James & George set up the firm J & G Meakin in 1851, and manufactured earthenware tableware in Stoke-on-Trent in England. Before 1945 they made inexpensive items, which were particularly exported to America. After the 2nd world war the expansion in the UK market for tableware for the home, resulted in J&G Meakin producing a wide range of both traditional and fashionable shapes and patterns. Over 100 patterns on 17 different shaped pieces have been recorded for the period 1945-1975.

The firm has been most widely recognised for the "Sol" ware tea, coffee & dinner sets produced between 1912 and 1963 for home and hotel use, here are a few lovely examples of Sol ware from the yay retro! shop:



An Art Deco style cake plate with garden flowers.



Pastel Blue Flowery Sol Teaset pattern no. 391413 looks to be 1940/50s



Black Cups with Lemon decorated saucers  Sol coffee set pattern no. 391413  1950s?

Many collectors  in the UK will be most familiar with J&G Meakin's Studio shape, these date from 1964 to the late 1970s. The designers involved in developing the Studio Shape range include Alan Rogers, Tom Arnold, Frank Trigger and the more well known Jessie Tait.

Below ...The gorgeous large orange and red flower pattern on a Dahlia Coffee Pot (rarely found).



In 1968, J&G Meakin took over Midwinter, whose 'Fine' shaped coffee pots had influenced their Studio Shape designs. The Studio Shape range consists of a very tall, sleek coffee pot with a long spout, which is very recognisable. These are popular items to collect as they double up as ornamental pieces. Below is an example of the Aztec pattern.



The teapots such as the Topic patterned example below, are more squat and round. 



The cups come in two shapes, tall coffee 'cups' which flare at the rim (e.g the Aztec cups above), and wider flat based 'cans' used for tea (the Capri patterned cups below). The range includes jugs and sugar bowls, plates, serving dishes, gravy boats, large platters, egg cups, salt & pepper pots, dishes, soup bowls and stands.



Patterns include Inca which is a brown and orange starburst pattern:



The minimal and understated Allegro with subtle tones and a neat daisy design:



The lovely large green and blue flowers of Galaxy:



Jessie Tait's Impact with it's almost psychedelic floral design:



The abstract patterns on the rarely found pattern Nova:



The pretty pink daisy designs of Filigree:



The lovely bright blue tropical flowers in the Pacific pattern:



The understated and minimal apple core design found upon Applewood on the left below:



and the gorgeous harvest fruits design of Eden above right and below:

 

Below...the stunning mosaic pattern of Tuscany in chocolate, lemon and blue....



Look out for other Studio Shape patterns such as:

Alfresco (deep yellow and grey blocks with detailing)
Amulet (mustard and orange circles)
Ascot (black and grey leaf patterns in blocks)
Bali (yellow and beige abstract tropical flower & leaf design)
Baroque (orange and sage green paisley)
Bascobel (pink and grey oak leaves)
Bermuda (large yellow flowers & green leaves)
Bettina (tiny blue traditional flowers)
Bianca (matte black glaze, abstract design)
Blue Alpine (simple blue Scandi style daisies)
Cadiz (neat royal blue star shapes)
Castille (orange matte glaze, mustard abstract pattern)
Celebrity (burgundy blocks with black detailing)
Contessa (traditional lined pattern)
Creation (beige mottled earthenware)
Dusky Maid (lilac and dusky pink poppies)
Elite (sage green and turquoise stripes)
Evesham (apple blossom)
Fascination (purple & pink poppies)
Folkweave (matte mustard glaze, detailed lines)
Garden Party (bright turquoise, pink & yellow flowers)
Golden Chain (yellow laburnam flowers)
Harvest Field (wildflowers in blue and pink)
Lotus (orange & beige large abstract lotus flowers)
Maori (brown rectangles with beige ovals & black circles)
Madrid (large psychedelic orange & beige pattern)
Mandalay (pretty lilac and blue flowers)
Meadow Lane (pink wildflowers)
Minstrel (beige, pink and red poppies)
Minuet (detailed turquoise/blue flowers)
Monaco (red and black leaves)
Morning Dew (80s style pink flowers)
Night Club (50s style roses)
Nocturne (simple black and white)
One Fine Day (apple blossom with field scene)
Paisley (orange, black & mustard paisley)
Palma ( large orange & yellow sunflowers)
Pierrot (blue circles & swirls)
Poppy (large orange/red poppies)
Prelude (detailed circle of leaves with floral motif)
Riverside ( orange, mustard and black 50s style style with drawn leaf shapes)
Rondo (abstract purple circles)
Rosina (red 50s rose)
Scraffito (simple black elegant lines to create elongated shapes)
Shangri-La (beige blocks with large white daisies)
Spring Filed (traditional blue flowers)
Spring Morning (green, yellow & blue flowers)
St Clements (oranges & lemons)
Stitch in Time (beige stitched patterns)
Sunset (large simple orange and red abstract daisy)
Sweet Pea (80s style pink flowers)
Trousseau (50s pink & grey roses)
Tulip Time (Beige matte glaze with abstract tulips)
Vanity Fair (ditsy flowers with matte dark pot black or brown?)
Wayside (traditional 80s wildflowers)
Whispering (large brown poppies)
White Ice (50s yellow rose)
Woodland (traditional yellow daisy)



Above....a Capri serving dish with matte turquoise lid.

Such was J&G Meakin's output, there are many designs out there, where the pattern names are unknown, for example the pale blue florals on the coffee set below:



In the 70s the Habitat shape was introduced, this is large, chunky and very curvy. A real contrast to the sleek lines of the Studio Shape range. As soon as we have an example we will post it on this page, as well as in our shop.

Information on this page will be updated as and when we learn more, and is based upon our current knowledge. Please note we do not buy J&G Meakin items from the general public.


Above...Galaxy on a plant pot - most unusual!!

Key Books:

J&G Meakin Pottery, History in the Making by Chris Marks
Ceramics of the 1960s by Graham McLaren

J&G Meakin Studio in the yay retro! shop

Buy J&G Meakin Studio on our website