Collectible Cornish Kitchenware
Traditional Cornish Kitchenware
Picture the scene. You're sitting in a cozy little bed and breakfast overlooking the Cornish coast. The waves are splashing against the rocks and the fishermen are arriving back in the boats with their catch of the day.
The table is set with blue and white striped tableware. Plates, cups and saucers and of course the teapot. The whole breakfast room is filled with this traditional crockery. This is Cornishware.
This traditional blue and white tableware was designed with colors that were reminiscent of the blue Cornish sky and the white caps of breaking waves. This is the traditional crockery called Cornish kitchenware, but the name is deceptive because they were made in Derbyshire in the Midlands of England. These pieces are very popular and are now collected not just in England but throughout the rest of the world as well. Many companies are replicating the classic design but the originals are in demand and commanding a high price for rare pieces.
Where to Find Cornishware
As with anything that is collectible, there are various locations that are best to find these. In Britain, it's possible to find them at car boot sales, the equivalent of swap meets, although since their popularity has soared over the past few years, these are becoming more difficult to find or are commanding a higher price.
There are also charity shops although often they will hold these back to sell to dealers themselves.
Ebay is also a popular choice to find Cornish ware and there are many traders who are buying and selling stock. If the seller hasn't listed much in the way of a description, ask more questions.
Before bidding, ask if there are any cracks, hairline or otherwise, the overall condition, any stains or visible marks etc. Don't be afraid to ask for additional photos of the object. It is worth asking about their return policy as well. Check out their feedback. Most people who are making a business this way are honest and want you to be happy with your purchase.
T G Green and Judith Onions
Although called Cornish ware, these were actually produced in Derbyshire in the midlands of England famous for its pottery making. The company produced the blue and white range throughout the life of the company. Now the crockery is made in China and shipped to England.
The designer Judith Onions is synonymous with Cornish kitchenware. She was responsible for restyling the designs into ones with a mass market appeal and some of her classic designs can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Cornish ware is perfect for building a country kitchen look. The banded design or hoops as they are sometimes called, are an endearing simplistic style that has lived on since the 1920s. It evokes a retro feeling of a simpler time when families sat down together for breakfast and spoke with anticipation about their day.
In the main, the Cornish kitchenware items were used at the breakfast table. In the 1930s there were fewer people with maids and servants than previous decades in England. This meant the family came to the kitchen for their breakfast. Normally dinner was still more formal and was eaten in the main dining room. The uniform but casual look of the Cornish kitchenware was a big hit with the middle classes and has remained so to the present day.
Colors of Cornishware
Although the blue and white hoops are normally associated with Cornish ware, there have been many other colors that were and are still produced in their collection. Some were only for the American market and others were more popular in the UK. The colors include yellow and white, green and white, gold and white, gold and blue, red and white, black and white. and all white. In fact during the WWII, when rationing was in place and everything was being collected to aid the war effort, dyes weren't used. As such, white Cornishware was produced during that time.
There are also designs with spots, called Domino ware and a range called Streamline ware which is cream with green stripes.
What is your Cornishware worth
To determine a value on any pottery depends on its rarity and condition. Also market factors play a part. If the market for them is slow, you will get paid less. If you want to sell on eBay for example, you can always set a reserve price to ensure it won't be sold for less than you are willing to accept.
Often if a piece has been highlighted on an antique show or a program about cottage kitchen décor, there may be a sudden spike in traffic of people wanting your Cornish ware piece.
If you are uncertain of the age of your piece, you can check online where there is a list of the back stamps which will give you an idea of the age and rarity of your piece.
© 2012 Mary Wickison