Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Um... derivative or a copy??

The more we find out about Crown Lynn, the more copies come to light - both shapes and patterns.  Here are two tulip cups - iconic Crown Lynn one would have thought, but the dark green one is actually made by Meakin in England. They are almost exactly the same size and shape.

Without more research I can't be sure which shape came first, but it's likely that Crown Lynn copied Meakin. 

Then take a look at these two plates: This is Crown Lynn Fiesta Ware.
This is Meakin. (Meakin photos courtesy of Suzanne Hilegeholt)

 And then we have our much-loved Mogambo coffee can... an identical pattern appears on this Pyrex mug, made before the Cook and Serve range was introduced.

And that was not the only copied pattern in the Cook & Serve range. Here is a Swedish Rorstrand coffee can:

The same pattern was used by Crown Lynn on Cook & Serve condiment sets (below), coffee cans and cookware. (Examples thanks to Jeremy Ashford)
And what about this lovely little Crown Lynn jug: 
Here is an identical shape, again by the English firm J&G Meakin.

The list goes on... our Fleurette is a copy of the English Belle Fiore.  I don't have a photo but click here to see images of Belle Fiore on EBay. Here's a Crown Lynn Fleurette duo - it's hard to tell the difference.
There's a famous photo of the Queen visiting Crown Lynn in 1963, watching the hand decorators working on Fleurette - I wonder if she was aware that it was a brazen knock-off of an English product. Tom Clark is on her left.
Of course some Crown Lynn ware has similar decorations to overseas-made ware. This is because many of the decorative transfers were bought on the open market, so you see (for example) this Crown Lynn Bamboo cake plate has the same decoration (in a different colour) as an English-made plate I found in the Browns Bay hospice shop a couple of weeks ago.

And the decorations on the Crown Lynn fruit plates (marked Covent Garden) are also found on a range of other plates including this pink Old Foley plate by James Kent Ltd, Staffordshire, England.
 I could go on, and on, and on... but I won't! Our iconic Crown Lynn swan is believed to be a copy of an English one, and I have seen an English version of the McCallum whisky jug, in three sizes, on TradeMe.  I think in the good old days there was not the same intense possessiveness about intellectual property as there is now, when manufacturers don't hesitate to take court action when their work is copied.
I would love to hear of other copies/duplicates that you are aware of, this is an interesting aspect of NZ pottery research.
More soon


  1. That's really interesting! Fascinating stuff. Maybe it was even at times considered a compliment for their designs to be ripped off? Maybe the world wasn't quite so 'global' then! The internet has certainly changed things too! Enjoyable post!

    1. One of my contacts from the NZ Pottery website has pointed out that this is only the tip of the iceberg... Crown Lynn copied almost every English pottery; they must have picked up pieces and brought them back to NZ every time anyone went overseas. She says Titian 'took a liking' to a number of English shapes as well.

  2. Hi, I've a slightly strange question and after much googling came across your blog :) I'm trying to find out how you find year of manufacture for different Crown Lynn products... particularly Tulip cups. I'm working on a special birthday present and I need items (not necessarily Crown Lynn) dating from particular years... anything after 1974... do you know if any of the tulip cups were made after this date?
    Thanks, Rachel

    1. Hi Rachel. I believe that tulip cups were first made in 1959 or thereabouts, and they were certainly being made after 1974. Ev on the New Zealand Pottery site has done a great deal of research on patterns and dates, so if you leave a query on that site - - she will be able to give you info about specific patterns and other shapes. What a lovely idea for a birthday present!