The dressers in Karina and Charles Rickards’s Georgianstyle farmhouse in Somerset are stacked with ribbed and striped, traditional, hand-painted Cornishware pottery. Cake plates are piled high with homemade brownies, English tea brews in the pot, milk’s in the jug, and freshly plucked flowers from the cutting patch decorate the ceramic jars that double as vases. The scene is a country kitchen idyll, brimful with everyday English heritage china, cherished but often taken for granted.
Timeless Cornishware, made from Cornish clay and originally painted the colors of the county’s legendary blues skies and white-crested waves, is iconic. The ten-ounce mug has long been celebrated as one of the best designs of the twentieth century—and it has been produced in Britain’s ceramic heartland, The Potteries, for almost a century. Since its inception in 1924, specialist in Derbyshire Pottery, T.G. Green, crafted and hand-painted a wide range of traditionally striped household products. Desirable, durable, and indispensable, classic Cornishware was collected and handed down through generations, across the country and around the world.
Unfortunately, with increasing pressures of modern industry and intense competition, the pottery factory succumbed to closure in 2007. Charles Rickards, with some twenty years’ worth of experience in the China industry, was determined to reignite the kilns—fueled and supported by London-based design and brand guru Perry Haydn-Taylor and his wife, Vik, a passionate vintage Cornishware expert. Charles bought the company from administrators in 2008 and saved it from disappearing into the annals of ceramic history.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLIVE NICHOLS
WRITTEN BY JACKY HOBBS
This story appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of MILIEU.