Between 1915 and 1930, Daisy Makeig-Jones (1881–1945) designed for Wedgwood a popular lustreware based on imagery from illustrated childrens’ books of the 1890s through the 1910s, aptly called “Fairyland Lustre.” The heavily detailed, brightly hued ornamental ware—a far cry from the soberly colored, classically inspired jasperware for which Wedgwood is so well known—became hugely popular in the 1920s as people looked for fantasy and escape in the wake of the horrors of World War I.
The Fairyland line proved to be popular in the United States as well as in the UK. To elaborate on her designs, in 1921, Makeig-Jones wrote Some Glimpses of Fairyland, in which she recorded her own versions of popular fairy tales and invented new ones. In one story, Makeig-Jones describes the adventures of two little boys who one day venture forth from home and down a well that leads them to the Land of the Fays.
They are treated well by the Fays (fairies), who eventually return the boys to their home and give them apples, plums, and pears by which to remember them. The story relays that this is how apples, pears, and plums were first brought to Europe and notes that, to the little boys, the fruit had never tasted as good as in the Land of the Fays.
Makeig-Jones’s design “Castle on a Road,” introduced in 1917, depicts two disparate vistas on adjoining panels—one, a landscape of contemporary Europe, the other, the Land of the Fays. The world of reality and the world of fantasy are juxtaposed in ideal harmony.
Credited with helping improve Wedgwood's struggling profits,
Daisy Makeig-Jones' novel designs were far more than 'pretty patterns'.
She prided herself on creating stories and hidden worlds with fantastical themes,using rich jewel-like colours and imaginative details.
Daisy's fairies came from many cultural backgrounds and the articles they decorate often tell complex tales... Some pieces of Fairyland Lustre needed as many as six firings.
With expressive titles such as "Fairy Gondola", "Butterfly Women" and "Leap-frogging Elves", her work appealed to the public possibly as they offered a form of escapism during
the difficult post-war years. Wedgwood stopped the "Fairyland" lustre ware line in 1929 due to an apparent lack of interest.
Today the enthusiasm for Makeig-Jones' work is as strong as it ever was, possibly even more so than when the designs were first introduced in the 1920s.
Interest in the artist's work has been further enhanced by various Art Deco exhibitions featuring examples of her work including one at the
Victoria and Albert Museum, in September, 1990; an exhibition of "Wedgwood Fairyland and Other Lustres" at the Long Beach Museum of
Art, in September, 2001; and an exhibition comprising solely of her work from the Collection of Maurice Kawashima at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2005.