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The Harrods Connection

Laura Knight Lamp Base

In 1934 Harrods store in London held a selling exhibition entitled 'Modern Art for the Table'. It was part of a Government campaign of the early 1930s to encourage leading artists to produce designs for industry, with the hope of improving ceramic and glass design. It was a ground breaking collaboration between the artistic community and the decorative arts industry.

Clarice Cliff was appointed the Art Director and twenty-eight artists and designers were invited to submit their designs. Clarice and others translated these designs for painting and printing on to various ceramic and glass shapes. There were three companies involved: A J Wilkinson Ltd. produced the earthenware, E Brain & Co (Foley China) produced the bone china and Stuart and Sons the glass. Some designs were reproduced on specially designed shapes, others were put on to standard factory shapes.

Although some interesting pieces were produced, the experiment was not wholly successful. There was some critical acclaim but most of the designs were too far in advance of public taste. Most of the ceramic patterns were discontinued after the exhibition.