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Mug - Nessie beaker

Nessie beaker

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Hornsea (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1968 (designed)
    ca. 1968-1970 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Clappison, William John, born 1937 (designer)
    Hornsea Pottery Co. Ltd. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed earthenware with screen-printed decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Clappison and the makers

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 140, Factory Ceramics, case 20, shelf 1

Physical description

White earthenware mug, cylindrical with small foot and a D-shaped handle. Decorated with a screen-printed glaze-resist design of 'Nessie' (the Loch Ness monster) in dark and light green.

Place of Origin

Hornsea (manufactured)


1968 (designed)
ca. 1968-1970 (made)


Clappison, William John, born 1937 (designer)
Hornsea Pottery Co. Ltd. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Glazed earthenware with screen-printed decoration

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 9.5 cm, Length: 11 cm including handle, Diameter: 8 cm

Object history note

The name 'mug' was not used before 1970; previously these items were known as 'beakers'.

This beaker is part of the gifts, consisting 44 objects, arranged privately by John Clappison, chief staff designer at Hornsea. The selection was made by John Mallet and Jennifer Opie, most of the ceramics then being housed in John Clappison’s garage and cellar, the remainder under his care at the Pottery. In 1986 the Pottery was in some difficulties and Mr. Clappison was then alone in seeing the need to save these examples of the factory’s production. The titles given are those used in-house by the factory.

Historical context note

The 'mug' has a long history, dating back to the eighteenth century and beyond. Until the twentieth century however, its use polarised between the collectible 'coronation' mugs and other political and royal souvenirs, and the working labourer taking tea in a mug in a cafe or workplace. Since the 1930s, the mug had been undergoing a slow role transformation until it was elevated to the home. The rise in the production of kitchenware during the 1960s signals an emergence of a new place to linger - the kitchen. There was a huge emphasis on the decoration of kitchens during the time. The success of the mug was particularly assisted by the rise in consumption of instant coffee; the mug became the essential and fashionable drinking vessel for all classes.
Hornsea led the market in their concern to make the mug more attractive and acceptable to a wider band of consumers. They read the market well; their mugs were not only very popular sellers but they were also singled out in the design magazines of the period and received Design Council awards. The decoration blends the boldness of 'Pop' graphics with some Arts and Crafts influence, which is then toned down by brown and green colouring.
Hornsea showed their commitment to design by pioneering new techniques (like the resist printed decoration to give the relief effect in this mug) and from 1968 they only put their designs into production if they had been accepted into the Design Index by the Design Council.

Descriptive line

Mug titled 'Nessie beaker', earthenware with screen-printed decoration, designed by William John Clappison, manufactured by Hornsea Pottery Co. Ltd., England, ca. 1968-1970.


Earthenware; Glaze


Screen printing; Glazed


ELISE; Ceramics; Earthenware


Ceramics Collection

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