Livingetc loves a bit of retro with bite – pieces that look as fresh today as they did first time around – and Jessie Tait’s ceramics for Midwinter Pottery ticks all the boxes. She’s on display at the V&A, but there’s a fine showcase of her work at a new exhibition at Bulthaup Clarkenwell as part of The London Design Festival, and we popped along last night.

Tait summed up the optimism of the Fifties, with exuberant designs that echoed abstract art and managed to bring good design within the reach of ordinary folk.

She joined Midwinter pottery in 1946 and soon tired chintzes and fussy florals were on the way out, and streamlined, stylish, witty patterns were in. Tait ushered in a new era of ceramic design that matched the mid-century innovations in furniture and fabrics.

Her mid-century world is a hip and happening place, dancing with Miró-like squiggles and organic shapes that recall Lucienne Day. Her greats include Festival (above), Zambezi (ultra modern zebra stripes, sometimes heightened by a splash of red) and the neat and dainty Flower Mist.

Her work at Midwinter extended through the Sixties and early Seventies (Orla Kiely eat your heart out) with chic striped patterns like Mexicana, Spanish Garden and Sienna, best seen on the sleek, tall coffee pot designed by the Marquess of Queensberry (below).

Midwinter Modernist: The Iconic Designs of Jessie Tait runs until 1 October (closed on Sundays).

Something tells us there could be a flurry of eBay activity in the coming weeks…

Jo, Sub-editor

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