Carlton Ware World banner



First posted Good Friday 25 March 2016

Spring flowers herald Easter, in particular the crocus with its vivid yellow and purple blooms. OLD CROCUS, one of the least known of Carlton Ware's Floral Embossed ranges, takes the form of the joyful flower and turns it into egg sets, a cruet and preserve.

Carlton Ware OLD CROCUS range

All would bring cheer to any breakfast table.

I estimate that the
OLD CROCUS range was introduced around 1926, which places it under the direction of decorating manager and designer Enoch Boulton.

Along with Carlton Ware's enormously successful
LETTUCE & TOMATO ranges, which Mr. Boulton also devised, OLD CROCUS heralds the way to many more embossed ranges, both fruit and floral.


Some ten years later, Violet Elmer, who succeeded Boulton as designer for Carlton Ware in 1930, gave her interpretation of the flower with CROCUS, a much larger range, placing the crocus blooms among primroses. The two jugs below show the typical yellow and green grounds used on most of Miss Elmer's floral embossed designs. As always, Carlton Ware's modellers produce wonderful results from Violet's design drawings.

Carlton Ware CROCUS jugs

Carlton China Spring Border 4526 cup & saucer


In the late 1920s, Miss Elmer also used the crocus in a pattern for Carlton China teasets. Called Spring Border 4526, our featured flower predominates amongst miniature iris and narcissus.

Carlton Ware FREEHAND CROCUS 3518 plate


In the 1930s, Carlton Ware introduced a small inexpensive range of freehand painted patterns against what was called a STRAW GROUND. FREEHAND CROCUS 3518 was one of nine different patterns from the range, shown on the plate on the left.

Carlton Ware CROCUS Toy Teaware

Toy Teaware

A slightly simplified version of FREEHAND CROCUS was also used on Carlton Ware's Toy Teaware. Carlton Ware used more that fifty different patterns on these charming sets.


The most striking of Carlton Ware's crocus patterns is Miss Elmer's MODERN CROCUS 3803 in which the flower is highly stylized and placed against a freehand painted background of chequered pale green and grey brushstrokes. Rainbow coloured "paper chain" and striped borders enclose the pattern, often applied in unexpected ways as on the REVO shape tray below.

Carlton Ware MODERN CROCUS 3803 REVO tray

Happy Easter. ❑

© Harvey Pettit 2016.

This website is image rich and is intended to be viewed on devices with larger screens such as tablets, laptops and desktops. Although it can be viewed on smartphones you will get a poorer viewing experience.

Harvey Pettit © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.