The 1946 Britain Can Make It exhibition (see below) catalogue (page 93) lists two exhibits under “Manufactured by AE Gray & Co, Stoke-on-Trent for Heal’s (Wholesale & Export) Ltd”: a dinner service and a tea service, with the name Miss A Stone as designer.
The Victoria & Albert Museum’s accession entry for its item C.251-1991 (a 161mm/6″ dia teaplate), Gray’s pattern A8161, includes the following: Alix Stone was a student at the Central School of Arts and Crafts studying stage design when she was introduced to the retailer Heal & Sons’ Chief Buyer, Prudence Lady Maufe (1882-1976), who asked her to provide designs for the company.
AE Gray had a long commercial association with Heal’s and it is therefore likely that the company was asked to produce Miss Stone’s designs.
In considering the style of Gray’s patterns A8161 (Heal’s name Pegasus) and A8168 (Heal’s name Shell*) and which are both recorded as Stone’s designs, it is possible that A8163 (Plantain) and A8166 (Amphora) may also be her designs.
* Shells were the Maufe family emblem, which may indicate a direct link for the design
Below is the detail about the Britain Can Make It exhibition in 1946.
Details of all the known exhibitions Gray’s Pottery attended can be found here:
1946 September 24 -October 31 – Extended to November, then to the end of December
Britain Can Make It Exhibition
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
P&G 3.46 p34 and PG 4.46 p266:
Pottery Industry Committee (to assist the Council of Industrial Design) has amongst its members: Mr AE Gray, Mr W Moorcroft, Miss Susie Cooper, Mr John Wedgwood ….
PG 6.46 p404:
Selection of pieces to take place on June 4th and 5th at the Masonic Hall, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
P&G 9.46 p20:
…. photograph No 3 shows a beautiful example of the hand-decorated lustre ware for which AE Gray & Co are famous. This piece is a silver wedding bowl and exemplifies an interesting revival from earlier times – the specially inscribed pottery presentation piece for private occasions; the fashion should be further popularised today. The decoration comprises the Vine design, with initials and date, finished with lines and bands, the whole carried out in silver lustre on a white ground. The designer is SC Talbot NRD.
Design ’46, Council of Industrial Design report on the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition, HMSO, pp26 & 27:
The Council of Industrial Design’s 144-page report has chapters based on the type of product exhibited. WB Honey (Keeper of the Department of Ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum) appraised the ‘Pottery and Glass’ and there are two images of Gray’s Pottery products included in the total of 18 used to illustrate ceramics. These and four other black & white images exist in the Brighton Design Archives (image on right).
PG 11.46 p736:
Pattern A8320, designed by SC Talbot, exhibited.
P&G 10.47 p45:
…. an article on presentation pieces of yesterday …. reference to recent works …. There was, too, the silver lustre wedding bowl that formed one of the more striking exhibits at the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition ….
The following lists are taken from the official catalogue of the Britain Can Make It exhibition, courtesy the Ken Stradling Collection at the Bristol Guild.
Following continuing manufacturing and supply restrictions in the aftermath of war, it was considered essential to show the product availability for each item (see code list at the end). Serious shortages gave rise to a nickname for the Exhibition: Britain Can Make It but Britain Can’t Have It!
There’s a general cautionary note in the catalogue: …. (necessarily), items were selected well in advance … some may not have finally been shown in the Exhibition …
A E Gray & Co, Whieldon Road
|187||10-in plate||A8381 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|188||Teapot||A8381 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|189||Veg dish||A8381 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|190||Teacup & Saucer||A8381 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|191||Cream Jug||A8381 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|192||5-in plate||A8381 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|193||10-in plate||A8375 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|194||10-in plate||A8386 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|195||10-in plate||A8384 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|196||Teacup & saucer||A8384 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|197||5-in plate||A8384 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|198||10-in plate||A8385 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|199||10-in plate||A8252||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|200||Teacup & saucer||A8252||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|201||Peebles tray||A8252||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|202||Teapot||A8252||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|203||Sugar Bowl||A8252||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|204||Cream Jug||A8252||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|205||Jug size two||A8250||3|
|206||Jug size three||A8250||3|
|207||Jug size four||A8250||3|
|208||Jug size two||A8144||3|
|209||Jug size three||A8144||3|
|210||Jug size four||A8144||3|
|211||Cigarette box “York”||A8320||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|212||3½-in ashtray||A8320||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|213||Cigarette box “York”||A8235 Image 1 / Image 2||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|214||3-in silver lustre ashtray||SC Talbot NRD||3|
|215||Silver lustre commemorative bowl||"vine"||SC Talbot NRD||3|
Manufactured by AE Gray & Co, Stoke-on-Trent for Heal’s (Wholesale & Export) Ltd, 196 Tottenham Court Rd.
|495||26-piece dinner service||Shell 1213||Miss A Stone||3C|
|496||21-piece tea service||Shell 1213||Miss A Stone||3C|
Home Trade 1 – now, 2 – soon, 3 – later
Export A – now, B – soon, C – later