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Bone china 'Orange Columbine' prototype plate by Susie Cooper - After c.1971

Columbine plate by Susie Cooper, © Wedgwood Museum
    Columbine plate by Susie Cooper
    © Wedgwood Museum

The Wedgwood Museum's collections include not only pieces of Wedgwood but also items made by Wedgwood's subsidiary firms, both before and after their amalgamation into the Wedgwood Group. In March 1966 Wedgwood took over R. H. & S. L. Plant Limited, which had itself merged with Susie Cooper Limited in 1960. After joining the Wedgwood Group Susie Cooper designed under the backstamp of both Wedgwood and William Adams. The Columbine pattern was introduced in 1971 and features an abstract design in dark green, olive green, terra cotta and black. Although we have no documentary evidence the pattern name 'Columbine' may be derived from the stock character of the same name from the Harlequinade or Commedia del'arte given the similarity of the abstract diamond design and Harlequin's costume. This brighter colourway using orange and mauve has been applied by hand as a trial. It does not appear in Susie Cooper's pattern book, so exact dating is difficult. It is probably contemporary or a little later than the usual Columbine design. There is no record of this colourway being put into production.

The Wedgwood Museum's collections include not only pieces of Wedgwood but also items made by Wedgwood's subsidiary firms, both before and after their amalgamation into the Wedgwood Group. In March 1966 Wedgwood took over R. H. & S. L. Plant Limited, which had itself merged with Susie Cooper Limited in 1960. After joining the Wedgwood Group Susie Cooper designed under the backstamp of both Wedgwood and William Adams. The Columbine pattern was introduced in 1971 and features an abstract design in dark green, olive green, terra cotta and black. Although we have no documentary evidence the pattern name 'Columbine' may be derived from the stock character of the same name from the Harlequinade or Commedia del'arte given the similarity of the abstract diamond design and Harlequin's costume. This brighter colourway using orange and mauve has been applied by hand as a trial. It does not appear in Susie Cooper's pattern book, so exact dating is difficult. It is probably contemporary or a little later than the usual Columbine design. There is no record of this colourway being put into production. It is feasible that this and similar items were produced for a design meeting as a trial or prototype, and subtle differences can be seen between the application of the design. This 10½ inch plate is 'coupe' shaped.

  • Type of object: Dinner ware/plate
  • Mark: FINE BONE CHINA
    Susie Cooper
    MEMBER OF THE
    WEDGWOOD GROUP
    ENGLAND
    [Printed in black]
  • Year produced: After c.1971
  • Body: Bone china
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: hand-painted
  • Accession number: 11490
  • Dimensions: 268 mm (diameter), 18 mm (depth)

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Related people

  • Susie Cooper Designer

    Susie Cooper - Designer (1902 - 1995)

    Susan Vera Cooper was born on 29th October 1902 near to Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. She left school in 1917 in order to assist the family business, but the following year enrolled for evening classes at the Burslem Art School. By 1919, with a scholarship, she commenced a full-time course at the School. She began to work as a paintress with the Hanley-based pottery firm A E Gray and Company and by 1924 she became their resident designer. By the autumn of 1929 she and her brother-in-law, Albert ‘Jack’ Beeson, found a small factory in Tunstall, Stoke on Trent. With four-thousand pounds raised largely from her own family, and with Jack as a partner, Susie Cooper left Gray’s on her 27th birthday. Unfortunately the Wall Street crash of 1929 greatly affected industry in the Potteries. And in November, just three weeks after Susie Cooper and her partner had set up in business, the firm was bankrupted. However, by early 1930, a new factory premises at the Chelsea Works was located, and the Susie Cooper business was well and truly founded. Miss Susie Cooper is best remembered as a ceramic designer who developed functional but attractive designs. Promotional literature issued at the time emphasised ‘Elegance with Utility’ - a quality which Miss Cooper retained throughout her working life which spanned more than seven decades. In 1940 she was honoured by the Royal Society of Arts - receiving the accolade Royal Designer for Industry. In 1960, the Susie Cooper company merged with RH&SL Plant (who up to this point had been producing the ware for the Susie Cooper factory to decorate). When the new merged company became a member of The Wedgwood Group in 1966, Miss Cooper designed a number of successful patterns for the Wedgwood factory. Her work was successful in uniting delicacy and vigour, as well as elegance and utility. From the time that Miss Cooper worked for the Wedgwood Group, she continued to design under both the Wedgwood backstamp, and also for the William Adams factory.

Glossary

  • R. H. & S. L. Plant Limited

    R. H. & S. L. Plant Limited

    R. H. & S. L. Plant Limited was founded by the Plant Brothers around 1898. It traded successfully as a family firm for over half a century known as Royal Tuscan. The factory produced bone china items for the domestic markets of the world together with a specially strengthened bone china range for hotel and restaurant use named Metallised Bone China.The company became part of the Wedgwood Group in the 1960's (mainly because of its success with metallised bone china) and was known as Wedgwood Hotelware. The works finally closed in 2006 with production transferred abroad.

  • William Adams

    William Adams

    William Adams was born into a pottery family in 1746. He became a leading potter of his day and is reputed to have been a friend and confident of Josiah Wegwood.William founded the Greengates Pottery in 1779,making fine jasperwares, plaques and medallions.Over the years the firm passed out of then back into the ownership of the Adams family,before being absorbed into the Wedgwood Group of companies in 1966. Up to it's closure the William Adams factory was located in Tunstall, one of the six towns of the Potteries.

  • Bone china

    Bone china

    A porcelain made from clay and feldspathic rock with the addition of about 50 percent of calcined animal bone. Josiah Wedgwood II introduced bone china at the Wedgwood Etruria factory in 1812.