How to identify vintage Hornsea & 3 ways to style it in your home


If you’ve got some Hornsea pottery or simply like the mid-century style of their designs, here’s how you can identify the pottery as original pieces, along with some suggestions for using the designs to style your modern home with a touch of mid-century pattern…

I love a bit of vintage Hornsea pottery. So much so that I decided to write about it for this month’s Design Icon feature in issue 36 of Reclaim magazine. I arranged to make a special visit to retro specialists Vintage Mischief in Beccles and spent a happy few hours browsing and photographing their extensive selection of Hornsea pottery.

The Hornsea patterns I love the most are the chunky wallpaper-esque repeats, such as the Heirloom, Bronte and Saffron ranges. I picked up most of my own Heirloom patterned tubs from charity shops over the years and for a while they were in the tiny kitchen of my 60s bungalow. Now, we’ve got a brightly coloured kitchen so they don’t fit in quite as seamlessly as they used to.

However, I’ve still got them and these days I prefer to use them as pots for my house plants. I only ever paid a few pounds for them, so I don’t feel like I’m ‘ruining’ them by using them as planters. At least they’re still on display for me to enjoy looking at every day. I’m hoping to add some Lakeland Green and Midnight Blue versions of the same pattern to my collection soon – but only if I can find them for a thrifty price.

I also discovered plenty more designs that I admired at Vintage Mischief, including the minimalist Scandi-style Concept range by Martin Hunt and striped Elegance vases with coloured interiors, designed by John Clappison in 1955. The trouble was, I wanted it all! Once you start admiring Hornsea pottery, it’s hard to choose just one favourite design to collect – and even harder to know when to stop!

We took some photos of a few different ways to style Hornsea pottery in your home, including a mix-and-match vintage kitchen (which I personally love and hope to achieve in our new home!) and a cool Scandi-style sideboard with striped collection.

The key to using Hornsea pottery to style your home is to group them in coordinating colours or patterns. On then Danish sideboard above the Summit, Tanglewood and Elegance collections have been combined, with their striped designs and dark glazes tying the whole collection together.

In a 1950s-style kitchen you can go as colourful as you like, but each hue you include should tie a few items together, such as the aqua opaque pyrex, the striped clock, flower pot and the lids of the Hornsea Springtime condiment set.

After learning about the huge variety of Hornsea designs available, I can see how a couple of items picked up at a second-hand shop can easily become a collection that gets out of hand! I’m being particularly careful to only buy the Hornsea designs that I personally love.

Which is your favourite design? Do you remember the Fair Isle style of the Tapestry design from your childhood? Or is a sleek Contrast design with Vitramic glaze more your kind of thing? Let me know in the comments below 🙂


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