Bone china Black Fruit oatmeal bowl by Susie Cooper - 1969-73
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 Black Fruit pattern was introduced in 1958, before Susie Cooper joined the Wedgwood Group, and manufacture continued under the Wedgwood backstamp. It features a stylish series of fruit studies applied in covercoat, with large blocks of colour aerographed on to covers and the insides of some accompanying holloware.
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 Black Fruit pattern was introduced in 1958, before Susie Cooper joined the Wedgwood Group, and manufacture continued under the Wedgwood backstamp. It features a stylish series of fruit studies applied in covercoat, with large blocks of colour aerographed on to covers and the insides of some accompanying holloware. Although known collectively as Black Fruit the original 1958 designs had seperate pattern numbers for the different fruit and aerographed colour combinations. C893 featured a pear with grey blue aerographing; C894 featured grapes and fern green aerographing; C895 featured a strawberry and Sevres blue aerographing; C896 featured an apple and charcoal aerographing; C897 featured a peach and aerographing in cantaloupe; C898 featured cherries and chartreuse aerographing. In addition the subsequent listed pattern, C899, was called Susie Cooper Black and White and featured the black fruit designs on ware accompanied with simple banded saucers. In 1964 the pattern was reworked again as pattern number C2026 where it had no colour finish applied. In 1972 Black Fruit went on the matchings list, going non current in 1975. The fact that the pattern straddled Susie Cooper's amalgamation into the Wedgwood Group means that there are a number of variations to the backstamps on Black Fruit items. This has the Susie Cooper Design backstamp that was in use from 1969 but is without the registered trade mark symbol which was introduced in 1973, meaning this object dates between 1969-73. The bowl features the grapes design. In 1971 the retail price for this item would have been £1.00.
- Type of object: Dessert ware/bowl
- Mark: (Portland vase device)
[Printed in black]
Made in England
[Printed in gold]
Susie Cooper Design
[Printed in black]
- Year produced: 1969-73
- Body: Bone china
- Glaze: clear glaze
- Material: ceramic
- Decoration: covercoat
- Accession number: 13829u
- Dimensions: 39 mm (height), 160 mm (diameter)
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.
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 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.
Aerographing is a method of decorating ceramics. An airbrush (or spray gun) is used which can spray paint, ink and dye.
A ceramic decal which is used to apply designs to ceramic tableware. It comprises of three layers:- the image layer that includes the decorative design, the covercoat which is a clear protective layer, and thirdly the backing paper on which the design is printed either by screen-printing or lithography. The decal is placed coloured side down on the ware - rubbed firmly - and the paper sponged off.
When manufacturers decided, for whatever reason, to discontinue the production of a particular design, the name of the pattern would be placed on the 'matchings list'. This act would give notice to retailers, consumers and the trade in general that the pattern would be withdrawn in the forseable future.It gave customers the opportunity to order replacements and make up services before production stopped. Orders for patterns on the matchings list would be accumulated until a production run became viable. The length of time for a pattern to remain on the list would vary depending on demand. Indeed, occasionally, the threat of stopping production of a pattern created such a demand that the design was re-instated into full production.
Non-current is the term attached to a pattern that has been withdrawn from current production and is no longer available. Initially the pattern may be placed on the 'matchings list' and put into a limited production run when enough orders have been accumulated to make the 'run' economically viable.Occasionally, the news of a pattern to be withdrawn stimulates such a demand that it is re-instated into full production instead of being made non-current.
Holloware refers to ceramic items that are 'hollow', for example teacups, tea and coffee pots, covered vegaetable dishes, bowls and jugs etc. The opposite is 'flatware' which includes items such as plates, saucers and dishes.