In the early years, Midwinter Pottery was not really anything to write home about according to POTTERY HISTORIES. That was of course until the entrance of the style known as STYLECRAFT FASHION. Not for the conservative household, if you grew up with one of these sets at home, your mom/mum/mama definitely was ultra stylish, bucking the traditional trend of all white tableware.
Stylecraft was introduced in 1953 and was the first of the ‘modern’ Midwinter wares. It came about as a result of the poor reception the preceding collection had received in Canada. I can’t imagine a fashion show for china, can you? Roy Midwinter, son of W. R. MidWinter, was told to take a look at the work of some of the new designs coming out of California. The result was ‘Stylecraft’, a modern shape that differentiated itself in the market, yet was practical and ‘not too different’. The Stylecraft range continued in production into the early 1960s. Interestingly, according to POTTERY HISTORIES, the Midwinter ware pre Stylecraft are not highly sort after by collectors.
MIDWINTER STYLECRAFT FASHION SHAPE
Style craft Fashion shape, not to be confused with Stylecraft, was a way introducing both bold colour and shape to a rather conservative public. Backstamps often refer to this style as ‘Stylecraft Fashion tableware’ or ‘Stylecraft Fashion shape’.
There are at least 120 patterns recorded on the Fashion shape including many Stylecraft originals. Well known are the Sir Hugh Casson’s ‘Cannes’, a reworking of the popular ‘Riviera’ pattern introduced on the Stylecraft shape in 1954; ‘Nature Study’ (1954) and ‘Plant Life’ by Terence Conron; and ‘Pierrot’ and ‘Zambesi’ by Jessie Tait.
Due to continued industry success, the company acquired the businesses of A. J. Wilkinson and Newport Pottery. But this was not to last! After hitting financial difficulties in the 1960’s the company merged with J & G Meakin in 1968 under the trading name ‘British Tableware Ltd’, but only for two years. The Wedgwood group acquired the business in 1970 and continued with the Meakin -Midwinter brand until 1987 when that entity was closed.
Still, today Midwinter Stylecraft Fashion Shape is again very much in demand due to the resurgence/popularity of retro wares. We have one of the more rare patterns from the 1950’s in excellent condition available. This set comprises of 3 teacups, 3 saucers, 3 side plate, a milk jug/creamer, sugar bowl and sandwich plate. The square plates are what make this such a distinctive style. With teal cups, these are sure to be a conversation starter in any home they’re used or displayed.
So what are you waiting for? Make it yours, shun conservatism and join the MidWinter Stylecraft trend.