I think that you can guess by what’s for sale on A Fine Vintage’s website that the Art Deco period of ceramics and glassware is our favourite period of design.

With that in mind, we thought you may like to know a little more about this exciting time in history. Art Deco, sometimes referred to as simply Deco, is a style of design, arts and architecture that first appeared in France just before the onset of the Great War 1914-1918. It was however, most popular from 1925 in the decorative arts world up to about the start of WWII in 1939. However Art Deco style continued right up until the 1950s and has influenced and inspired designs throughout the decades right up to the present time.

The term Art Deco took its name from the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial arts held in 1925 in Paris (Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industries Modernes). Its influence could be seen in buildings, fashion, ceramics, glassware, furniture and even trains.

Its intention was to bring together the finest craftsmanship and materials with modern design. Art Deco was and still is, synonymous with luxury, glamour, the jazz age, wealth and class and had the overwhelming desire to be modern. 

You can see how Art Deco was influenced by a plethora of previous styles, from the geometric patterns and angles of Cubism to the colours of Fauvism, encapsulated by the work of Henri Matisse, which favoured the use of bold colours over exact representations of subjects.

Art Deco red, black and gold trio
Art Deco red, black and gold trio

Like Art Nouveau before it, Art Deco’s impact has been primarily on the decorative and graphic arts as well as architecture and fashion. So it is no coincidence that Art Deco’s influence has been very important in the ceramics industry, fundamentally changing previously approved concepts of form and decoration.

Susie Cooper inspired Myott side plate
Susie Cooper inspired Myott

Widely used in Art Deco decoration were stylised chevons and geometric patterns based on repeated lines and overlapping rectangular shapes as well as angles in form and straight line gilding.  Stylised floral decoration was common on Art Deco ceramics too but vastly different to the organic nature of Art Nouveau with its soft environmental lines and flow.

Art Deco had a huge impact on the British ceramics world with ceramic artists Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper in the late 20s breaking the mould and major manufacturers like J&G Meakin taking influence too with their angled plates and simple floral designs  Glass makers too embraced the Art deco scene with Rene Lalique, the name most associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass.

J and G Meakin Art Deco plate
J and G Meakin Art Deco plate