Antiques Column with Michael Dowse
Susannah Margaretta ‘Daisy’ Makeig-Jones was the designer responsible for Wedgwood’s hugely successful Fairyland range which was produced from the 1920s until Makeig-Jones left the company in 1931.
Makeig-Jones, nicknamed Daisy was first taken on at Wedgwood as an apprentice in 1909 before becoming a designer in 1912.
She grew up in rural Yorkshire and her childhood filled with stories of myths and legends is believed to have inspired many of her designs alongside the work of children’s illustrators like Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielson.
Her rich colours and gold decoration is representative of old oriental porcelain.
The designs contained beautiful landscapes with mythical creatures such as goblins, ghosts, fairies and elves and were a huge contrast to the more traditional Wedgwood styles of the time but still achieved huge commercial success.
Many people believe that the designs appealed to the public’s desire to remember a more innocent age following the horrors of the First World War.
The value of Fairyland Lustre depends largely on the condition of the pieces but earlier examples are more sought after as Daisy Makeig-Jones decorated these herself, before she took on a more supervisory role.
The patterns are characterised by rich gold lustre a technique that used a mixture of metallic oxide pigments suspended in oil and painted onto the surface of earthenware.
When the pieces were fired the metal reduced and formed a thin shiny, reflective film with gave an iridescent effect.
The technique meant that Fairyland Lustre was very costly to produce and therefore expensive to buy but that didn’t affect its popularity with collectors either at the time or today.