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Retro Tile Love

ann wynn reeve Kenneth Clarke Modernist vintage tiles

 

 

Some of you may already know...I have a thing about tiles from the 1950-70s. I've started to collect them and one day I hope to have a white tiled kitchen, with my beautiful collection of retro tiles randomly placed throughout.

Decorative Tiles are a wonderful fusion of art and manufacture -  I suppose the tile's heyday, especially in Britain, was the Victorian era - from grand Gothic buildings with decadent tiled floor to ceiling walls, to the every day home featuring tiled fireplace surrounds.  You only have to look around you, from London tube stations to pre 1930's doorways & hallways  and it's not hard to find a good example of a beautiful period tile.

But what I love and want to celebrate here is the mid 20th century tile - retro and colourful, made by artists & ceramicists generally using a silk screen effect. In England the Stoke & Trent Potteries were still in full production and H & R Johnson was the biggest manufacturer of the time -  capitalising on the domestic modern kitchen & bathroom revolution. They featured many leading potters and artists of the time....some of whom are my very favourites and featured below.

First up, is my No 1. favourite Ann Wynn Reeves. She was married to Kenneth Clarke (1922-2012), who was also a leading ceramicist and a pioneer in rejuvenating the tile industry in the 1950s - they had their own studio, and it was mainly Ann's gorgeous and iconic designs that led to their great success.

I absolutely love her use of graphite grey (a wax & silk screen effect apparently) mixed with splashes of vibrant colours - but it's her Modernist illustrations that really stand the test of time. Her tiles are hard to find and snapped up by collectors, Occasionally you can pick up one for under £30 if you are very lucky!

 

 

 

 

Here's one of Kenneth Clark's designs - beautiful vibrant colors.

Next up  - Kenneth Townsend (1931-1999) - his work is really very collectable now and fetches even more money than Ann's. His designs are iconic and take a humorous look on life, people and animals. If you grew up in the 1970s his designs are instantly recognizable from ceramics, books and toys.

Perhaps his most famous design is his gorgeous menagerie collection...(He I apparently share a love of Owls) But, I also love his cheeky London Series...

His family have a set up a website - you can see all his designs and more information here

 

 


 

Another of my favourites is Alan Wallwork - a wonderful English artist and ceramicist, whose studio pottery and workshop are still going strong. His 1960s tile designs are very recognisable and almost psychedelic in their organic colours and patterns. They were very popular at the time and were exported across Europe. Used in trend setting kitchens and bathroom, but also featuring encased in teak in cheeseboards and coffee tables!

You can see a mesmerizing slide show of his work on his website here

 

 

 

 

 

Some of you may already know...I have a thing about tiles from the 1950-70s. I've started to collect them and one day I hope to have a white tiled kitchen, with my beautiful collection of retro tiles randomly placed throughout.

Decorative Tiles are a wonderful fusion of art and manufacture -  I suppose the tile's heyday, especially in Britain, was the Victorian era - from grand Gothic buildings with decadent tiled floor to ceiling walls, to the every day home featuring tiled fireplace surrounds.  You only have to look around you, from London tube stations to pre 1930's doorways & hallways  and it's not hard to find a good example of a beautiful period tile.

But what I love and want to celebrate here is the mid 20th century tile - retro and colourful, made by artists & ceramicists generally using a silk screen effect. In England the Stoke & Trent Potteries were still in full production and H & R Johnson was the biggest manufacturer of the time -  capitalising on the domestic modern kitchen & bathroom revolution. They featured many leading potters and artists of the time....some of whom are my very favourites and featured below.

First up, is my No 1. favourite Ann Wynn Reeves. She was married to Kenneth Clarke (1922-2012), who was also a leading ceramicist and a pioneer in rejuvenating the tile industry in the 1950s - they had their own studio, and it was mainly Ann's gorgeous and iconic designs that led to their great success.

I absolutely love her use of graphite grey (a wax & silk screen effect apparently) mixed with splashes of vibrant colours - but it's her Modernist illustrations that really stand the test of time. Her tiles are hard to find and snapped up by collectors, Occasionally you can pick up one for under £30 if you are very lucky!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's one of Kenneth Clark's designs - beautiful vibrant colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up  - Kenneth Townsend (1931-1999) - his work is really very collectable now and fetches even more money than Ann's. His designs are iconic and take a humorous look on life, people and animals. If you grew up in the 1970s his designs are instantly recognizable from ceramics, books and toys.

Perhaps his most famous design is his gorgeous menagerie collection...(He I apparently share a love of Owls) But, I also love his cheeky London Series...

His family have a set up a website - you can see all his designs and more information here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another of my favourites is Alan Wallwork - a wonderful English artist and ceramicist, whose studio pottery and workshop are still going strong. His 1960s tile designs are very recognisable and almost psychedelic in their organic colours and patterns. They were very popular at the time and were exported across Europe. Used in trend setting kitchens and bathroom, but also featuring encased in teak in cheeseboards and coffee tables!

You can see a mesmerizing slide show of his work on his website here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other notable British tile artists of this period worth a mention are Clive Simmonds and Rhys & Jean Powell. For more Tile love The V&A is definitely worth a visit.

I've just covered my fave British tiles, I haven't even touched the amazing Italian, West German and Scandinavian Tiles...used more as wall art than as domestic tiles...hmmm - maybe another post on that soon! IN the meantime if any of you out there has some Tile Love to share - please do comment.

Until(e) next time..... (sorry.)

 

 

 

 

Other notable British tile artists of this period worth a mention are Clive Simmonds and Rhys & Jean Powell. For more Tile love The V&A is definitely worth a visit.

I've just covered my fave British tiles, I haven't even touched the amazing Italian, West German and Scandinavian Tiles...used more as wall art than as domestic tiles...hmmm - maybe another post on that soon! IN the meantime if any of you out there has some Tile Love to share - please do comment.

Until(e) next time..... (sorry.)

 

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