• Well I never! Find out about some of the more unusual treasures in the Wedgwood Museum’s collections.

Fascinating Objects

  • by the Wedgwood Museum team

OHO! mug

Theme

The Wedgwood factory has produced wares for many purposes – for celebration, commemoration, ornamental display, and general use – and also for children to dine, play and learn.

In the 1950s ware for children was becoming fashionable. Although the factory had produced ‘miniatures’ or children’s wares from the time of the first Josiah, with the explosion of colourful and innovative wares following the lifting of decorating restrictions after World War Two, Wedgwood began to explore additional avenues of production that appealed to exciting new markets. Children’s ware was one such avenue. The first children’s range of ware, which opened up this exciting new market, was ‘Peter Rabbit’ from the books by Beatrix Potter.    

In the mid 1950s Laurence Whistler adapted a design originated by his brother, Rex, for use on a child’s Queen’s ware mug. The pattern featured the ‘reversible’ heads of Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother. Little is known about the marketing of the mug – other than it was produced in a very limited edition.

Catalogue

Reversible images like this became popular during the 16th century, when they were used to hide messages about politics or religion. Later topsy-turvy images were used purely to amuse, such as with this example. Cinderella magically turns into the Fairy Godmother when this child’s mug is turned upside down. It was designed by Laurence Whistler, based on drawings done by his brother Rex.