1 By its very name Wedgwood’s Fairyland Lusterware brings to mind a magical land of rich colors and mystical characters. Clearly it does its job, because fairies, goblins, and mythical creatures are present in the designs of plenty of Fairyland Lusterware. It’s a design by one of the most prolific and progressive ceramic designers of the early 20th century – Daisy Makeig-Jones.
Makeig-Jones Making History
2 Pictured at left is a Wedgwood Lustre Lily tray/bowl in the “Gondola Fairy” pattern, designed by Makeig-Jones in 1920. The 13-inch tray features a Hummingbird pattern on its outer side and commanded $2,300 during an April 14, 2018 auction presented by Quinn’s Auction Galleries.
3 Born in 1881, the Yorkshire, England native came up artistically at a time when female designers and artists were part of the catalyst behind the boon in decorative ceramics. She began an apprenticeship at the Wedgwood pottery company in 1909. By 1914 she became a lead designer for the company; a year later the company unveiled Fairyland Lustreware. The design would enjoy a period of popularity that ran through the course of World War I. Just prior to the United States’ descent into the Great Depression, Wedgwood ceased production of Makeig-Jones’ ceramic design due to waning interest, and in 1931 the company chose to part ways with the artist.
Pioneering Whimsical Wedgewood Design
4 A bowl featuring Makeig-Jones’ famed woodland and fairy scene design, circa 1920s, with a Wedgwood England stamp, measuring 4 x 9 3/4 inches, sold for $750 during a February 2018 auction presented by Rago Arts and Auction Center.
5 The “Ghostly Wood” pattern of Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre appearing on the covered vase that
appears at right is a Makeig-Jones creation. It dates to the first quarter of the 20th century. The piece brought $36,500 during a 2013 auction through Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers.
6 To meet the demands of people seeking to own an example of Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre, production of Makeig-Jones’ design involved the application of her design onto copper plates, which were then printed on tissue paper that the all-female group of artisans would paint on ceramic vessels.
7 One of the themes of Wedgwood Lustreware is the “Enchanted Palace.” It couples a mystical scene with bright colors, and a sense of something magical. During a February 2018 auction through Philip Weiss Auctions, a Fairyland Lustre plaque brought $875.
8 In 2015, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, located in Washington, D.C., presented an exhibition featuring 38 examples of ceramic pieces created by Makeig-Jones. The exhibition was titled “Casting a Spell: Ceramics by Daisy Makeig-Jones.”
9 Her given name is Susannah Margaretta Makeig-Jones, but she went by the nickname “Daisy” most of her life.
10 Reports of her ‘departure’ from the Wedgwood ranks vary, but a common belief is that she was none too happy about the discontinuation of her Fairyland Lustreware line, or being ushered to the door. Rumor has it she smashed some of her ceramic works on her way out.