Price Points: Decorative wall plates

Decorative wall plates | H is for Home

Sometimes plates are just too pretty to keep hidden away in a cupboard; too beautiful to dare eat off. This selection of decorative wall plates deserves to be shown off!

They’re works of art that deserve to be treated as such; mount them on a plain wall or lean them on special little stands to display them to full effect.

  1. Ceramic fish shaped decorative hanging plates: £4.28 to £64.76, Etsy
  2. VILLEROY & BOCH Anmut Flowers bread and butter plate – 16cm: £21.90, Selfridges
  3. London Calling plates – set of 4 by Royal Doulton: £40, Amara

There’s no doubting it’s Thomas!

Vintage Thomas Germany porcelain pieces | H is for Home

There’s no doubting Thomas Germany Pottery when you see it – especially from this 1960s period. The designs are fabulous – stylish, crisp and clean.

Vintage Thomas Germany porcelain lidded casserole | H is for Home

We picked up some lovely examples this week – namely a couple of lidded tureens and plates in three different sizes. We said that you can’t mistake it when you see it, but the feel of it is very distinctive too. A fine quality porcelain that feels wonderful in the hand.

Upturned vintage Thomas Germany porcelain lidded casserole showing maker's mark | H is for Home

Designers include Richard Scharrer and Eva Striker-Zeisel. Patterns include Pinwheel (shown below), Arcta, Eclipse and Onyx to name but a few. We couldn’t find another example of the two-tone blue diamond-over-circle pattern we’ve just bought – in books or online. Do you recognise it or know the name/designer?

Set of Thomas Germany coffee cans with Pinwheel pattern | H is for Home

Some patterns are very pared back in subtle shades, others have striking op art designs in eye popping colour combinations.

Thomas Germany Flammfest casserole with tulip pattern lid | H is for Home

We think it’s gorgeous – stylish and elegant. 

Set of Thomas trios with pattern designed by Eva Striker-Zeisel | H is for Home

We currently have a few pieces of Thomas in our shop if you’re interested.

Designer Desire: John ffrench

Mosaic of John ffrench pottery designs | H is for Home

John ffrench (1928-2010) was an Irish studio potter / ceramic artist whose work is fantastically colourful and unique.

ffrench attended the National College of Art in Dublin after which he moved to Florence to attend the Instituto Statale D’Arte to specialise in ceramics. He returned to Ireland in 1962 where he was a founding member of Arklow Studio Pottery. In 1969, he emigrated to Massachusetts to teach and where he he founded The Dolphin Studio. However, he maintained a studio in County Galway where he spent time making each summer.

Check out eBay and Etsy for available pieces. His work occasionally comes up for sale in places such as Sotheby’s and Tennant’s Auctioneers.

At the end of this post is a very short film featuring the artist. It’s part of a 2007 retrospective exhibition entitled A Life of Colour. There’s a book available (shown in the montage above) which contains almost 750 illustrations of his work.

Portrait of John ffrenchcredit

John ffrench video clip from David Shaw-smith on Vimeo.

Additional image credits:

Crawford Gallery | Pinterest

Iden seek!

Three pieces of vintage Iden pottery | H is for Home

We love a bit of Iden Pottery – the subtle colours, interesting patterns and tactile surfaces. You may need to be a bit selective however, some of the early hand made studio ware is gorgeous.

Vintage Iden Pottery lamp base | H is for Home

We bought this fabulous lamp base a while ago, but still haven’t married it up with a suitable shade. We’ve been keeping an eye out for a cream or beige Hessian shade but alas, nothing of the right size or shape has appeared on our travels. We need to make a more determined effort – perhaps an internet trawl is required. It’s such a shame to leave this lovely piece languishing in a storage box.

Detail from vintage Iden Pottery mug | H is for Home Detail from vintage Iden Pottery lamp base | H is for Home Detail from vintage Iden Pottery vase | H is for Home

Iden Pottery was founded by Dennis Townsend when he left Rye Pottery in 1959. The wares were sold by Harrod’s and Heal’s and are well regarded for their quality of design and finish. Their pared back subtlety means that they don’t scream at you from a distance – so keep your eyes peeled for hidden gems on flea market stalls or charity shop shelves.

Vintage Iden Pottery base stamp | H is for Home

Larger objects such as the lamp base work well as stand alone pieces in a variety of interior styles. We like grouping smaller pieces in groups alongside other pieces of Iden – or as part of a general collection of studio pottery from the same era.

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!