Hornsea Pottery has recently become very popular with vintage collectors, with magazines such as Homes & Antiques having featured the brand in recent years. The Hornsea company was set up by Colin & Desmond Rawson in 1949 in their small terraced home. The business began by making Plaster of Paris knick-knacks to sell as souvenirs to tourists. The brothers had studied at the Batley College of Art but were not initially potters. After the purchase of a small kiln they started working with clay. 



above a little squirrel posy vase from Hornsea and below a matching deer vase...



The brothers got help with a cash injection from several local businessmen including Phillip Clappison (a surname that Hornsea collectors will recognise - more later). Their vases and jugs sold well and they expanded the business by taking on an employee and moving into larger business premises in 1950.

From the mid-1950s, the Hornsea Pottery business was becoming more diverse, they gave tours of their factory and there were playgrounds, a model village and shops on their site which was thought of as a 'Pottery in a Garden' meaning that people could spend all day there! This was Britain's first theme park!!

below...a polka dot heart shaped trinket dish, almost certainly from the 50s...


One of the key Hornsea designs looked for by collectors are Marion Campbell's 1950/60s cats which come in a variety of sizes. These appealing matte glazed ornaments have large turquoise eyes and are extremely sought after.



It was in the mid-1950s,  that the Rawsons noticed Philip Clappison's son, John. John Clappison was studying at the Hull College of Art and was invited to join the business.



In 1960 the stunning Summit tableware was produced, this striking design is minimalist in form featuring simple stripes. Glazes appear in black, blue and yellow...

above & below Summit butter dishes...


Below is Clappison's 'Rainbow' design on a pair of salt and pepper pots, this again using the embossed stripe pattern. This time with a predominantly yellow glaze with blue, black and red stripes. 



Clappison's Springtime range featured brightly colour embossed daisies, this is very sought after by vintage collectors who love this upbeat, cheery 60s design...It comes in turquoise and orange or yellow and blue, and is totally delightful.

below Springtime cruet set, the salt & pepper pot lids are plastic rather than pottery...


Summertime (sorry no photos) is an amalgamation of both Summit and Springtime with colourful stripes and plastic lids - but no flowers.

In 1967 John Clappison's Heirloom design became exceptionally popular and was apparently Hornsea's first full tableware range. This features a bold black pattern on either Lakeland Green, Midnight Blue or Autumn Brown glazes. The range includes storage jars, spice jars and much more besides. Strikingly 70s, these colours were typical for the homespun, 'aspirationally' self sufficient' era - think The Good Life TV programme. This range was so successful production could not keep up with demand!

Below is a stunning example of an Autumn Brown large biscuit jar....


and here is a lovely set of Lakeland Green Heirloom soup bowls...


below a set of Heirloom spice jars in Midnight Blue...


Below...Heirloom spice jars on a teak rack


Later the Bronte and Saffron patterns were launched. A Bronte preserve or honey pot can be seen below, a lot of people use these as sugar bowls too!



Saffron by contrast has a very pretty pattern made up of lots of teeny daisies on a orangey background.
Below a gorgeous spice rack with labelled jars...


The Saffron range includes storage jars..... 


Jugs...


A sugar bowl which is also handy for small house plants!.....


Eggcups....


A gorgeous Saffron butter dish...


and lidded dishes such as the one below...


teak lidded preserve pots also featured in the range...


People love to collect Hornsea mugs and these can feature people, signs of the zodiac and animals such as chickens...These can command extremely high resale prices.



The salt & pepper pots, preserve jars or lidded sugar pots are also highly sought after in this range which can feature birds, fish, owls, chickens, hens, dolphins and more. they have teak lids and come in oranges, blues and greens.



Above...superb apple salt and pepper pots, John Clappison was clever to tap into the fashion for Scandi inspired designs.



We love the family of birds on the preserve pots above and below....what a lovely orange and turquoise glazes!



Here is a rarer design featuring dolphins...



Recently people have begun to collect the salt and pepper pots designed by John Clappison which feature cats, owls, birds and fish. These come in an orangey brown, green and royal blue glazes, these colours match the regular tableware produced by Hornsea at the same time.

 

Finding a set in their original box recently was incredibly exciting, as it is marvellous to see the original packaging for vintage tablewares.



These salt and pepper pots and actually perfect for use as ornaments anywhere in your vintage home, as you can see with these Royal Blue Hornsea Owls.



The bird salt and pepper pots are some of the most sought after, along with the fish...



You can mix and match glaze colours with these perfect pots which double up as ornaments!



One of the most sought after Hornsea items is the bird ashtray. Some people describe this as a spoon rest these days!  It is certainly hard to think of someone using this with a cigarette! The wonderful thing about these birds which come in blue, brown and green (like their salt & pepper counterparts above), is that they have a deep recess on the reverse allowing them to be easily and safely hung on the wall.



By 1974 the Hornsea Works was producing three million pieces of tableware a year and Hornsea products were sold worldwide for over 20 years. John Clappison won many Design Council awards for his work with Hornsea.

This stunning fish wall plaque comes from a range which includes all sort of bright zingy glazes...simply adore this shocking yellow colour don't you?!



In the 70s, Hornsea launched a range of pottery called Lancaster Vitramic. This has a high quality finish which has a completely different feel to their previous tablewares. below is an oil or vinegar pourer in the matte Palatine pattern.



Here is the same shaped pourer this time in the shiny, high quality finished 'Charisma' deisgn, we love the Scandi feel of the leaves on this one....



In the same range of Lancaster Vitramic, here is a delightful Christening cup and saucer. it has different images all around including a church, pram and this little scene of the baby being christened. So cute!



Many other designs were created including this divine polka dot which features a gold glaze and even has gold tops to the salt and pepper pots. We don't know is this was a test pattern as we have only found it the once.



Floral designs were also manufactured in Lancaster Vitramic, here we have a trio of orange flowery dishes from the range.



Below a later simplistic 'Stripe' design on the same shaped pots. This came in red, yellow, green and blue and appeared in the 80s.



We think this design would have been launched in the 80s as this is the kind of styling that was around when we got married!!



Below is a design called Fleur, designed by Sarah Vardy. This is a delicate pattern made up of mint green and beige poppies and corn on an off white background.


and here we have a later pattern, probably from the 80s called Blossom...


Sadly, Hornsea Pottery is now closed. Over 2,000 pieces from the pottery's beginnings can be seen at The Hornsea Museum in Newbegin, the main street of Hornsea. 

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 in Hornsea from the general public.

Hornsea in the yay retro! shop

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