Up and Away with the Fairies

10th October 2019

Elves, pixies and dragons – fantastical designs that helped one of Britain’s major ceramic factories survive the effects of the Great War are being sold at auction by the niece of their creator.

Sixteen lots of Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre from the collection of Anne Makeig-Jones are being sold on 16th October as part of Woolley and Wallis’s Design sale.

Daisy Makeig-Jones’ fantastical designs were produced at Wedgwood from 1915 and offered contemporary art lovers an opportunity for escapism as the horrors of the Great War unfolded.

“The popularity of these designs on the other side of the Atlantic proved a real turning point for the Wedgwood factory,” said Design specialist Michael Jeffery. “They helped to crack the lucrative American market during the 1920s, which was increasingly important as Europe struggled to recover from the effects of the war.”

Unusually, Makeig-Jones had joined the firm in 1909 as an apprentice painter, and her talents and innovative designs had allowed her to rise through the factory’s ranks – no small feat for a woman at that time. Within two decades, however, the world had grown tired of her distinctive designs and Wedgwood withdrew the Fairyland series in 1929. Unable, or perhaps unwilling, to adapt to changing tastes and fashions, Makeig-Jones was unable to produce new designs away from her favoured world of mythical people and creatures. She was asked to retire from Wedgwood in 1931 and left the factory in a rage, never to design again.

The collection includes two plaques titled ‘Picnic by a River’ and ‘Elves in a Pine Tree’, estimated at £1,000-1,500 and £2,000-4,000 respectively. A Lustre Lincoln plate titled ‘Rainbow’ is estimated at £1,000-1,500, while a rare Lustre Malfrey Pot (believed to be unique) carries an estimate of £3,000-5,000. The whole collection is expected to make in the region of £20,000.

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