Brief Perspective On Ceramics Of The 1920’S And 30’S
In 1925 the Exhibition of Decorative and Modern Industrial Arts was held in Paris. It was a significant and influential Expo, which not only promoted a new style, but showcased a new era of design within the decorative arts that had not been seen before. The potteries were swift to embrace this new movement creating, imaginative shapes, designs and patterns which reflected the new modern style.
I see a lot of ceramics from this period and I am fascinated by diversity which was to define the 20’s/30’s. At the time these pieces must have been invigorating and also somewhat ‘bizarre’ after the horrors of the First World War, yet in the period that followed with economical and political uncertainly, it was to inspire a movement known as Art Deco.
Amongst the many leading lights was Clarice Cliff, who with her strong and colourful designs, epitomised the Art Deco style. Her creativity and free spirit influenced countless designers and factories, all of whom created geometric and abstract patterns, combined with the whimsical and use of strong bold colours. Gaining inspiration from the likes of the ancient Aztec (geometric) and the Cubism of the early 20th century (abstract), the movement hosted a diverse range and stylish pieces that was to define a generation.
Factories throughout the UK (mainly in Staffordshire) started producing decorative and affordable pieces, with designers creating an exciting range of wares for the domestic market. Charlotte Rhead, Susie Cooper, William Moorcroft and Keith Murray amongst others, designed modern, colourful and refreshingly modern pieces which at the time became hugely popular. From individual design pieces to domestic tableware, the emphasis was on colour, and imaginative shapes all contributing to a ‘modern’ style which remains as popular today as it was in the 1920’s and 30’s.
The choice is endless, with many pieces still very affordable to collectors. However the top designers still carry a premium price for interesting shapes and patterns. Only recently a Shelley tea service in the Vogue pattern sold for £4,200, and a rare Clarice Cliff Jazz figure group which we valued from Guildford, realised £8,200.
Written by David Greatwood