Sunday, 30 January 2011

Keith Day Pearce Murray (1892 - 1881)

 I had recently sold this Wedgwood vase designed by Keith Murray and was reminded how iconic these designs are. They have fallen out of favour a little in recent years and prices have dropped on the more common shapes. I will say that the common shapes are amongst the best  and were popular when new because they were good.

Keith Day Pearce Murray (1892 - 1881)
Was a New Zealand born architect and designer; his family had come to Britain in 1906. After serving in the Royal Flying Corp during WW1 he trained as an architect at the Architectural Association in London.

Initially his interest in design was direct towards glass. This interest led to Powell's Whitefriars Glass for whom he produced some sketches, which were made on an experimental basis c1931. By 1932 he was engaged as a designer at Steven's and Williams Glasshouse at Brierley Hill, an association that lasted throughout the 1930's.

In 1932 he was invited by Wedgwood to design on a freelance basis, but by 1933 this arrangement had led to an agreement where he designed for Wedgwood for three months a year. He continued to design for Wegdwood until c1946.

The majority of the designs for Wedgwood the iconic clean undecorated architectural shapes in the Art Deco style.  However he did design patterns in the Art Deco style including; Lotus and Weeping Willow. In addition to his design work he was the architect of the new Barleston factory complex. Planned in 1937/8 it was in operation by April 1940 with full completion delayed by the war.
He is also known to have designed silver for Mappin and Webb with many of theirart deco designs now attributed to him. After 1948 he concentrated on architectural work, finally retiring in 1967.

There is currently one useful book on the subject. Click on the title to find a copy.
Keith Murray, Designer
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