Monthly Archives: December 2013

Discovery Day


On Thursday 28November, the  Haywards Heath Ceramics Group hosted a Discovery Day at the United Services Club in Sussex Road.

The members and guests greatly enjoyed the day with Will Farmer, well known on the Antiques Road Show.


Will Farmer

Members arriving

Members arriving

Will Farmer presented a wonderful insight into the Age of Art Deco, explaining the influences on the designers of ceramics during the period and beyond.  He talked about the Great Paris Exhibition in 1925 which designed to bring France to the forefront of Art, Design and Technology in the post war years. It was the most important exhibition that brought forward the Art Deco movement.

poster of 1925 paris exh

We entered the 1925 Exhibition through one of its Art Deco gates, visited the buildings of the great “magasins” of Paris and were surprised by the magnificent fountain (fourteen foot tall) designed and built by Rene Lalique which was lit by neon lights at nights – an absolute spectacle in glass!

lallique fountain 1925 paris exh

Lalique Fountain for the 1925 Paris Exhibition

Will has an absolute passion for the Art Deco period and told of its influences on all walks of life including cinema, travel, engineering, construction of buildings as well as interior design, fashion  and jewellery; breaking boundaries across the world, being new and challenging.

Annex - Colbert, Claudette (Cleopatra)_10

The Chrysler Building in New York, Battersea Power Station in London and the “Hoover” building on the Great West Road leading out of London are examples of Art Deco Architecture.


Fashions were taken to the extremes with Sonia Delaunay matching the paintwork of a car to the outfit worn by models.

paris exh 1925

Sonia Delaunay designed a matching outfit and car

The influences came from Picasso, Modigliani, Mondrian to name but a few; the Mayan, Aztec and Egyptian cultures; China and Japan, and  Africa. Paris, New York and Shanghai were the leading exponents of the designs.

The designs clearly showed the link between the sources and the results. They also showed the depth of research which has been done into this great style which touches everything and after the austerity of the Great War was grasped by many with both hands for the “dynamic” and sleekness of the designs.

In the afternoon, Will brought the talk back to the influences on ceramics with examples from the leading manufactures – Clarice Cliff, Poole and Carlton Ware, showing the impact of Cubism and Abstractionism on the designs in particularly Clarice’s and the Poole designs.  Explaining too that the Ballet Russe commissioned Picasso for set designs.  During the period pattern books were being widely used, particularly that of Benedictus, and examples of this book prove the connections between all these influences.


Carlton Ware

Carlton Ware

This was an unmisseable day and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.  Will Farmer is an excellent speaker and really brings the subject to life with his knowledge and enthusiasm – we are all looking forward to his next visit to our Group.

Eric Knowles

On Thursday 14th November, Eric Knowles, well known from the the BBC’s Antiques Road Show and a leading expert and authority on European and Oriental Ceramics (17th to 20th Century), Tiffany and Lalique Glass, as well as 19th and 20th Century Decorative Fine Arts, visited the Haywards Heath Ceramics Group as part of its 30th Anniversary Year.

Mr Eric Knowles

Mr Eric Knowles

Mr Knowles gave a talk entitled “A Gentle Introduction to English Porcelain from 1745 to 1845″, which was humorous and enlightening.  He presented an interesting insight into the development of porcelain through the period, taking a journey showing the influences of the Chinese (particularly) Ming on the manufacture of porcelain in England, and the benchmark clearly set by Meissen.  His talk was illustrated by excellent slides of beautiful examples, including Worcester, Bow, Swansea, Chelsea et cetera, showing the changes in quality of works from the “naïve” to the more elaborate transfer prints decoration.  Stating also, that quite often the beautifully decorated flowers, insects or leaves on a plate or cup were to hide imperfections in the firing!

Mr Knowles bought to life the history in the development of porcelain during this period making the whole experience illuminating, educating and certainly wishing to know more!