meat plate, part of a dinner service

Eric Ravilious, 1903 - 1942

meat plate, part of a dinner service

Eric Ravilious 1903 - 1942


Oval plate with deep well and wide curved rim. Printed underglaze with central vignette of summer garden enclosed by a fence, with tree and striped summer house to right, before an open air swimming pool to left. Two figures in the pool, one swimming, the other about to jump from a diving board to left of pool. Pile of discarded clothes on the grass to right. Scene embellished in overglaze yellow enamel, picking out the pool, summer house interior and tree. Printed border to plate rim of repeated S-shaped ribbon twists, overpainted with wide shaded yellow band, darkening towards centre. Garden tableware Designed by Eric Ravilious Made by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd Earthenware with printed underglaze From 1935 Victor Skellern, Head of Design at Wedgwood, commissioned Eric Ravilious to produce new designs for transfer to ceramics. Skellern had known Ravilious whilst he was a student at the Royal College of Art. Ravilious provided designs intended for the traditional English method of transfer printing dating from the mid 18th century. Patterns were printed onto tissue paper from inked copper plates, transferred to pottery and then fired at a low temperature. Glazes were then applied and the pottery was fired again. Ravilious' early designs were engraved by hand directly on to the coppers by the factory's engravers working from Ravilious' pencil and wash drawings. The designs were drawn to decorate Wedgwood stock shapes. 'Garden' is on Queensware introduced in 1939. Every design requiring hand-colouring was entered into the factory's pattern book when the design was first introduced and given a pattern number. Here the pattern is Garden & TL259. Eric Ravilious’ original designs of domestic garden activity for 'Garden' capture the spirit of an England prior to modernisation. Only a few designs by Ravilious were manufactured by Wedgwood before World War Two halted production. The majority were produced by Wedgwood in the early 1950s, long after Ravilious’ plane tragically disappeared over the seas off Iceland whilst he was an Official War Artist. As a result, Ravilious became one of the most important designers of the post-war period.

Display Label

Garden dinner service Designed by Eric Ravilious, 1938 Produced by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd Earthenware, with transfer-printed and painted decoration Eric Ravilious was one of several artists who turned to industrial design in the 1930s. At Wedgwood, he made clever use of the firm's traditional style of printed decoration which dated back to the 1700s. Treating the dinner plate as a flat picture surface, he designed elegant yet modern tableware decorated with quirky scenes of English life. Purchased 1939.244

Object Name

meat plate, part of a dinner service

Creators Name

Eric Ravilious

Date Created

1935 -1941


object: 34cm x 26cm

accession number


Place of creation





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