This week we are sharing pieces from our collection of George Clews "Blue Chameleonware" Art Deco ceramics made in England in the Twenties and Thirties.
Although George Clews's "Chameleonware" line was designed in 1914, its production was placed on-hold due to the outbreak of World War One. Artistic genius, David Capper, served and was injured in the war. Eventually, he returned to Clews and picked-up where he had left off: continuing to develop and market Chameleonware in the Twenties. The line—which was produced in dozens of differing painted patterns and colorations—included mottled "solid" art glazes (to emulate Ruskin) or ambitious hand-painted decorations which closely observed popular decorative trends. Very often, these trends were inspired by contemporary, international archeological discoveries—in Persia, Egypt or Asia—which intrigued the public (and, especially, people who might never have the means or opportunity to travel to these far-flung, exotic lands). Authentic "Oriental" ceramics were a rich source of inspiration for the Western market. In fact, Chinese and Japanese ceramics had been popular with Europeans for centuries, though authentic, imported pieces were priced well-outside the reach of middle class consumers. Companies like Clews knew that they could tickle the market's fancy with exotic but affordable offerings, made right here at home. Of course, Asian design (shape and pattern) provided only the initial artistic inspiration. It became Asian design filtered through Western eyes (and artists' hands), adapted for European tastes. This created something new and different which has merit and value in its own, unique right.
The piece above, while clearly Art Deco, exhibits traces of its Chinese origins as an incense burner. The mottled glaze—blues, browns and a little green—emulate the works of pricier, studio production pottery. Click on the photo above to learn more about this piece. Or click here to see an assortment of Chameleonware pieces currently on-offer in the LEO Design on-line store.
More Chameleonware pottery tomorrow and in the days to come.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248