H&K Tunstall – The Delicious Dozen

Hollinshead and Kirkham, originally of Burslem in Staffordshire, moved their pottery works to nearby Tunstall in 1890. They catered mainly for the middle class end of the market and, in the main, produced a range of conservatively designed dinner ware. However in the economic slump following the First World War the company needed to do something to address their falling sales. Designer Harold Growcott was their White Knight.

Growcott came up with a range of designs for hand painted porcelain that tapped into the growing interest in all things Art Deco. The designs featured an abstract painted background of two or more colours on which bold fruit or floral designs were hand painted. The result was bold and exciting.

The Delicious Dozen as it came to be known was actually a range of 14 designs, but let’s not be pedantic about a good nickname. The designs were applied to many of the existing pre-war shapes, to give them a new lease of life, as well as some fresh new shapes more in keeping with the Art Deco style. Due to its similar subject matter and large bold painting style H&K has also been dubbed ‘Poor Man’s Moorcroft’ but if the prices I have had to pay for some of my pieces are anything to go by, that’s not a title that fits today’s collecting market.

This is the major collectible area for this pottery. Hey made many dinnerware designs, many of them very attractive but none of any real collector interest (except, of course to people who have a set handed down to them from their grandmother). But the Delicious Dozen have become extremely popular in recent years and if you come across a piece you will understand why.