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Object: ’Autumn Splendour’ dinner set

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence

Title ’Autumn Splendour’ dinner set
Production Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd (ceramicist), 1963, Auckland
Materials ceramic, porcelain, glaze
Classification dinner services, ceramics
Technique firing
Credit line Gift of Denis Phelps, 1999
Registration number GH009081/1-48

Regardless of the season, many New Zealanders still use ‘Autumn Splendour’ dinnerware made by Crown Lynn, one of New Zealand’s most famous companies.

In the late 1950s, Crown Lynn introduced a groundbreaking replacement policy for five patterns which were considered to have broad appeal, one of which was ‘Autumn Splendour’ (the others were ‘Golden Fall’, ‘Shasta Daisy’, ‘Green Bamboo’ and ‘Fashion Rose’). The patterns originally came from a New York manufacturer who could guarantee availability for at least five years. Customers could buy a whole set or piece by piece, either as replacements for broken pieces or when finances allowed. Most buyers bought a few pieces at a time, slowly building up their sets. Some people are still acquiring pieces from second-hand shops today!

By 1963, Crown Lynn supplied half of New Zealand’s needs for household china, and Autumn Splendour was its most popular design of the 1960s, selling until the late 1970s. Ironically the plant pattern is not indigenous or even botanically accurate. But its popularity may be due to several factors – from the pleasing shapes of the crockery to the simplicity of the pattern and its nature as a lithograph. Lithographs can be full-colour and detailed, showing subtle graduations of shade and tone.

Crown Lynn produced millions of items to meet the needs of increasingly prosperous homes in the fast-growing new suburbs of the 1950s and 60s. Crown Lynn products featured prominently in wedding gifts for young couples to set up their new households, and many took advantage of the replacement policy for the five popular patterns. Cups, saucers and plates were the biggest sellers, but other pieces were available for those with larger funds (such as vegetable dishes and salt shakers).

Further information:

Bronwyn Labrum, Real Modern: Everyday New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s (Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2015).

Valerie Ringer Monk, Crown Lynn: Collector's Handbook (Auckland: Penguin Books, 2013).

Valerie Ringer Monk, Crown Lynn: A New Zealand Icon (Auckland: Penguin Books, 2006).

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.