A time of great design or merely time for a change?Art Deco ceramics are commonly associated with specific designers such as Clarice Cliffe, Susie Cooper and Charlotte Rhead whose striking designs changed the face of modern pottery. However the term covers a much wider range of pottery styles as well as architecture and fashion. But was it truly a time of great design or merely time for a change? Let us examine the evidence.....
The history of Art Deco
|Ravel conical ware by Clarice Cliffe|
Photo by Leonard Griffin
Art Deco is said to have begun in France in the 1920s and developed internationally especially in Europe and America until the late 1930's. However it was not until the revival in the 1960s that the term 'Art Deco' was introduced. Until that time it was called 'Arte Moderne' or 'Arte Decoritif'. Since that time many modern potteries have developed patterns based around similar principles.
The advent of Art Deco changed the face of pottery in the UK at the time. The bright colours and geometric shapes of Clarice Cliffe especially, was a long way removed from many of the chinese inspired pottery designs that had gone before. However many shapes and designs were influenced by Mexican and Egyptian styles. A revolution in design was in the making! In the UK the popularity was aided by young new designers and and the advent of advertising and to a degree mechanisation. Designer labels grew as a marketing trend and women designers had phenomenal success. It became a necessity for small potteries to find new designs to beat off the threat of imports from Germany and Czechslovakia and Japan.
|Original Bizarre on Athens Shape|
Original Picture by Harvey
Photograph by Andy Titcomb
Pieces of Clarice Cliffe are now highly collectable and include such striking designs as the conical ginger sifters. Collecting is made easier by the fact that virtually all Clarice Cliffe pieces are clearly marked with her name using a rubber backstamp or litho.
From National Museum Wales
|Tube lined plate by Charlotte Rhead|
Photo by Chris Bertram.
Other Art Deco ware
|Shelley Vogue shape cup and saucer, designed by Eric Slater 1930|
|Harmony Art Ware ginger jar - Eric Slater 1932|
'Harmony Artware'. Eric Slater was the designer responsible for many of the hugely successful designs.
The Wedgwood family also produced a range of ware in art Deco style. Using a range of designers such as Keith Murray, Skeaping, Makeig-Jones, and Ravilous they continued to create outstanding designs throughout the 1930's. Makeig-Jones in particular changed the image of Wedgwood ware with her inspirational 'Fairyland Lustre' range of patterns.
The Modern Era
|Wedgwood Jasper Conran|
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