|An example of Freeform vases by Poole Pottery, designed 1950's|
|Left: Promotional plate used as signage in stores for Freeform, Right: Freeform vases|
|Left: pattern Trail vases, Right: Totem pattern shallow bowl by Diane Holloway|
|Left: Artists at work in the Poole Factory, Dorset, England in the 1950's|
Right: The Freeform collection of Poole expert John Clark
|Left: Unusually shaped Freeform bowl, Right: Platter, owned by myself|
|Left: Freeform vase owned by myself, Right: Another design in the same silhouette|
|Left: lamp bases designed in Freeform range, Right: platter|
|Left: Tiles designed by Poole in the same period to promote Dorset, Right: Freeform vase|
|Left: Some quite unusual colors for Freeform in vases, Right: Freeform bowl|
Often the most sought out and the most pricey to collect is the Freeform range from Poole Pottery, based in Dorset, England. Designed by Alfred Read and Guy Sydenham, Poole Pottery launched the Freeform range in 1956-57. Consisting of nine slip-cast 'freeform' shapes decorated in eight new patterns and some hand-thrown shapes, with ten additional new hand-painted patterns all designed by Ruth Pavely and Ann Read.
Influenced quite heavily by Scandinavian studio Pottery of the period such as Gustavsberg and their work with one of my heroes Stig Lindberg, Scandinavian design was well ahead of the pack in the 1940s and it was in the mid 1950s that UK and USA began to catch up using shapes colours and glazes being produced by the leading Scandinavian factories.
I love the patterns that are used on the silhouettes of these vases and bowls, The soft but structured designs that were largely produced in dusty pastels, It's amazing that they are all so intricately painted by hand.
I am lucky to own 2 pieces that I have acquired over the years but these guys are not easy to find and if you do, you have to be prepared to pay premium prices.
Please note: Some of these images have been kindly supplied by John Clark, who generously reached out to me to share his knowledge of this period of Poole Pottery. I am afraid in my first post I did not get all the information right, This general post of Freeform also cover the Contemporary period that John pointed out is in fact often mistaken as Freeform but actually encompasses 2 periods of Poole.
For interested collectors of Poole, There is also good information in a catalogue from the 1997 “Poole in the 1950s” exhibition that John Clark co-hosted with Richard Dennis at his gallery in London. The catalogue is still in print and can be purchased through the Richard Dennis Publications website, as can the best book on the pottery “Poole Pottery” by Hayward and Atterbury which has information on all periods.