Date Made/Found: 1966-1974
Material and Medium: stainless steel
Dimensions: Overall (Cup): 77 x 89 x 69mm (3 1/16 x 3 1/2 x 2 11/16in.)
Overall (Box): 74 x 110 x 114mm (2 15/16 x 4 5/16 x 4 1/2in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2012.131
This is a child’s mug made out of stainless steel with a satin finish and machine engraved with a bunny rabbit design. It was made by the tableware manufacturers Old Hall Ltd and designed by Robert Welch MBE. The rabbit motif was created by the children’s illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell. The mug is part of a range of children’s tableware that includes plates, egg cups and napkin rings. This particular style of child’s mug was produced from 1966 till 1974 but it is not clear if Atwell made the designs before her death in 1964, or if they were designs produced later by her daughter.
Children’s mugs were popular christening presents and historically were made of silver or silver plate. Stainless steel was a popular modern alternative because it was less expensive, stylish, fashionable, and could be used by small children safely on a daily basis.
Robert Welch was one of the most celebrated British stainless steel designers of his era. In 1955 the directors of J & J Wiggin, the manufacturers of the Old Hall brand, appointed him as the company’s ‘Artist Designer for Stainless Steel lines’. Welch’s first designs were launched the following year.