Eastern Inspiration - part I

George Clewes "Chameleonware" English Arts & Crafts Trumpet Vase with Hand-Painted "Indian Flame" Motif (LEO Design)

A recurring theme at LEO Design is my interest in "Aesthetic Adaptation"—when the artists and craftspeople of one country emulate the design aesthetic of another country's artists and craftspeople. In recent years, critics have labeled such "interpretations" as "Cultural Appropriation." I do not judge it so cynically.  Through the years, I have purchased many beautiful objects that were inspired in one part of the world by the artisans in another part of the world. Most times, the catalyst for such an "appropriation" was a sincere admiration for the aesthetics, the craft, of the other time and place.

But there was another compelling reason why these adaptations sometimes occurred: affordability. Ceramics from remote places—say, the Far East or the Middle East—were rare and costly, within reach only of wealthy collectors. But the appreciation for "far-away style" could be found within all economic classes.  If a Middle Class or Working Class homemaker was to have a bit of "Oriental Style" in her home, it was most likely something made domestically.

The piece shown here was made by George Clewes around the year 1920. Its hand-painted "Indian Flame" decoration would have brightened an English sitting room. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


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