Midwinter was established by William Robinson Midwinter in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in 1910 but is probably most famous for its commercial pottery from the 1950s which was the work of his son, Roy who wanted to revolutionise British tableware. Midwinter from this period is a favourite amongst collectors.
Roy Midwinter launched two new ranges in the 1950s inspired by American ceramics styles; Stylecraft in 1953 and later Fashion in 1954, believed to be particularly inspired by Eva Zeisel’s work which Roy Midwinter viewed while visiting America. Zeisel’s ceramics caught the eye of Roy Midwinter as they followed the same stylistic choices that he wanted to bring to his work; she was famous for her sensuous forms often with shapes based around the curves of the human body. The new Midwinter ranges focused on more organic shapes, removing rims from dinner plates for example and experimenting with very curvy teapots resembling pregnant women. The collections were more affordable and aimed at a younger market, marking a move away from the soberness of the post-war period.
The more modern shapes were accompanied by contemporary patterns and Midwinter looked especially to younger designers to complete the transformation of their domestic wares. Jessie Tait was their resident designer producing her best work during this period and being generally regarded as their most talented and prolific designer. However, Midwinter also commissioned other artists to work on his new ranges such as furniture designer Sir Terence Conran, well known for his ‘Vegetable’ pattern and architect Sir Hugh Casson, well known for his ‘Riviera’ pattern, both of whom are very popular amongst collectors. Midwinter backstamps often carry the name of both the pattern and the designer.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
For more information please visit our Sheffield Auction Gallery website.