Musings with Valerie Monk, NZ commercial pottery writer and researcher, and author of 'Crown Lynn, a New Zealand Icon' and Crown Lynn Collectors Handbook.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Hand painted - production line style
One of Crown Lynn's more consistent sellers was Fleurette, hand painted dinnerware first released in 1962. It was a copy of the English design Belle Fiore, and it looked like this:
But it doesn't seem so gorgeous when you consider that production lines at Crown Lynn did nothing but hand-paint this ware day after day after day. Six colours, six painters, with a conveyor belt to send the pieces along the line. Here is the Queen watching them at work when she visited in 1963. I wonder what she thought, seeing a well known English pattern being ripped off in the Antipodes. Ah well, copyright rules weren't so tough then.
The Fleurette backstamp looks like this:
Fleurette was called Brereton Ware after DIC head buyer Jack Brereton. In this photo you can see 'New Zealand' which was impressed into the base of the cup during the manufacturing process. This is very typical of Crown Lynn.
My favourite hand painted pattern is Gina, made for United Stores. I am not sure about the date, probably mid 1960s. I bought a set of these porridge plates in Cromwell, I don't think they have ever been used.
Again, these have been hand painted. There are only three colours so a smaller team was needed to create them. Gina is not as easy to find as Fleurette. But a very cute backstamp.
I have hunted online to find out more about United Stores, but no luck. There were at least two other patterns marked as exclusive to United - Burma and Coronet. They're not half as much fun as Gina!
The last in this hand painted series is Mardi Gras, another production line job. I have a desert set in this - six nice little plates and a larger serving bowl. WHY do I have so much Crown Lynn? Well you may ask...
When we admire and enjoy these lovely hand painted pieces, let's spare a thought for the women who did the work. It was a skilled job but horrendously repetitive; it must have got quite tedious sometimes.