Collection

'Agincourt' Bowl

Collection: When modernism goes bad

Category: Ceramics

Date: Circa 1960s

Designer: Kathie Winkle

Nationality of Designer: British

Manufacturer: James Broadhurst and Sons Ltd

Manufacturers Location: Staffordshire, England (U.K)

Material: Earthenware, Ironstone china with silkscreen-printed and hand painted decoration.

Dimensions: Diameter 15.5 cm

Purchase Price: 99p

Abstract:

A decorative ceramic bowl

Provenance:

Purchased by eBay by Adam Sutherland

Personal history/nominator:

"I like the idiosyncratic quality of Kathie Winkle's work, not quite fitting with the other designers of the era, she appears to have maintain a determinedly 'working class' persona, working for the same factory for her entire working life, never changing her technique and bringing a wide ranging aesthetic to her designs. The fact she switched from designing to quality control demonstrating a profoundly unpretentious approach to her design work, a sense you get from the designs themselves, she seems almost the 'outsider' natural creative".

Adam Sutherland

Adaptions/renovations:

None- good condition

Why it's in the Collection:

The bulk of the 'in use' everyday collection is made up of Kathie Winkle designs for Broadhurst. They have the advantage of all being the same shape and size, all dishwasher safe, and still very cheap and easy to find. The huge range and variety of the designs coupled with the unchanging technique all contribute to the ethos of her work. She created designs that bought practical considerations to the fore and added interest and richness to the ordinary.

There is a certain disregard for taste, the designs being determinedly popular, a sense that they were made for the working person.

Winkle's crockery designs lightly reference modernism, in much the same way that they draw from folk art, and tourism ware- as a popular aesthetic. The modernist ideal is - though not fully expressed - in many ways far closer to those ideals as expressed by the more 'concious' designers. i.e. Cheaply produced, form following function and genuinely for the people.

The use of the back stamp facsimile signature, echoes Christopher Dresser and Keith Murray's mass personalised branding, and again picks Kathie Winkle out from the other designers of her time who opted for a more 'tasteful' way to brand their work.

About the Designer/Maker:

Kathie Winkle (1932-) began her long and prolific career in ceramic design at Shorter and Son, Stoke-on-Trent, where she trained as a 'paintress'. Around 1950, she joined James Broadhurst & Sons Ltd, where she worked up to her retirement in 1992.

Kathie Winkle became something of a 'golden girl' at Broadhurst and quickly rose in ranks to become the company's head designer. Her patterns became increasingly popular due to the increased demand of new styles of kitchenware.

After her first patterns appear around 1958, she ultimately became responsible for all of Broadhurst's patterns. Over the course of her career as a designer (until the mid-1970s) she created over 100 patterns. However as machine-decorating techniques began to take over from hand painting in the mid 1970s, Kathie Winkle stopped designing, her patterns slowly being phased out - although older designs continued in production. In 1978 she changed role in the company moving to quality control.

All ceramic designs from the late 1950s were printed on the ware by semi-automatic rubber-stamping machines. The designs comprised of two parts - an outline in black created by the stamping process with bright colours then hand painted in the spaces before glazing. The new geometric patterns were a clear departure from the more usual floral motifs found on tableware.

Winkle follows in a long line of prolific and well- respected women designers who after originally training as a 'paintress', rose in the ranks to become leading pattern designers in their own right. (Clarence Cliff, Charlotte Rhead and Susie Cooper)

About the Manufacturer:

Peter Hampson and James and William Broadhurst started their partnership at the Green Dock Works in London. They leased out a four- oven works, having been previously occupied by Job Broadhurst, rumoured to be William's father.

The company was known under various titles over the years, such as James Broadhurst & Sons Ltd, Hampson and Broadhurst, James Broadhurst/Crown Pottery/Longton, etc.

In 1984, James Broadhurst & Sons Ltd became Churchill Tableware Ltd

Bibliography & Further information

China : Great British Potters Since 1795, Rodney Churchill Hampson, University of Keele, 1994, ISBN-10: 0951371347

The Designs of Kathie Winkle for James Broadhurst and Sons Ltd. 1958-1978, Peter Leath, Richard Dennis Publications, 1999, ISBN: 0903685671

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