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Cannes tea plate by Sir Hugh Casson for Midwinter


A wonderful mid-century Cannes pattern plate designed in 1954 by the celebrated architect and designer Sir Hugh Casson for Midwinter potteries. The reverse side of the plate is stamped "Cannes Drawings by Hugh Casson a genuine hand engraving permanent acid resisting underglaze colours by Midwinter Stylecraft Satffordshire England Fashion Shape". See image.

This particular range of Midwinter ceramics was first launched in 1954, the pattern was named Riviera and it was applied to its Style Craft shape.  A year or so later the range shape was slightly modified and became Midwinter's classic Fashion shape, and the pattern, although remaining exactly the same, was rechristened Cannes. Sir Hugh Casson’s sketches and watercolours of France – Parisian style cafes, fishing boats and harbours - were applied to plates, coffee and tea sets, cruets and tureens.  The illustrations are joyous and Casson’s lyrical line is both charming and uplifting.

The poet John Betjeman said that Casson sketched just as most people hummed when going about their daily lives. And that’s just it: this charming plate scene of a cafe with its blue shutters is happiness personified, reminding us of holidays and escape, and may be that perfect salad nicoise lunch we once had under the shade of a striped awning with the buzz of mopeds on the street. A most happy hum indeed.


Sir Hugh Maxwell Casson (23 May 1910 – 15 August 1999) - see image - was a British architect.  He was also active as an interior designer, as an artist, and as a writer and broadcaster on twentieth-century design. His crowning achievement was when he was assigned as director of architecture for the 1951 Festival of Britain, where he set out to celebrate peace and modernity through the appointment of other young architects, and from which he earned his knighthood. His considerable charisma and diplomatic skills brought him a stream of high-profile commissions and he went on to design the interiors for the Royal Yacht Britannia, interiors for suites at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.  

From 1976 to 1984, he was president of the Royal Academy.  He combined a deep seriousness about the importance of design with a playfulness that was to find its apotheosis in his pièce de resistance, the Elephant and Rhinoceros Pavilion at London Zoo. The mid 1950s was his most productive period and it was in 1953 that Midwinter potteries commissioned Casson to design the now much sort after Riviera and Cannes plates we are offering here.

Country of origin: UK

Date of manufacture: c.1954

Material: ceramic

Dimensions: Diameter 16.5cm

Condition: excellent