The Sleek New Shape of Excitement
27 March 2006 - 13 May 2006
This exhibition is dedicated to my grandmother, Rosina (Rosie) Violet Kersey, who died in 2005 at the age of 91. My grandmother grew up in the East End of London and migrated to in 1947 with my grandfather and their two kids, one of whom was my mother. I have early memories, from my stays with her in Nelson, of the vivid colours of her Poole dinner set, which is now in my possession.
The my family left was devastated by the Second World War. Modernist design signaled Britain’s post-war recovery, and the bold new designs exemplified by these Poole pieces can be compared with the antiquated design of the Ford V8 Pilot (the black car, based on an American 1936 Ford V8) which was produced at Ford’s Dagenham factory from 1949-1951 in a desperate attempt to generate foreign exchange. Within a decade the same motor company could produce the elegant Ford Consul Capri which highlights how progressive the 1950s had been in terms of British design. From the time of the 1951 Festival of , Poole pottery was at the forefront of British ceramic design during the Fifties and for much of the Sixties and Seventies.
Along with Poole china one of my other collections is of English Ford cars, real ones, not models! I own around twenty of them including a V8 Pilot but sadly a Consul Capri is not among them.
The Poole pottery celebrated its centenary in 1973, and a major Poole exhibition took place at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1978. The Poole pottery closed down in the late 1990s and even the contents of the pottery’s museum were, shamefully, disposed of.
I’ve been collecting Poole now since 1995. Several of the pieces here were acquired from a single collection, while other pieces have come from places as faraway as Geelong in and Taunton in . Each piece has its own story, but the collection assembled here stands as a testament to a period progressive British design and as a celebration of my English heritage.