• A long and fruitful relationship with great artists has allowed Wedgwood to make objects of great beauty throughout its history.

Wedgwood and artists

  • by the Wedgwood Museum team

Festival of Britain mug


Artist and designer Norman Makinson joined Wedgwood as an apprentice in 1937. After serving as a marine in World War Two he rejoined the company’s design department.

This mug is one of Makinson’s most famous designs. The Festival of Britain looked forward with a sense of hope and optimism. It was a tonic to the nation after the hardships of the war and austerity in the post-war years. The Festival also celebrated the past - it was after all the centenary of the Great Exhibition.

Makinson’s striking design draws from the structures that came to represent both events. It captures both the futuristic design of the ‘Skylon’ and the floating innovative feel of the Crystal Palace in perfect harmony. As an artistic reaction to the Festival the mug typifies some of the best of twentieth-century design.


The 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition was held on London’s South bank, and was epitomized by the futuristic Skylon. Norman Makinson cleverly captured the spirit of the Skylon in this classic Wedgwood Queen’s ware mug design while also celebrating the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851.