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August 2016
Carlton Ware at the Fitzwilliam Museum


Putting on the Fitz

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Carlton Ware exhibits at the Fitxwilliam Museum
Fitzwilliam Museum

Between August 2016 and March 2018, some of Violet Elmer's designs for Carlton Ware were on display the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The museum is home to one of the most important UK collections of European, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern ceramics.

Barry and Elaine Girling, authors of Cast Aside the Shadows, which focuses on Miss Elmer's life and designs, approached the prestigious Museum in 2015. They suggested that the designer's work was more than worthy of a place in the collection.

A meeting was arranged to meet the curators. Barry and Elaine took along five examples of Best Ware, all of which impressed the museum's representatives. Three were eventually chosen to be shown in a cabinet in the Glaisher Gallery. As you can see on the middle shelf in the picture on the right, they are a
Scimitar vase, shape 456, a Floral Comet plaque and a BELL vase, shape 777.

Continental Company

Miss Elmer's patterns were in good company. On the shelf above was a display of Dutch ceramics by Brantjes & Co made around 1900. On the shelf below were figures of animals by the Dutch potteries of Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl and French ceramicists Alexandre Bigot and Pierre Roche. The charger was made by the German pottery of Mettlach.

The Carlton Ware exhibits were on loan until March 2018. You can read more on Barry & Elaine's website.
The Fitzwilliam Museum celebrated its 200th birthday in 2016. One of the special exhibitions arranged for the event is called Colour , something which Carlton Ware knew all about. Subtitled The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, the exhibits show how the use of gold added to the beauty of a design - just like Carlton Ware's gold printing!
Cambridge is a beautiful city; it's well worth visiting because there is so much to see and do there.

Entry to the Museum is free and is within walking distance of the railway station. If driving, use the Park & Ride service. If you visit the city and museum, walk further up Trumpington Street to Kings College. We didn't tell the curators that Miss Elmer was born in Oxford!❑   © Harvey Pettit 2016.


Many thanks to Dr Julia Poole, Former Keeper of Applied Arts and Helen Richie, Research Assistant, Dept. of Applied Arts for the time and welcome they gave us, during our visit to the 'Fitz'.




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