Alix Stone

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 Council/University of Brighton Design Archives
© Design Council/University of Brighton Design Archives

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 …

(The designs shown appear to be
(1st column, top to bottom) – 8144; A8252; A8252
(2nd column, top to bottom) – 7034, 7034 + Vine type + 8144; A8320)
Pattern A8320
Image kindly supplied by Connie Rogers.

Pages 84/5
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

Page 93
Manufactured by AE Gray & Co, Stoke-on-Trent for Heal’s (Wholesale & Export) Ltd, 196 Tottenham Court Rd.

49526-piece dinner serviceShell 1213Miss A Stone3C
49621-piece tea serviceShell 1213Miss A Stone3C

Availability codes:
Home Trade 1 – now, 2 – soon, 3 – later
Export A – now, B – soon, C – later

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