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The Enduring Appeal of the Supernatural - Still Popular Today?

It's that time of year when the nights suddenly draw in and it becomes much easier to believe that mythological creatures with supernatural powers might actually exist somewhere out in the darkness...

It's an influence that has clearly affected many 20th century pottery designers. Myths, legends and the supernatural have all played their role in popular culture and design over the last 100 years. In this newsletter we've taken a look at just two examples of this.

In the early 1900s, enthusiasm for the fairyland designs of the 19th century romantic era was still strong. As a rising young designer at Wedgwood, Daisy Makeig-Jones was enthralled by the possibilities of combining Wedgwood's new lustre glazes with elaborate, fairyland designs of the kind seen in 19th century art and literature.

Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Bowl Wedgwood Lustre Bowl
Examples of the elaborate detail of these designs.

The result was one of the finest collections of ceramic ware of the 20th century - Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre - enthusiasm for which sees finer examples regularly changing hands for four figure sums on both sides of the Atlantic.

How History Turned to Art

Perhaps the same spirit also drove the creation of a completely different type of ceramic ware - that of Lancashire-based PenDelfin. Inspired at least in part by the brooding presence of the nearby Pendle Hill and perhaps by the true story of the Witches of Pendle, early PenDelfin was strongly influenced by witchcraft and the supernatural.

Rare 1950s pieces such as the Standing Witch Plaque, Phynnodderee (Manx Pixie) and Elf Wall Figure all appear to have been strongly influenced by local history and legends.

Rare PenDelfin Flying Witch Wall Plaque Rare PenDelfin Miniature A Plaque Phynnodderee (Manx Pixie) Rare PenDelfin Pixie Bod
Metallion PenDelfin Flying Witch plaque, PenDelfin Phynnodderee, and a PenDelfin Pixie Bod.

However, the immediate success of PenDelfin's early rabbit ranges meant that the company's future direction was decided for them and from the 1960s witchcraft took a back seat at the Burnley factory.

Rare PenDelfin Grey Father Mouse Old Rare PenDelfin Dungaree Father Rabbit Rare PenDelfin Rabbit Gallery Series Plaque Dodger
PenDelfin Father Mouse c1961-1966, PenDelfin Dungaree Father c1955-1960 and Dodger Gallery Series plaque c1968-1971.

Today, such early pieces are amongst the rarest and most sought-after examples of PenDelfin's early work - proving perhaps that the supernatural retains its hold over today's collectors, too.

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Happy Halloween!

Perfect Pieces

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