Thursday 10 December 2009
'Cottage Ware' tea sets, 1940s
Kitsch is probably the word that would now most immediately come to mind here. But there is a lot of cottage ware still around from a variety of makers which suggests that it must have been widely popular at the time. It's those cosy cultural associations of the thatched cottage working their magic again. This set was made by Price Bros (Burslem) Ltd, a firm that began in 1896 and continued after 1962 as Price and Kensington Potteries Ltd. The design, number 845007, was registered in 1945.
This was a present for your auntie in the era of post-war austerity, with the old design imagery of the '30s still holding sway before '50s fashion found its feet. There is no sign of these sets actually having been used so I suspect they went into the glass cabinet in the front room, for show, which helps to explain why so many have survived.
The other set in this genre is by the Keele Street Pottery of Stoke whose origins go back to 1915. After being closed during World War Two, production resumed in 1946 and cottage ware was added to the range shortly after. As a way of rebuilding the nation's finances, there was much emphasis at the time on the export trade and the connection here of tea drinking with rustic imagery from the old country found much customer interest overseas.