Bicentenary Blue

In our last post we highlighted a collection of copy artworks showing the individual design elements found on the Bicentenary Vase, a special production commemorating Minton’s two hundredth anniversary. The company also issued a new colourway of their popular Haddon Hall pattern and artworks of the backstamps used on “Haddon Hall Blue” were included in the same bundle of out-of-sequence material as the Bicentenary Vase items.

Inside a large folder labelled “Kenneth Wright’s artwork for the printer of blue colourway of ‘Haddon Hall'” the first of two A3 sheets – a detail from which we’ve used as the post’s header image – features a printed border of Haddon Hall pattern elements with pencil-drawn lettering in the centre. Two lightly penned notes identify the typeface to be used as “Helvetica bold, & med condensed” and date and sign the document “16.03.92 KW”.

The second A3 sheet comprises a number of different backstamp designs alongside a large spray of Haddon Hall Blue, again annotated with “KW” initials and, usefully, “Archive No. N.P. 3984”. “NP” numbers were temporary references given to new patterns which would be cancelled and replaced by a final number if the pattern was subsequently sold in quantity. This particular “NP” number took us to SD 1705/MS2257 where we found both the blue colourway (NP3984) and another version (NP3982) with only minor differences to the final Haddon Hall design (B1451). In “Minton: The First Two Hundred Years of Design and Production” Joan Jones explains:

In May, 1948, [Managing Director] John Hartill asked John Wadsworth to design a pattern which would completely cover the surface of the china […] The design and colour of NP3982 was accepted, with one exception. John Hartill insisted on green edges to tone with the pattern colours rather than the gold edge used in Wadsworth’s designs.

Just as with the Bicentenary Vase copy artworks these Haddon Hall backstamp sheets do not seem to have been captured as part of the original listing by Archivist Alyn Giles Jones. However, as of today you can now find them both under a new section in the online catalogue as references SD 1705/MS6004 and SD 1705/MS6005 – a little Bicentenary bonus as we continue to work through the out-of-sequence material.