Discontinued Collectibles Guide

Denby Arabesque Tableware & Collectables

Denby Arabesque Tableware

Denby Pottery collectibles come in quite a number of distinctive ranges which leads many collectors to specialise in one particular range. Such is the variety of different items in each of the ranges that this sort of specialisation does not particularly restrict the collector’s scope. In any case if a collector finds that his or her collection of a particular range of Denby is complete, there is always another range to start on. With Denby Pottery still producing new pottery you are unlikely to run out of Denby collectables to look for!

One range of Denby collectibles that many collectors find irresistible because of its fascinating designs and the remarkable variety of products it includes is Arabesque. Even though production ceased around 30 years ago it still seems to hold surprises for the present day collector.

Arabesque was created by one of Denby’s most distinguished designers, Gill Pemberton incorporating the red and gold hand painted designs she developed following a visit to Russia in 1962. The earliest Arabesque collectibles were just a small gift ware set with handles which fitted comfortably in the hand. Production started in 1963 under the name of "Samarkand".

Unfortunately, at about the same time, another pottery, Portmerion, introduced a range of its own using the same name. Portmerion must have just adopted the name first because Denby had to change theirs. "Arabesque" was the new name and the range soon became a great success. The name change only applied to the UK and European market. In the USA the name "Samarkand" continued to be used and is still recognised today.

The success of the Arabesque range meant that it was soon being produced in very large numbers to cope with the demand generated by its mass-market appeal. Despite this, the range continued to be painted by hand right up until the 1970s. One has to admire the skill and stamina of Denby’s hand painters or paintresses who must have worked at amazing speed to keep pace with the demand.

The round "medallions" which are such a feature of the Arabesque range were originally not painted on but were applied by transfers. Hand painted medallions came later. Similarly the red dot in the centre of the medallions or roundels was not part of the original design but was added later to great effect. On the plates the red dot only appears in the centre of the centre roundel.

When seeking Denby Pottery Arabesque collectables, pieces to look out for particularly include the large chop plate which shows off the Arabesque design to great effect and the pieces with interiors such as the butter dishes and ramekins. The interiors are finished in a satin white glaze which contrasts beautifully with the vibrant colours of the exterior.

Denby Pottery is well known for its durability which is why a great many examples if earlier designs have survived to become the collectibles they are today. Despite this, many of them can be difficult to find on the market. This may well be at least partly because the people who originally bought them hang on to them and pass them on within their families who also keep them.

Many more are out there though. You just have to keep looking!

The following is a list of live auctions for "Denby Pottery Arabesque" currently listed on eBay. Hover the mouse cursor over the current price for details of postage and packaging. If you would like to see more information on a particular piece and maybe even bid on it, simply click on the item description to be magically whisked away to the wonderful world that is eBay. Alternatively you may use the search box to look for a specific piece for your collection.

Please also check out the Denby Pottery Arabesque Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed at the end of this page.

Useful Resources

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