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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enid Seeney

In 1951, 20-year-old British ceramic designer Enid Seeney (1931-2011) joined Booths & Colclough, a division of Ridgway Potteries. During the seven years she was there, she designed several china patterns, but her best-known is Homemaker, which was mass produced for sale at Woolworth stores in the UK.

The design depicts a Robin Day armchair, a Sigvard Bernadotte sofa and a sideboard resembling one by Bernard Russell in an all-over pen and ink style design. The modern objects seem to be flying across the china pieces. Like many Midwinter patterns, it is still highly collectible, even though it was quite inexpensive when new and is still fairly easy to find.

While Seeney was the undisputed designer of the graphics for the pattern, another ceramist and design director at Booths & Colclough, Tom Arnold, worked with her team and is given credit for creating some of the Homemaker shapes, which may account for the fact that the furniture and accessories pictured on the china have a more modern appearance than some of the pieces of the china itself. When compared with some of the dinnerware of the day...Metlox comes to mind...pieces like the coffee pot and teapot have an ironically old-fashioned look.

Seeney left the pottery industry before her design was in production to marry a man she met while on vacation and was surprised when she ran across it in a Woolworth store. She rarely received credit for the design. However, toward the end of her life, she found it on display with her name as designer on a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1996.

Seeney died last month at age 79.

From, and


  1. Look at that! I love patterns of everyday household things... Back in the 50's.

  2. Great post! You're right--the shapes are sort of surprising (and it sounds like intentionally so) given the pictures featured on each piece.

  3. @1950sarh: Isn't that great? Can you imagine a set of dishes with 80s furniture still being popular today? Some things are timeless and some aren't even cool when they're new...LOL

  4. @Noelle: I don't know if it was intentional...or if Seeney was simply ahead of her peers at Booths & Colclough in understanding modern design.