I’ve worked over the past months on the designs for a new collection from Sussex Lustreware, which earlier this year produced the World of Wonders range of ceramics. World of Wonders charmingly utilised chapter-head drawings of animals I’d made for Mary Youmans’ novel Charis in the World of Wonders, published in 2020 by Ignatius.

A World of Wonders bowl from Sussex Lustreware, decorated with drawings made as vignettes for Charis in the World of Wonders

For Harlequinade I’ve made all the images specifically for Sussex Lustreware, inspired by the great tradition of Victorian Toy Theatre. In preparation for the launch of the collection, I’ve worked closely with my collaborator, animator David W. Slack, to produce a series of films to promote the range. Here’s the first:

The animations are made up almost entirely of drawings produced for the ceramics, brought to life on a stage which I designed specially for Harlequinade.

The Harlequinade collection is traditional black on white transfer-ware, embellished by hand with pink lustre and occasional splashes of gold. It will consist of plates, jugs, bowls, mugs, trinket-box and teapot. The Autumn launch date has yet to be announced. Watch this space.

8 thoughts on “Harlequinade

  1. Hello,
    I love the Sussex Lustreware….beautiful.
    Have you seen the Circus dinner service designed by Laura Knight in 1934.
    She, along with, Paul Nash, Vanessa Bell, Ben Nicholson, Eric Ravilious and others, were commissioned by the Government in an attempt to improve design standards.

    I saw the set at the Penlee House Gallery in Penzance earlier this year: Laura Knight A Celebration.
    What a surprise!

    • I do know the Laura Knight design, and it was her use of a circus audience around the rim of her plates that inspired us to explore a similar idea for Harlequinade.

      Knight used quite a rudimentary sketch technique for her audience, rendering them very nearly abstract. Because I wanted to show our theatre audience in more detail – and because my drawings of them are denser and darker than Knight’s – to keep the design airy and light I used six audience ‘vignettes’ around the rims of the Sussex Lustreware plates, linked with pink lustre swags suggesting the drapes of the stage.

  2. What fun, how delightful! Since June I’ve been using a lovely little cup, made by our old friend Sheila Kelly – actress that was, creator that is – and so I ‘hold her in my hands’ twice a day. How lovely to think I’ll be able to ‘hold you’ in a similar way.
    Tons of love as ever
    Bern x

    • Hello Bern. Here at Ty Isaf we daily use the earthenware made by our friend Pip Koppel as gifts at the time we moved in. Pip has gone but her presence is felt in what she made for us. I love recollection embodied in objects. A comforting Pip-mug of steaming tea on a cold winter morning is the next best thing to a hug from her.

  3. How lovely !
    Are the plates, the mugs, the bowls, and jugs meant to be used ? Or just to be treasured ? Shall they send to Spain ? I can’t wait.

    I own a little yellow and violet decorated china cup and saucer my grandmother used, to bring me aniseed infusion to bed when I was sick ( I was always sick as a child, no one expected me to reach adult age ).

    I love that little cup and saucer, it brings my grandmother back to me, but I don’t dare use it, for fear of it slipping my old hands…

    Love from Madrid

    • Hello, dear Maria. Greetings from Wales.

      The ‘Harlequinade’ range is indeed intended for use. I have a full set of the ‘World of Wonders’ range that I made earlier this year, and we use it all the time. The only thing is that I believe it’s not recommended to put lustreware in a dishwasher, as the lustre part of the firing is not made at such a high temperature and can be damaged by dishwashers over time.

      I like the idea of an aniseed infusion. It sounds comforting. I haven’t had aniseed infusion, but I greatly enjoy an infusion of fennel, that has an aniseed flavour. I also like a liquorice tea that I find very relaxing.

      I shall check with Sussex Lustreware about the matter of sending to Europe. Alas, there has been, and continues to be, tremendous confusion over the regulations since Brexit. But the range is not yet ready for purchase. I’ll be announcing a launch date before long, and I shall check with Gloria at Sussex Lustreware about the matter of posting to Europe.

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