Midwinter Plate

When modernism goes bad
Jessie Tait
Nationality of Designer
Midwinter Ltd
Manufacturers Location
Staffordshire, England (UK)
Earthenware, screen printed, under glaze
18 cm
Purchase Price


Fine Tableware plate


Purchased on eBay by Adam Sutherland


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