Wedgwood and Artists: Festival of Britain Mug

Wedgwood and Artists: Festival of Britain Mug

The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition and fair that took place in the summer of 1951. It attracted millions of visitors from across the UK and looked forward with a sense of hope and optimism. It was a tonic to the nation after the hardships of war and the austerity that followed in the post-war years. The festival also celebrated the past as it was the centenary of the Great Exhibition.

This mug is by artist and designer, Norman Makinson, who joined Wedgwood as an apprentice in 1937. After serving as a marine in World War II, he re-joined the company’s design department.

The Festival of Britain mug is one of Makinson’s most famous designs. His striking design draws from the structures that came to represent both events. It captures both the futuristic design of the ‘Skylon’ and the floating innovative feel of the Crystal Palace in perfect harmony. As an artistic reaction to the festival, the mug typifies some of the best of 20th century design.