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John Beswick Ltd. Gold St., Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. Makers of earthenware. Trade name: "Beswick".
For Colin Melbourne's designs for Beswick, Click here

 

Albert Hallam for Beswick (mid fifties)

Hallam designed a variety of exotic shapes in the fifties, including crimped fruit bowls and jugs. Stickers, in black and silver, carried the name Beswick Ware, but are usually missing. Earthenware. The same body-shapes were used with many different patterns, of which the zebra pattern was designed by James Hayward. Red, blue, and yellow interior colour alternatives were used throughout the range, although only red and yellow were used with the zebra pattern. See Callow & Callow (1999) for further information about Beswick. Note: the Beswick zebra-striped decoration is NOT called 'zebrette' or 'Zambesi'; those names were used by Lancaster and Sandland, and Midwinter, respectively.

The Beswick zebra-stripe range is very much looked down upon by arty snobs and design 'experts', who see it as over-the-top and derivative. However, in my view, the body shapes are in several cases genuinely innovative (especially no 1458, below), and to be frank, who gives a toss what design snobs think? This range is never featured on BBC Antiques and Collecting programmes, which also supports the idea that is innovative and special. You can make your own mind up by looking at some pieces below.

 

Bowl, No. 1458
This is one of the rarest shapes in the series and is truly one of the most bizare shapes produced in England in the post war period. Pristine unused condition with no damage, only a tiny in-manufacture glaze skip on the foot rim and very faint crazing on white areas of the interior. Value: £175

 

 

Vase, No. 1371
Pristine unused condition with no crazing. This is the small size of the two-horned shape. The large size is 1357. Value: £75

 

Lipped globular vase, No. 1352
Pristine unused condition with only a couple of crazing lines. One side of the bowl has concentric ribbing (which was an intended part of the shape, by the way!). Body shape designed by Albert Hallam in 1954; issued 1954-62. Value: £75

 

Small bowl, No. 1358
Pristine unused condition with no crazing, only some in-manufacture glaze skip on the foot rim. Backstamp obscured by red glaze. Value: £10-30

Gondolier Fruit Bowl, No. 1353
Pristine condition. Shape designed by Albert Hallam in 1954, in production 1954-69. Value: £20-25

 

 

Fruit bowl, No. 1346
No crazing or cracks; a small underglaze or repainted chip on the red area of the inside rim. Some stains to the red area in the bottom of the bowl. Shape designed by Albert Hallam in 1954, in production 1954-62. Value: £50-90

 

Tripod fruit bowl, No. 1387
Gunnar Nylund designed a tripod freeform bowl, so could that have been the inspiration for this piece? Who knows. These beswick tripods are exceptionally rare, probably because the legs are so easily broken off; the bowls then get thrown away. I have only seen three in the 4 years I have been looking on eBay - and two were damaged. This survivor has restored breaks to two of the legs. Also originally with some fruit staining to the inside (which bleached-out in a few weeks when I stood it in a sunny window) and patchy crazing. Why did I keep it? Because it is a superb piece of rare fifties retro and looks great. Designed by Albert Hallam in 1955, and in production from 1955-62. Value in this condition: £15-25 Note added June, 2006; this bowl in red, and with broken-repaired legs, sold for £87.

For more on the restoration on this piece, and how to spot restored ceramics, click here.

 

 

Small tripod bowl 1388
This is a real cracker. So unusual and stylish, and, miraculously in sparkling condition with no damage, and no dreaded leg restoration. The only fault is some very fine, almost invisible, crazing to the centre of the interior. Designed by Albert Hallam in 1955, and in production from 1955-62. Value: £100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small vase, No. 1343-2
The vase rests on a wavelike pedestal. This is perhaps the commonest of the Beswick zebra-pattern pieces. There is a less common larger size in this shape. Fine crazing to the white areas, and a slightly wavy edge to the lip due to poor finishing in the factory. Shape designed by Albert Hallam in 1954, in production 1954-62. Value: £15-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jug with handle, No. 1367
The handle has notches on the underside to act as finger-grips. Perfect condition. Shape designed by Albert Hallam in 1955, in production 1955-69. Value: £65-120

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jug with handle, No. 1367
Perfect condition. Infrequent. Value: £25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beswick Ballet

renamed Pavlova in later issues

 

 

 

Preserve pot, No. 1442
Body shape is the first version ('Contemporary') designed by Albert Hallam in 1956 and in production from 1965-1961. Overall crazing and a couple of rim nibbles. Earthenware. Value: £5-10 (in this condition)