Retro pottery yeah !


Mid-century, vintage, retro pottery styles.


Laminex, shag-pile, plastic pots, automobile tail fins and a lot of other fads from the 50’s and 60’s didn’t quite make it into the new century except with various niche collectors.  However the ceramics from this era have stood the test of time and are still sought after and used.

Jean-de-Lespinasse mid century modernist vase in black, white and yellow stripes

Jean de Lespinasse – An impressive and unusual vase by this decorative potter who worked from his studio in Nice during the 1950’s.

    The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were groovy times, the designer and trend setters were out to make a statement. Colours were bold and bright, the Atomic-age had arrived. It was time to get futuristic and modern. Women even wore stylish Yves St Laurent dresses to go shopping. The mid-century cultural revolution was unstoppable and they were daring to dream. Some fantastic style innovations were born of this era. Music, fashion and consumer products all got a huge makeover from the more conservative 40‘s. Designers and manufactures had grasped the power of marketing to a competitive minded consumer and were producing an ongoing stream of modern innovative styles. And the ceramics of this time were no exception. French, German, Italian, English, Scandinavian and the USA were all strong contributors to modernist ceramic designs in this fascinating period.

Image of couple shopping in the 50's

50’s shopping

Cyclope Pottery Annecy, France - blue lava glaze jug and vase

Cyclope Pottery Annecy, France. All are glazed with the typical blue Emaux des Glaciers, for which this pottery was renown.

( AnSeta )

    I find the popularity of the lava glazes of this era  intriguing. During this time the bomb was widely feared. A Doctor Strangelove scenerio loomed large in peoples minds.. Lava comes from explosions, so its widespread use could have possibly evolved from this subconcious fear. The same can be said for the volcanic glazes, which were reninforced with  red, orange and black firey colours. Some of the mid-century pottery were often bulky and heavy with very thick glazes, sometimes multi layered up to four layers deep with different colours and textures.Their appearance was very grounding, which maybe represented a balance to the explorations of alternative consciouness that were actively pursued at the time. Abstract designs were popular, and pop art designs also crept in along with some psychedelic creations.

Retro 60's decor with geometric black and silver wallpaper

Retro decor




Elegant 1950’s dish by Jean Austruy. Glazed with a smooth lava like glaze with an abstract design. Length: 11.5ins



West German mid-century vase in black and yellow abstract style

Vintage yellow and black West German vase

  Mid-century, vintage style ceramics are still loved by collectors and are becoming increasingly popular. The Atomic-era and Jet-age led to many abstract and innovative designs where streamlined contours were fused with angular geometric shapes.They encapsulate a time capsule of this amazing era and they reflect all it stood for.




Bitossi--Seta--compote--Italy-circa-1950-s---Flickr---robin parfitt

Bitossi  ‘Seta’  compote  Italy circa 1950′ s

robin parfitt – flickr



Mid century decor furnishings, mustard yellow sofa, chrome brutalist mirror, mirrored coffee table

Mid-Century sixties decor




 Large Mid Century Vase by Accolay, France in black and burnt orange glaze

 Large Mid Century Vase by Accolay, France.

 Green Grey glossy glaze, topped by a rust on beige ground.



Carstens Vase - West Germany with white volcanic lava glaze panels on olive green matt glaze

Carstens 1245 25 (cm) Vase  – West Germany

60’s 70’s Retro Mid century Fat Lava.



Bay West-German retro vase with geometric squares

 Fabulous West German vase manufactured in 1967 by Bay.



Hallelujah-Aveiro Atomic drop vase, modernist style

Hallelujah Aveiro drop shaped vase with trapezoidal blades – Portugal



Gebruder-Conradt-Schwabisch modernist jug and vase

Gebruder Conradt Schwabische Kunsttopferei



Claude-Conover Mid-Century striped vessel, tan colour

Large “Son Of Chaac” vase by Claude Conover; c. 1960  – USA

Height 22.5 “



Soholm-Denmark-heavy-Stoneware vase

Soholm Denmark heavy Stoneware vessel



Carl Cooper dish with Aboriginal style unglazed sgraffito decoration

Carl Cooper dish with unglazed sgraffito decoration


Retro 50's - 60's Italian Ceramic Vase

Italian Ceramic Vase 50’s – 60’s


Bitossi-Italian-Pottery-Vintage-orange vase and dish

Bitossi Italian Pottery  Orange and Tan fruit bowl and vase designed by Aldo Londi  circa 1960

( afterglow retro )



 Vintage German vase - 50's - 60's with abstract motif

 Vintage German vase – 50’s – 60’s



Matt purple modernist retro vessels, white lava glaze panels by Carstens Tönnieshof.

 West German Pottery –  Carstens Tönnieshof.

( The End of History shop )



Vase with mottled texture by California Originals with bold modernist shape

Mottle textured vase by California Originals, probably dating from the 1950s.



Elchinger-Ceramique modernist ceramic dish with mottled textural surface and red dots

Elchinger Ceramique



Vallauris modernist vase with trailing white drip decoration on matt black surface

Shapely example of Vallauris decorative pottery vase, glazed in matte black with brightly enamelled interior and a trailing white drip decoration.



 Tree ceramic vessels with mottled glazes from the great Gunnar Nylund of Rorstrand

A  mottled mix from the great Gunnar Nylund of Rorstrand fame. Swedish mid-century at its finest.

( End of History shop )



Soholm-Space-Age Atomic vessel, turquoise colour

Danish Soholm Space Age Pottery – Rockets and Circles



Modern retro vase by Anzolo Fuga for A.V.E.M., Murano, Italy.

Fine & rare Windows vase by Anzolo Fuga for A.V.E.M., Murano, Italy.



Large Handled Jug glazed in bright red with a dark Fat Lava overglaze by Fohr Keramik

Large Handled Jug glazed in bright red with a dark Fat Lava overglaze.

This item was made by the Fohr Keramik factory in Ransbach.

 The company was founded in 1859 and is still in production today.



VEB Haldensleben (formerly Carstens Uffrecht) fat lava glaze vase

Vase by VEB Haldensleben (formerly Carstens Uffrecht) – E.Germany

(  Eclectivist – etsy )



Mid Century modernist vase USA

American Mid Century modernist vase – 60’s



West German incised surface decorated Vase - Sawa 1950s

West German  Scrafitto Vase – Sawa 1950s



Twin handled mid century modern vase/jug

Mid-Century Modern Abstract Jug

Image source –




Scheurich Keramik vase



Vallauris studio of Auguste Lucchesi with mottled lava glaze and abstract yellow and red motifs

Vallauris tall vase from the Vallauris studio of Auguste Lucchesi.

Glazed in mottled black and white drip. Decorated with bright enamel abstract motifs.

( AnSeta )



Vallauris-lava-glaze modernist ceramic vase

Vallauris  France ‘Fat Lava’ Studio Pottery Vase   circa 1960’s

 afterglow retro



Francis Triay Neolithic range. kitchen ware mid-century

Selection of pottery by Francis Triay (See Designers) from the Neolithic range.  Made during the 60s



 Swing series vase Made in 1974 by Royal KPM.

Extraordinary Op Art vase from the Swing series. Made in 1974 by Royal KPM.

(  Eclectivist – etsy )



Cyclope-Pottery-Annecy-Emaux des Glaciers fat lava glaze vase

Cyclope Pottery Annecy Emaux des Glaciers  – 1950’s-1960’s



 VEB Haldensleben (East Germany) Mid Century handled vase with fat lava geometric pattern

Mid century handled vase by VEB Haldensleben (East Germany)



Rossello modernist pitcher from Vallauris

Striking example of Vallauris pottery by Rossello.

Little is known about this potter, who was one of the many working in Vallauris during the boom years of the 1960’s.



Modernist mid century vase with long neck and flaring rim with cut out

Studio art pottery vase with flaring rim.

height 12 inches


Retro vintage ceramic cats - salt and pepper shakers

 Cute Pair Retro Vintage 1960’s Siamese Cats Pottery Salt & Pepper shakers



Duemler-und-Breiden fat lava glaze vessels

Dumler and Breiden – Germany

( and 1 intruder )

via  J’adore Lava Fat – flickr

Dumler & Breiden large handled vase

Dumler & Breiden vase

Alessio Tasca mid-centruy bottles 1961

Retro ceramic bottles Alessio Tasca

Italy 1961

Antonia-Campi-,-1951 Mid Century modern

Mid-Century modernist umbrella stand – Antonia Campi

 Italy 1951

West German Bay-red glaze mid-century vase with black motif

West German Bay ceramic vase

Bruno_Gambone mid centruy modernist bottle

Bruno Gambone Italian modernist bottle

Fat Lava ceramic vase. 1950

Fat Lava ceramic vase.

Germany 1950

Guido Gambone vase 60's with spiral motifs

Guido Gambone vintage modern vase

Guido Gambone red geometric modernist bottle with yellow circle motif

Guido Gambone, Itlay


Rathjen biomorphic lamp base


West German Pottery Vase drip glaze Fat Lava by Bay

Bay Fat Lava vase



Ceramic White Poodle – Lisa Larson

Gustavsberg, Sweden




Jean Austruy, French

More posts:


  1. Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    You may like to check the catalogue of the exhibition ‘Keramik Conversations’ [curated for the Aberystwyth ceramic gallery, in conjunction with this year (2013) International Ceramic Festival; which showcased French and German ceramics from the post war decades (50s- to 70s), placing them in the wider context of the 20th century (especially experiments with glazes).
    From Dalpayrat to Vallauris, Annecy (Le Cyclope) and Fat Lava, the exhibition presents a dynamic picture of popular ceramics which set out to introduce artistic Modernity through ceramics. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. Deb
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Do you have a search engine on your site?
    Thank you

  3. robbie robbie
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    It’s on a long list of things to be done. Usually I use Google search, if I’m trying to locate something. Just type in what you are looking for with + veniceclayartists.
    cheers Robbirvez

  4. Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    You aren’t the first one to suggest a connection between atomic bombs and volcanic glazes, but the theory doesn’t really hold up. Experimentation with the volcanic glazes was going strong before WWII even started. Otto Natzler was working on such in Austria before he came to the US. The difference is that he was in a position to keep working, while most such experimentation likely came to a halt in France and Germany. So, like much of the design work after WWII, the volcanic glazes were largely a matter of taking up where things left off and trying to catch up…..make up for the years of war and the pre-war repression of art.

  5. robbie robbie
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, thanks for the info, I wasn’t aware that Natzler was pivotal in the development of the volcanic glaze. My theory still holds up because the consumption of volcanic glaze wares occurred primarily in the 50’s and 60’s when the fear of the bomb was running at its highest.From a Taoist perspective, atomic explosions are a massive expansion of a Yin force and the fallout from the dropped atomic bombs was already in the atmosphere and in the collective consciousness. Volcanic energy is pure yang. The generally large size and weight of the volcanic glaze pottery and the colours ( red, black, orange ) were also yang.The yang Chi moves downwards and is grounding. So possibly the attraction towards these wares came from this.

  6. Melissa
    Posted January 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink


    I am looking for a pottery/ceramics artist from around 1983 when my favorite oval platter was made.
    The main color is a soft khaki with “1/2” wide ribbonish swirls of cream throughout. The artist mark on the base is a “s” ’83 although it almost appears like a swan with wings above the “S”.
    I would so love to learn more about this artist and their other work.
    Thank you in advance for any information you can pass on.

One Trackback

  1. By Retro pottery yeah ! | Ceramics | on August 2, 2015 at 12:41 am

    […] The 50's, 60's and 70's were groovy times, the designer and trend setters were out to make a statement. Colours were bold and bright, the Atomic-age had arrived. It was time to get futuristic and modern.  […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.