My favourite Auction house in Adelaide - Scammell, is having a large AUSTRALIANA auction next weekend (20th November). Amongst the items for auction, is a large range of WEMBLEY WARE - A uniquely Australian pottery. Follow the link to see the full Auction Catalogue HERE. Thank you to Jason Harris from Scammell for allowing me to use the images from the Catalogue.
Wembley Ware is considered by many to be over the top Kitsch, while others think it high art, and it is very definitely 1950’s. It reminds me of the sculptures of work Jeff Koons, American Artist and Sculptor with its extreme lustres, bizarre combinations.
During the 1950’s there was an Americanisation of Australian culture. People wanted their homes to look like the pages of American lifestyle magazines. British ceramics was seen by many as bit old fashioned. Some went down the Scandinavian path, and others wanted something more bright and colourful and exciting following the shortages of the war years.
In 1946 ceramics company Brisbane &Wunderlich created a range of decorative crockery called Wembley Ware, starting with a Cruet Set. To avoid paying a high sales tax the piece was fashioned into a salt and pepper shaker and a mustard dish. It was a huge seller. After this came hundreds more pieces of functional fancy tableware, vases and ashtrays.
The company was based in Subiaco, and inner suburb of Perth. It was the biggest commercial ceramics company in Australia at the time. The company, which also owned Bristle Tiles, introduced quirky landscaped display parks around Perth as an innovative method of advertising.
In the 1990s Brisbane and Wunderlich sold out to Australian Fine China. This was long after its Wembley Ware range ended in 1961. Now they are now highly prized collectors items.