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Rye Design Team for Rye Pottery

Bowl thrown by Jim Elliot, c.1953

terracotta, tin-glazed in black and white stripes with recessed and painted star-burst decoration

marks to underside: ‘MADE IN/ RYE/ POTTERY/ ENGLAND’

12 x 12 cm.


Austerity to Affluence: British Art & Design 1945-1962, London, The Fine Art Society, Rayner & Chamberlain, 1997, pp. 60-61, C.13.

The development of a distinctive Contemporary look in post-war Britain ceramics was a relatively slow process. Initially it was hampered by Utility restrictions which remained in force until the early 1950s.

The more significant proponents of the emerging Contemporary look, however, were the studio potteries, notably the Rye Pottery, refounded by John and Walter Cole in 1947. Rye swiftly achieved a production-line output of high-quality tin-glazed majolica, inspired by 17th century wares and earlier Moorish work from Spain. Rye pottery was astutely marketed and disseminated by outlets such as Heal’s, Liberty’s, Primavera and Dunn’s of Bromley. The vibrancy of patterns such as the daisy-like star motif known at Rye as the ‘Festival Star’ (exhibited at the Festival of Britain, 1951), exerted a major influence on the British Contemporary look. 

Source: Richard Chamberlain, ‘Austerity to Affluence’ ibid.

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