Fairyland lustreware is one of Wedgwood’s best-known ceramic ranges, and was the project of one designer, Daisy Makeig-Jones, in the 1920s. Born in Yorkshire in 1881, the designer’s real name was Susannah Margetta but she went by her nickname of Daisy.; she was influenced by illustrations in children’s story books, as well as the rich colours and designs of old oriental porcelain. Daisy produced fantasy landscapes of magical figures such as fairies and elves, all in glowing, jewel-like colours picked out with gold. Although the fashion at the time was for Art Deco and geometric patterns, her work caught the imagination of a public jaded by the First World War, and it became very popular. Daisy left Wedgwood in 1931 and Fairyland lustreware went out of production. She died in 1945.
Part of the success of the Fairyland lustreware range was the beautiful effects that the designer achieved by using an ancient technique of mixing gold, silver and copper metallic oxide pigments in oil and painting them onto the pottery. After firing, the metal melted into a very thin, lustrous, reflective film to give an iridescent effect. The complexity of the process and the cost of the raw materials meant that at the time the pieces were considered expensive, but were still a commercial success for Wedgwood. The range was influential at the time, and is still greatly sought after by modern collectors.
As with all pottery, the value of Fairyland lustreware is largely dependent on the age and condition of the individual piece. The most sought after items are those made in the early twenties, when Daisy was still decorating the pieces herself, and pattern numbers and initials will also enhance value. As the lustre is fragile and susceptible to damage, perfect examples are the most sought after by collectors.
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