For the T.G. Green Cornishware Collector
This is a fairly in depth look at the colours used on Cornishware from inception up to the Church Gresley factory closure in 2007. For a quick cross-reference quide please see the Colours Summary document on the Dating page.
Blue & White
Originally known as 'e-blue' in the early 1920's (the 'e' standing for 'electric'), by c. 1925 Cornishware was commercially born and allegedly named after a trip to the Cornwall coast, the blue and white referring to the sky and sea. It may well by a myth but its a quaint one if so! Cornishware has absolutely nothing to do with Cornwall other than this, but is sounds much nicer than ‘Church Gresley ware’.
Blue & white was made in Church Gresley since then and up to the factory closure in 2007 with barely a break. As it is the colour that everybody knows we wont go into depth here, but the backstamps page will help associate a date with a particular piece.
Yellow & White
Yellow & White has been the perpetual 'phoenix' of TGG's Cornishware variant colours over the years, its production being frequently short lived only to re-emerge a few years later for a brief stint before being discontinued.
Yellow & white first appeared c.1960 and was the first true commercial departure for T.G. Green from their blue & white mainstay. Exactly why they chose Yellow & White is not clear but it fits historically with what what was going on in the UK with the fashionable trends for yellow melamine topped kitchen surfaces etc. and may also have been a deliberate ploy to break into the American export market: apparently the American's hated blue & white stripes in their kitchens! Originally promoted as 'Sunlit Yellow', it tends to be found in varying shades (perhaps indicating that TGG occasionally had problems with the dyes, as happened 4 decades later) from a pale 'washed out' yellow through to an almost 'mustard' colour, although mainly in the more vibrant 'sunlit' yellow.
The original Yellow & White range was based on the building blocks of the blue & white range, i.e. mainly basic plates, cups & saucers, plain storage & spice jars, tea & coffee wares, jugs etc. and was retailed by the likes of Selfridges in the UK amongst others. No named jars were made for the UK market but a small run of named Tea, Coffee, Sugar jars,were made for export to the USA, noteworthy is that these named pieces tend to have Green Shield backstamps rather than Black Shield.
Before long some of the newly designed Berit Ternell oven-to-tableware pieces in blue & white were starting to be produced in Yellow & White, although in small numbers, and these pieces are particularly hard to find.
Virtually all Yellow & White of this period will bear the Green Shield backstamp with the occasional black shield spotted on a plate/cup/saucer to date. Building a good collection should be relatively straightforward over time, the hard to find pieces being the Berit Ternell cookware, named pieces and those that are hard to find anyway in the blue & white range.
Yellow & White remained fairly popular throughout the 1960's and its next logical step was to adopt the newly restyled range that Judith Onions had designed c. 1968. Although short lived (TGG probably stopped producing mainstream Yellow & White c. 1971) some of the best looking pieces of Yellow & White are found with the JO target backstamp. Most of the JO restyled pieces in blue & white can be eventually found in Yellow & White, although it will take some time to amass a near complete collection. There are some very rare pieces probably made c. 1971 in trial shapes, notably an unusual shape coffee pot target stamped without JO reference.
The next reincarnation of Yellow & White was under the Cloverleaf ownership of TGG c. 1996. A full range to complement the blue & white was launched including the bread bin, pasta jar and named storage jars tea, coffee, sugar. This was shortly followed by the first 'mass experiment' into various colourways by Cloverleaf, a trait that we see re-emerging with later owners of TGG. Cloverleaf stopped producing Yellow & White by 1999, so again these pieces tend to be quite hard to find now.
TTC (The Tabletop Company) were the next owners after Cloverleaf to reintroduce Yellow & White in 2005 under the 'Cornish Colours' brand name when again the basic range of Blue & White was made available in Yellow & White. This range did not fair as well as its predecessors due to problems with the dyes & consumer demand and production ceased fairly quickly, probably in 2006, with a lot of pieces 'stockpiled' at the factory before its eventual closure in 2007.
Green & White
Green & White striped Cornishware made its official début under the Cloverleaf ownership in the early 1990's but it wasn't it's first show. The earliest Green & White has been seen on several different Early Church backstamped pieces from the early 1930's including storage jars & caddies and pudding bowls. These pieces are extremely rare and were probably only made as trial pieces. There is a named TEA caddy with the lettering applied over the glaze but definitely done at the factory in the usual font, which implies that it was being 'experimented' with. The green however was a bit patchy and and perhaps not quite the right 'kitchen' shade and never came to commercial fruition.
Cloverleaf first began Green & White for the Australian store Country Road c. 1990 (hence its name 'Country Road Green') with a special CR backstamp, this green is a more brown-green shade than its UK counterpart in a darker green known as 'Teal Green'. Both ranges enjoyed reasonable success and eventually a full basic range of the Teal Green was produced in Cloverleaf's mainstay production shapes c. 1995. Production ceased in about 1997 as far as we can ascertain.
Green & White's next emergence was again 'Cornish Green' which was launched in 2004 in a similar but more vibrant shade to the Teal, followed by a brief & commercially unsuccessful foray into a modernist 'Sage & White' range in Summer 2005. Collectables of the future?
Gold & White
Gold & White followed on the heels of Yellow & White as the 3rd 'main' colour and first hit the shops in the mid 1960's, based on the normal shapes of the time and in a limited range which seems mainly to be based primarily around pudding bowls with the odd piece of tea & tableware. These are stamped with the Green Shield and are quite hard to find.
The vast majority of Gold & White is found with the Judith Onions backstamp and was commercially available c. 1968 thru early 1970's. A fairly full range of items can be amassed, although not made in any quantity like the blue & white and hence scarcer. It is for some reason not as popular with collectors and doesn't generally command similar prices to its more common counterparts.
Gold & Blue
Yes there is such a thing! Only 1 piece so far that the author knows of and has handled – a lidded sugar bowl made probably mid 60's bearing the triangular 'Gresley Ware' backstamp not usually seen on Cornishware. Basically like the covered handled sugar bowls of the 'Green Shield' era but with the recessed stripes in the speckled Gold and the raised ones in a pale Cornish blue.
Perhaps not the most imaginative of colour schemes but white & white has an interesting history nonetheless and without it we probably wouldn't have what we now know as Cornishware.
In the early part of the c.20th several Staffordshire/Derbyshire potteries were starting to produce wares with raised, turned bands, primarily as utilitarian jugs and kitchen storage jars. Many contemporaries of TGG including Grimwade were doing this early 1920's, if not before. There are examples of TGG backstamped pieces in this style that almost certainly pre-date the blue and white striped, mainly jugs in a similar style to 'Percy' jugs. TGG made the 'leap' to combine the blue and the white stripes and the rest is history.
During WW2 all paints and dyes were generally 'rationed' and pottery production in England obviously generally suffered due to lack of resources and to a certain extent demand. Although not often found there are all white examples of named jars from this period (mainly basic named items), some of these with the lettering over the glaze but definitely applied at the factory.
There is also evidence of white and white experimentation c. 1960 with an unusual straight horizontal handled graduated jug being a known piece with a Berit Ternell style handle.
White's next appearance was suitably equally as brief and made under the Cloverleaf ownership in 1999, the promotional literature stating a range including storage jars and conical shaped shakers and all pieces with brushed aluminium lids/fittings. It was in the shops for a matter of months and very few pieces must have been made as we hardly ever see any.
Red & White
Red & White was originally made as a trial c. 1960, existing known pieces include named and unnamed shakers as per the Green Shield blue & white shakers, plain storage jars, pudding and mixing bowls and an interesting horizontal handled version of the graduated jug (the handle being very similar to the Berit Ternell casserole dish handles) which has also been seen in pure white but not so far in blue & white.
Red & White was recently introduced as a full-blow range by T.G. Green - do not confuse with the earlier examples! If there is a ‘www.’ in the shield backstamp it is obviously brand new, not old.
Black & White
Black and white Cornishware originally appears to have been a semi-commercial venture into the American market in the early 1970's. Although not technically classed as commercially available, a certain amount seems to have cropped up on eBay over the years in the Florida region of the USA, so perhaps was a special commission for a specific store. Known pieces mainly include the named Judith Onions shape SALT & PEPPER shakers, covered butter dish, Judith Onions shape coffee pot etc. All known pieces have the 'Target without JO reference' backstamp.
Black & White's first UK commercial venture was a short-lived range including teapot, cups & saucers, crockery and came under Cloverleaf's ownership. Made 1997-1999 with the 'Later Cloverleaf backstamp'.
Black & White made a comeback under The Tabletop Co’s 'Cornish Colours' range in 2005-2007 and pieces mainly included basic crockery and tea ware & a range of storage jars with white on black lettering.
Orange & White
An interesting colourway which unfortunately never came to commercial fruition in the early 1970's. Pieces include oven-to-tableware large soufflé type bowls, mugs, Judith Onion’s shape coffee pot etc. The colours were actually quite good and bold and took well but for whatever reason this just didn't make it to 'mass' production. Certainly one to look for. Most known pieces have the 'Target without JO reference' backstamp. There are a handful of 1930’s orange & white trial pieces as per the green & white mentioned above, with slightly ‘washed out’ looking orange.
Navy & White
Navy Blue & White was first produced as an exclusive for Terrance Conran's London Habitat store in the early 1970's as a range of basic tea ware (Judith Onion’s shape), crockery and storage jars, very few pieces of this seem to surface and not much is known about the full range commissioned. Look for the 'Target without JO reference' backstamp.
Interestingly the shade of blue on some later 90's Cloverleaf backstamped crockery often hits a 'Royal Blue' before returning to the usual 'Cornish' blue shortly after. No known reason for this and it isn't technically a 'different' range.
Lime & White
A very hard to find range made in limited numbers under the Cloverleaf ownership c. 1997, mainly crockery & tea wares.
Plum & White
Plum & White was a special colour scheme applied to pudding bowls made exclusively as a Christmas present in 2004 for Mason Cash employees and came complete with a Christmas pudding! Not commercially available and never produced since then. Certainly a collectable in its own right now and is only likely to appreciate in value with time.
Baby Pink/Baby Blue
A limited range released under the Cornish Colours brand in 2005 inluding boxed gift sets, mugs etc.