Designer Desire: George Cook

Mosaic of George Cook pottery items for Ambleside Pottery

Earlier this week, we wrote about a piece of Ambleside pottery we bought. Today we’re going to show you a few more examples of work by its maker, George Cook. Cook was the founder and main designer-maker of Ambleside Pottery based in the southern Lake District, Cumbria. He ran the pottery from 1948 until he retired in 1968, when he sold the premises to Brian Jackson. Between 1959 & 1966, he trained Gordon Fox who currently owns & runs Kentmere Pottery.

George Cook pieces regularly come up for sale at auctions across the UK and occasionally appear on eBay. They’re very reasonably priced… for the time being!

The 1954 Rydal Women’s Institute programme reveals how the group held their April meeting at George Cook’s studio. A pottery demonstration formed part of the event. The studio was located in North Road, in an abandoned corn mill (see bottom photo taken in April 1886) by Stock Ghyll, Ambleside.  The pottery remained in existence until the 1980s. At present, it operates as the Giggling Goose Café. Apparently, examples of the pottery can still be found on the roof above the kitchen window.

George Cook, founder of Ambleside Potterycredit

Stock Ghyll Mill, North Road, Amblesidecredit

Additional image credits: Worthpoint

Dish of the day: Ambleside Pottery

Vintage Ambleside Pottery slipware dish | H is for Home

We don’t go into charity shops that much any more, but we had a mooch in a couple yesterday – after viewing the auction at Hartley’s in Ilkley (a nice town for a day out if you’ve never been – auction, independent shops, cafes etc). We made a few purchases including this cute little vintage slipware dish.

Detail from a Blue slipware pottery dish produced by Ambleside Pottery | H is for Home

It was made at Ambleside Pottery which was founded by George Cook in the late 1940s. This is quite an early example and rather charming, we think. They also produced some fabulous sgraffito designs which have real mid century modern style.

Stamp detail from a Blue slipware pottery dish produced by Ambleside Pottery | H is for Home

The pottery closed in the 1980s. It’s developing a wider following of collectors, but is still very affordable. Strangely we saw the best piece of Ambleside Pottery we’ve ever come across in Ilkley – a huge 1950s flagon-like slipware jug. It was for sale at the aforementioned auction. We couldn’t attend on bidding day, so left a bid. Alas, we didn’t leave one high enough, missed out – and have regretted it ever since!

Ooh la la!

Vintage Parisienne and Paris Café pattern side plates | H is for Home

We bought these two lovely vintage Paris side plates this week – what classic 1950s designs!

Vintage Rigeway Parisienne side plate | H is for Home Vintage Alfred Meakin Paris Café side plate | H is for Home

They’re quite similar, both featuring French café scenes, but were produced by different makers – namely Ridgway and Alfred Meakin.

Back stamp from vintage Rigeway Parisienne side plate | H is for Home Back stamp from vintage Alfred Meakin Paris Café side plate | H is for Home

The illustrations are gorgeous – café society, stylish ladies and gentlemen, parasols, hats… and poodles!

Detail from vintage Rigeway Parisienne side plate | H is for Home Detail from vintage Alfred Meakin Paris Café side plate | H is for Home

They display very well – catching your eye and drawing you in for a closer look – something different to notice each time. Available to buy in our webshop now.

Designer Desire: Raija Uosikkinen

Mosaic of Raija Uosikkinen designs | H is for Home

There’s such a goldmine of vintage Scandinavian designers from which to choose, we’ve decided upon yet another this week – Raija Uosikkinen (1923-2004).

She is probably most well-known for her fruity Pomona and folk art Emilia patterns for Arabia, where she worked from 1947 to 1986. She also designed annual Christmas commemorative collectors’ plates for the company between 1978 and 1983.

The Finnish designer’s work is most easy to find on Tradera (the Scandi version of eBay), Etsy and to a lesser extent on eBay.

Portrait of Raija Uosikkinen

Image credits:

Bukowskis | Dishware Heaven | Flickr | Retronomi

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Bitossi bull

Vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

Look at this fine fellow!

Vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

The vintage Bitossi bull was a favourite buy from last week. It was designed by Aldo Londi, the company’s artistic director for over half a century. This piece dates from the 1950s/60s era.

Underside of a vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

Bold colour, stylised shape and impressed, textural decoration are all classic hallmarks of Aldo Londi’s Rimini Blu.

Maker's mark on a vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

As you can see, it’s factory marked to the underside – and condition is very good with no chips or cracks – just a bit of age-related crazing to the glaze. It’s a good size too, measuring just over 30cm in length, so a real eye-catching piece. A classic bit of mid century modern home décor! Available to buy in our web shop this week priced at £150.

Designer Desire: Wolf Karnagel

Mosaic of Wolf Karnagel designs | H is for Home

The most well-known designs by Wolf Karnagel (b. 1940) are ones he produced for German companies, Lufthansa and Rosenthal.

In the 1980s, he designed around 120 food service items for the airline. From cutlery, cups & saucers, tea & coffee services, drinking glasses, condiment sachets and napkins to the trays it was all served upon.

Latterly, he has produced award-winning designs for KPM Berlin and Kahla. Functional and tactile, his designs are influenced by Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus movement.

His work is regularly available on Etsy and eBay.

Wolf Karnagelcredit