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QUOTED on the flyleaf is a note of the criterion for inclusion in this new book; “individual designers who made an important contribution to the development of ceramic design in Britain during the 20th century… those pioneering and innovative designers who moved away from traditional styles of pottery to produce contemporary wares.”

While all the old favourites are here – Daisy Makeig-Jones and her dazzling lustreware “In Fairyland All Things Are Possible”, Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Eric Ravilious, Keith Murray and Jessie Tait, and one or two perhaps not so well known, like John Clappison of Hornsea Pottery and Eric Slater for Shelley, a number of important names are absent from this rollcall of ceramics designers who broke the mould.

Not in is Sally Tuffin and also for Poole there is no mention of the remarkable and collected designs of Janice Tchalenko and Anita Harris, though Tony Morris is here. Perhaps most startlingly of all is the omission of Enid Seeney, who for Ridgway Potteries in 1955 created the best known design of the 1950s, an icon of its period, the Homemaker tableware range, with its whizzy black
and white design of spindly plantstands, boomerang-shaped tables and Robin Day’s famous reclining armchair.

Not in is Michael Hunt of the top ceramic designer firm, the Queensberry Hunt Partnership, Roger Michelle and his innovative 1970s walking teapot and saucer, Judith Onions and her 1960s reawakening of Cornishware, the Caiger-Smiths. Absent is Albert Hallam and his 1950s gravity-defying range of wavy-edged, tripod-footed asymmetrical bowls and vases for Beswick, the most famous design for which was the hand-painted zebra-striped pattern designed by Jim Hayward – not in – and inspired by the great Jessie Tait’s more restrained Zambezi design for Midwinter.

The author of Susie Cooper Ceramics – A Collector’s Guide and a big Cooper fan, Andrew Casey’s book seems to have a very narrow focus on his chosen 20th century designers about whom much is already known. One feels these designers are his own personal favourites. With not one born after 1937, new-name important young designers of the late 20th century whose contemporary work is now sought by the sharply design-conscious – take a look at Nick Munro’s classic 2001 collection for Wedgwood – don’t get a look-in.

An opportunity missed, I feel, but nevertheless a good all-in-one reference source on some of the 20th century’s most famous ceramic designers.