Hollinshead and Kirkham, originally from Burslem in Staffordshire, moved their pottery workshops to nearby Tunstall in 1890. They catered mainly to the middle-class end of the market, and generally produced a range of tableware of conservative design. However, in the economic downturn that followed World War I, the company needed to do something to address declining sales. Designer Harold Growcott was its White Knight.

Growcott devised a range of hand-painted porcelain designs that took advantage of the growing interest in all things Art Deco. The designs featured an abstract painted background of two or more colors onto which bold floral or fruit designs were hand painted. The result was bold and exciting.

The Delicious Dozen as it came to be known, it was actually a range of 14 designs, but let’s not be pedantic about a nice moniker. The designs were applied to many of the existing pre-war shapes, to give them a new lease of life, as well as some new shapes more in keeping with the Art Deco style. Due to its similar subject matter and big, bold painting style, H&K has also been nicknamed ‘Poor Man’s Moorcroft’ but if the prices I have had to pay for some of my pieces are anything to go by, that is not a title I fits today’s collector market. .

This is the main collection area for this ceramic. Hey made many dinnerware designs, many of them very attractive but none of any real interest to collectors (except, of course, for people who have a set their grandmother passed down from him). But the Delicious Dozens have become extremely popular in recent years and if you come across a piece you will understand why.

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