Pennine oven-to-tableware - Covered Oval Casserole dish
A prototype ‘oven-to-tableware’ had been evolved by the late eighteenth century. Referred to as ‘game pie dishes’ such piecrust ware was not at all durable. It was not until well into the twentieth century that a true ‘oven-to-tableware’ was evolved, thanks to technological advancements within the ceramic industry.
The main development of so-called ‘oven-to-tableware’ took place in the 1960s, with the introduction of the ‘Pennine’ shape which first appeared in 1965. A range of forms was designed and modelled by Eric Owen, with the shape actually being known as ‘Cotswold’. The term ‘Pennine’ is the name given to the Cotswold shapes decorated with an amber glaze. The range was also available in a pale-green vitrified glaze, which was referred to as ‘Cambrian’.
The former in-house magazine, the ‘Wedgwood Review’, in March 1965, described the range as ‘The Shape for Modern Living’, and commented that - ‘Wedgwood’s new look in tableware for 1965 is a studio-type range of shapes with chunky, textured appearance, that are designed for the more relaxed and casual entertaining which is a feature of modern-living in the mid sixties.’ The ‘Wedgwood Review’ also went on to describe how the new ware was evolved by the production and research departments, overseen by Eric Owen, and that the ‘brief’ was to produce a – ‘…tough body, for a versatile range of shapes in oven-to-tableware, which for decorative effect would rely on specially-developed glazes.’ The shape was initially to be distinguished by – ‘…a crisply modelled relief pattern – similar to the form of a pinecone’, which was then further accentuated by – ‘…the natural flow of [the] glaze.’
Eric Owen himself was tasked with eliminating the more vulnerable parts of tableware shapes, and also strengthening weak-spots in order to increase resistance to chipping. This goal was epitomised by the short and sturdy spouts of teapots, and also the handles of the sauceboat, teacup and cream jug. Other items were evolved to serve numerous purposes, which reduced the number of items that the customer would need to buy.
The ‘Wedgwood Review’ further commented that – ‘…the new range has been received with enthusiasm by Wedgwood’s overseas companies…’ – somewhat of an understatement as the first oven-to-tableware ranges – and subsequent ones – went on to be produced for several decades.
The last time that the Pennine oven-to-tableware range was produced in any quantity was up to and including the early 1980s. Gradually, production was phased out, with the ware finally becoming non-current in February 1987, having being placed on the ‘matchings’ list in February 1985.
The Pennine range of oven-to-tableware was designed by Eric Owen in the early 1960s, and first went on sale in 1965. Advances in ceramic technology meant that ware could be created that could withstand such changes in temperature. An extremely popular innovation, many people recognise this range of cookware from their childhoods.