Vintage 1940s Blue and Gold Cake Plate - Fondeville Ambassadorware Made in England by Simpson Pottery
We have a lot in common these days with the 1940s.
Because of WWII, supply chains were upended throughout much of the decade, leaving demand great but supply low. The workforce was changing as more women filled men's jobs. Employee working conditions and equality were called upon to be better than what they previously were before the war. Jobs were going unfilled in protest. Manufacturing costs were high, consumer costs were high. These changes impacted almost all industries around the globe, the pottery industry included. And that's the story this vintage cake plate tells.
It's the history of an importer, a maker, and the patience of a buying public. It's a cake plate but it's also a marker of time and place and national experience. Made in England by Simpsons Pottery of Cobridge, located in the bustling pottery hub of Stoke-on-Trent, and then imported to Eugune Fondeville's dishware firm in New York City, this cake plate was part of the Ambassadorware series made during the 1940s and 1950s.
Touted as elegant and refined, this beaded edge dish style with its dark blue stripe and gold filigree rim was produced by Simpsons Pottery during a time when scarcity was defined the manufacturing industry. That included scarcity of available coal for firing up the plant kilns, a lack of needed equipment due to the war, and a shortage of workers who were not willing to return to pottery working environments that were inadequate,
These issues affected all aspects of the dishware market from the makers to to the decorators to the distributors and then of course the buyers. They ran betwen cities and countries and floated across the oceans to dishware distributors like Eugene Fondeville. The issues made such an impact that by 1947, back in New York, Eugene was advising all his customers that there might be a two-year wait for their favorite dish patterns from England to come back into stock. The Ambassadorware line wasn't just being sent to dish importers in the US either. Simpsons had representatives in other parts of the world too including South Africa, Australia, and London. Everybody had to wait.
Prized for its classic, stylish and distinctive aesthetic, the Ambassadorware line was available in a variety of patterns that exuded gracious hospitality and sophisticated entertaining, appealing to cosmopolitan tastes around the globe. This cake plate carries that same glamorous essence. It features a dark navy blue (almost black) stripe around the rim. It's accented with gold filigree in a pattern that resembles wrought iron gates that you might see on historic buildings in Paris or lining the streets of New Orleans or encasing an Italian estate. The handpainted leaf swags outlined in shimmery gold paint decorate the cake plate handles. And over the decades, time has left its best mark - the artistic, authentic stains that resemble otherworldly marks like spots on the moon. Beauty from all directions. This was the type of dish that was worth waiting for. Even it had to be two years.
- Hard to find pattern
- Marked on back with the Fondeville Ambassadorware mark
In lovely vintage condition. As noted in the story above, this cake plate contains staining in the center and a marvelous web of delicate crazing lines. It contains no chips or cracks. The gold detailing is very bright and shimmery and is perfectly intact with no rub marks or signs of wear.
Measures 11.5" inches (handle to handle) x 10.75" inches (width) and weighs 1.9 lbs