Collection

Midwinter Plate

Collection: When modernism goes bad

Category: Ceramics

Date: Circa 1950s

Designer: Jessie Tait

Nationality of Designer: British

Manufacturer: Midwinter Ltd

Manufacturers Location: Staffordshire, England (U.K)

Material: Earthenware, screen printed, under glaze

Dimensions: Diameter 18 cm

Purchase Price: 99p

Abstract:

Fine Tableware plate

Provenance:

Purchased on eBay by Adam Sutherland

Adaptions/renovations:

None- damaged print from everyday use

About the Designer/Maker:

After a brief traineeship under the designer, Charlotte Rhead at Wood & Sons, Jessie Tait (1928-2010) joined Midwinter, where she was appointed Head Designer of Midwinter Pottery. It was here that she created some of the best known and innovative ceramic designs of the 1950s.Tait proved to be a master of adapting to current design trends, eagerly harnessing the new post war aspiration for new and fresh ideas. Her work for Midwinter was characteristic with its time: combining playful modernist design with exuberant abstraction, with a nod to the visual style of the Festival of Britain.

After the changing of hands of Midwinter, she joined Johnson Brothers in 1974, and continued to produce successful designs until her retirement in 1993.

She also designed for Clayborne Pottery.

About the Manufacturer:

The Midwinter Pottery firm was founded in 1910 in Burslem, Staffordshire by William Robinson Midwinter.

During the immediate post war period, pottery firms like Midwinter took time to re-establish themselves financially and creatively. When Roy Midwinter took over the business in the 1950s, he revolutionized British tableware with new, innovative designs from young up and coming ceramicists and designers. Among these were Terence Conran, Hugh Casson, Barbara Brown and considered to be the most important of the new designers, Jessie Tait, who eventually became their in-house designer.

During the 1950s, Midwinter was one of the leading mass- producers of affordable, stylish tableware. Production was aimed at the younger market and fashionable modern shapes and patterns were introduced that distanced themselves from the post war austerity. Chintsy florals and fussy patterns were out, sleek and stylish design in.

The company built a successful international reputation at this time and the theme of new, young and vibrant design continued through the 1950s and into the 60s. The company went from strength to strength with Op-Art, Geometrical Shapes, Flower-Power and Psychedelic patterns dominating its designs. Unfortunately due to financial pressures Midwinter was taken over by J & G Meakin in 1968, and then Wedgewood in 1970. However, pottery was still produced under the Midwinter name until 1987.

Bibliography & Further information

Festival of Britain Video