. Stylish 1950s bust of a girl.

Here's something I found recently about which, I have to admit, I know nothing at all.

This beautiful head and shoulders of a girl is made from that sort of chalky pottery that easily chips. She's about nine inches high and is very much in the 1950s style. There's an unreadable signature on the back with the wording Bust No. 4. I wonder if there are more in the same style?

I like the stylised, exaggerated shape and the curved lines. The colours work well too.

A mystery she may be but I'll have to make room to display her somewhere.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Matching lamp base for Poole Freeform vase

It seems like ages ago when I did a blogpost on a Poole Freeform vase from the 1950s. Remember this:  Poole Freeform vase. 

Here is a matching item that I have had displayed with the vase. This item is actually a lamp base but I think it looks more elegant displayed without any of the fittings. The design is hand-painted, I think by Gwen Haskins, and I have an idea that it dates from the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Friday, 22 March 2013

André Hellé animals book from 1911

As well as my interests in pottery and glass, I do have a soft spot for vintage children's books. And I wanted to show you a good one I found recently. It's a wonderful book.

I picked up this vintage french children's book without knowing too much about it but the more I have looked into it, the more fascinating it gets. The book is Droles de Betes with words and illustrations by André Hellé. As far as I can discover, the book was produced in 1911 and that makes it all the more remarkable when you see the layout and the stylised, modernist style of illustration.

The first thing that strikes you about the book is its size, the book is roughly 17 by 12 inches (40x30cm), it's very big. The typography is beautifully done with hand-drawn text and titles, and the wording incorporates many quirky line drawings. The colour illustrations have been printed separately on white paper and tipped-in.

But it's the avant-garde style of the book that is so interesting. The animals are toy-like and so simplified. I imagine that this book must have looked very striking and innovative in 1911.

There are more excellent pages in the book and I'll show them in another blog-post soon.

There's more information on André Hellé on this blog by his admirers: André Hellé 


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Vintage storage jars from the 1960s.

Just a quick blog-post to show three nicely textured vintage storage jars.

They're from the Portmeirion Totem range designed by Susan Williams-Ellis and were first produced in the 1960s.

The textures are great but I like the colours too.

More Portmeirion on Potshots: here and here and here

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Groovy. Westminster vases 1960 1961

Here are a couple of vases by Hornsea pottery that I've always found quite pleasing to the eye. The range is Westminster (I don't know why) and it was produced in 1960 or 1961.

Hornsea seem to have perfected the technique of vertical grooving filled with colour, they used it on the beautiful Summit range, the Summertime range, and others. On this example the grooves are tapered and are very fine by the time they reach the bottom. As far as I know, there were only two sizes of Westminster vases made and only three colours were used. The colours are similar to some of those used on the Summit range so this range displays well with Summit. The pointed arch-shape at the top of the grooves is an elegant feature and the gently flared top is a nice touch too.

One of my favourites.

Hornsea Summit 1960 - 1965

Friday, 8 February 2013

1970s playtime. Make your own sculptures with Galt Octons

How cool is that?

I made it all by myself, you know.

Forgive me but I've been messing about with a vintage toy I found recently. And great fun it is too.

In the age of complicated electronic toys and games, who would have thought you could get so much pleasure from something as simple as creating sculptures from bright coloured, interlocking, plastic octagons. They do say simple things amuse simple minds.

Funnily enough though, what you could end up with is a very stylish object: a visual, light catching sculpture that would look superb on display in the window area of a modern interior. And your sculpture is, of course, infinitely variable for when you feel like a change.

The toy is Octons by UK manufacturer, Galt Toys. I would guess this version dates from the 1970s.

C'mon, don't pretend you wouldn't like a go too.

(Added 27 June 2013) It looks like Galt Toys are still going strong today - and they're still making a version of Octons: Galt Octons

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Slip-decorated dishes from the 1950s. More butterflies.

The butterfly plaque featured in the last blog-post reminded me of these colourful butterfly pin dishes.

These small dishes are only about 4 inches (10cm) wide but they are really nicely decorated with hand-applied butterfly illustrations. The image of the butterfly is made up of a series of dots and trails in coloured slip that must have taken great skill and accuracy to apply.

The colour combinations are fabulous and so typical of the 1950s.

The dishes are by Hornsea pottery and were made in or around 1956. There's quite a range of similar Hornsea slip-decorated items from this era. Remember the fish dish posted a while ago: Hornsea fish dish 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Nice catch. A Hornsea butterfy wall plaque from 1972

Look what I was lucky enough to net this week. A butterfly.

I managed to find this colourful specimen lurking in a local charity shop. It's a ceramic wall plaque but is sometimes referred to as a teapot stand. The butterfly is moulded in relief and the plaque has a glossy glaze.

The plaque is by Hornsea and dates from the 1970s. It was over a year ago now when I did a blog-post on a fish version of the same plaque. Remember this: fish wall plaque

I do like the butterfly plaque and am pleased to have it in the Potshots collection but, between you and me, I think I prefer the fish.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Anyone for coffee? Portmeirion Totem from the 1960s.

As a follow-up to the last blog-post, here are the coffee pots from the Portmeirion Totem range, designed by Susan Williams-Ellis in the 1960s.

I don't think people use coffee pots as much as they once did but the shape and surface texture on these pots make them worth keeping, even if it's only to have on display.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Textured surfaces from the 1960s. Portmeirion Totem.

Some time ago, I did a blog-post on a range of Portmeirion pottery with a wonderful printed design called Tivoli, remember this: Tivoli

Here is some more Portmeirion but this time the pottery is decorated with a series graphic motifs in raised relief and very pleasing it is too.

Designed by Susan Williams-Ellis, the range is Totem, it was first produced in 1963. The range was available in several colours including blue, green and white and was very popular.

The brown items shown here are from a coffee set. The set also had a very distinctive tall coffee pot (I hope to do a blog-post showing that soon).

Printed surfaces or textured? I'm not sure which I prefer. So as I can't decide, it's nice to have both in the collection. Susan Williams-Ellis designed other interesting surface designs for Portmeirion and I'll be doing further blog-posts on those in the near future. In the meantime, there's lots more information on Portmeirion here: Portmeirion pottery

Friday, 18 January 2013

Schmider fish 1950s. Love those lips.

Don't you just love those lips.

Here's a quirky item from the mid-1950s. A wonderful spotty fish with green fins and bright red lips.

I think it was originally designed to be used as an ashtray and was made by Schmider, West Germany.

According to Petra on Pottery, this is a design by Anneliese Beckh, Schmiders main designer between 1950 and 1983.

I don't often come across Schmider pottery but I did do a posting on a couple of items from the Tigris range some time ago: Tigris cats

Monday, 7 January 2013

Mdina bottle vase and stopper.

Some time ago I did a blogpost on a couple of Mdina vases. Remember this: Mdina vases

I said then that I'd try to show some more Mdina. Well, better late than never.

This Mdina bottle vase and stopper has been in the Potshots collection for a quite a while now so, as I was photographing some items of glassware the other day, I decided to do a quick shot of it for the blog-site. I'm glad I did because the shot turned out quite well. It's probably because the colours in the glass are so good and the shape is so well proportioned. I specially like the flattened out top on the neck of the vase. And those swirls of colour in the body of the glass.

I would guess the vase dates from the 1970s.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Looking after the pennies, 1950s style.

If, like me, you're a bit low on funds at this time of year, you may have made a resolution to do some saving up. And to save up, you'll be needing a suitable piggy bank. Luckily for me I have not one but two and they're a couple of beauties.

I can think of no finer way to store-up the surplus small change than with one of these Hornsea Pottery penny piggy banks. Designed in the mid 1950s, almost certainly by John Clappison, they are in a simplified, stylised shape with short legs and long snouts. I particularly like the cylinder-shaped bodies that end in a curly tail.

You can see some more good-looking pottery piggy banks here: The Piggy bank page