It’s the kind of thing that your Grandparents could have had in their kitchen; a piece or two of that stripy ceramic pottery, possibly a souvenir from a seaside holiday. Or maybe your family had an entire set, and teatimes were served up on dinner plates with matching side plates for your bread and butter and bowls for treacle sponge and custard afterwards….but my guess is that at some point, you’ve seen or used this pottery.
I don’t know where or when I first saw it, but it must have been a good day. For me, it evokes great fondness and nostalgia, so I’m going to suppose it was a childhood holiday by the Cornish seaside, the kind where the days were hot and long and spent on the beach with a picnic and being wrapped in a warm towel after swimming in the sea.
Anyway, before I get all misty eyed, I’ll explain that on a recent visit to the island of Lundy (that blog is here), just off the north Devon coast, I was delighted to find that our accommodation had not just one piece of the blue and white, such as a teapot, not two pieces, such as a pair of matching mugs, but an entire, enormous set of everything. And when I say everything, I mean mugs, plates of every size, serving dish, mixing bowl, dessert bowls, pasta bowls, egg cups, cups and saucers and not just one, but FOUR jugs! Of different size! As if this amazing island couldn’t get any better, it was giving me my very favourite pottery to use. That first cup of tea each morning tasted so much better coming from the teapot!
There’s just something so cheerful about the blue and white. And old fashioned and charming. I’ve learned a little about the history and can tell you that Cornishware (as it’s officially known) was first produced in the 1920’s by T.G Green, who were a Derbyshire pottery company. It was later revived by a designer called Judith Onions in the 1960’s and became something of an iconic design, with pieces being much sought after by collectors. It’s more recent history belongs to a partnership between entrepreneur Charles Rickards and design and brand consultant Perry Haydn Taylor and his wife Vik. The trio rescued the brand after T.G Green were forced into administration in 2007 and Cornishware was re-launched in 2009. The Landmark Trust supply the blue and white Cornishware to all their Lundy properties.
The pottery has been nominated by the London Design Museum as one of the top 100 2oth Century design icons. The Cornishware blue and white banded livery comes from the lathe turning process where bands of blue slip are removed to reveal white clay underneath.
The Cornishware name was created after a T.G Green employee was reminded of the blue skies and white crested waves of Cornwall. Indeed, an advertising campaign from 1938 included the lines: ‘Blue of the Atlantic, White of Cornish Clouds, Glisten of the Sea, What Woman Could Resist Such Beauty in her Kitchen?’
Well, I have to agree with that……
And you can also find the extensive Cornishware range in other colours such as red and white, green, yellow as well as personalised sets with names etc. But for me, the blue and white will always be The One. As if I needed another excuse to return to Lundy!
Thanks to Cornishware for the kind use of photos and for providing information.