An assortment of Gaudy Welsh saucers and side plates. Bought cheaply. A job lot off the e-Bay. They are variations on the ‘Tulip’ theme. Hand painted in intense cobalt blue, pink lustre (that appears copper when applied over glaze onto the blue), yellow, burnt orange (russet – an equal mixture of orange and purple) and green. They exude energy. Optimistic Ware.

They are examples of a 19thC people’s pottery. Colourful, free flowing and unpretentious, they were cheaply mass-produced and sold to workers at the fairs and markets or from door-to-door. Penny Ware, a working class aesthetic. A little bit of china bling catching the candle light and animating the dresser through coal smoke.

Gaudy Welsh is a 1970s term, likely from America, for what had previously been known as Swansea Cottage. Over 150 factories in the Potteries, Swansea area and North East have produced the Gaudy Welsh. Cheerful Ware. Bright and joyful. It marks a transition between hand-crafted artisan and mass produced china. The pattern and design reflect a Japanese/Imari influence. Gorgeous Wear. Honest, chaotic, exuberant, the pieces – many over 100 years old – blaze.

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