Vintage 1940s Royal Celtic Dinner Plates by Edwin Knowles circa 1940
The designer of dinnerware studies the trends of decorations in every field. He needs to be kept on the right track so that dinnerware quite definitely will fit into today's picture whether it be colonial, traditional or modern. Vincent Broomhall, Art Director, Edwin Knowles China Company 1940
That quote above was from a speech that Vincent Broomhall, art director for the Edwin Knowles China Company gave during a meeting of the Ceramic Society in February 1940.
Edwin Knowles, based in West Virginia, was one of the largest china manufacturing companies in the US, due in part to their high standards of quality and beautiful patterns. But competition in the pottery business was always tough. Art directors had to stay at the top of their game at all times to ensure a successful amount of sales.
In 1940, welcoming a new decade also meant welcoming a new set of trends in the American dish design world. Due to WWII, these trends included a new series of American-made decals and transferware patterns since the European versions were no longer accessible. And that meant creative freedom for the art directors of all American potteries.
Up until the 1940s, many American dishware manufacturers sought inspiration from the aesthetic of European dish shapes, styles and color palettes. The war offered a chance to look at plate designs and patterns with fresh eyes with a focus solely based on American decorating sensibilities. It was the decade where colorful clay bodies, sleek dish shapes and minimal designs became popular.
Full of summer cheer, these vintage garden bouquet dinner plates feature the Royal Celtic pattern made by Edwin Knowles in March 1940, just one month after Victor gave his speech. Enhanced with a gold stripe and lacy gold filigree around the rim this pattern combines aristocratic elegance with country charm easily making it the shimmering star of any outdoor dining affair.
Was this Royal Celtic pattern a last swan song of those lovely European style designs or was it a wholly new and imagined American aesthetic that combined filigree and florals? We aren't quite sure. Perhaps it was a good segue way pattern transitioning the old to the new thus ushering in a host of fresh, mix-and-match table decor possibilities. Whichever the situation, this pattern is a beauty and Victor should be complimented on the stylish pattern.
- Matching set of four dinner plates
- Colors include tangerine, sage, pale, blue, butter, grey, gold, lavender, grape, plum, blackberry, pale pink and raspberry
- Stamped on back with manufacturers mark and date
In lovely vintage condition. The gold filigree is in great shape on all four dishes - shimmery and bright with no rub marks. The gold stripe around each plate rim is also in bright and shiny condition, although there are some slight wear marks on two of the dishes. There are three small (less than 1/8th inch on the back of three plates underneath the rim. none f these can be seen from the front. There are a few various utensil marks on the center bouquet on three of the four plates, but thanks to the vibrancy and eye-catching variety of the flowers, these are barely noticeable. Please see photos.
Each dinner plate measures 10" inches in diameter and weighs 1.3 lbs.
Thanks to their colorful palette, these plates look really pretty with a variety of mix-and-match styles including these vintage berry bowls,