Eric Ravilious Alphabet Mug and Alphabet Seriesware. Introduced in 1937, the Alphabet mug by Eric Ravilious first showcased its iconic design a year earlier, in 1936. This design has since cemented its status as a modern classic, embodying Ravilious’s unparalleled ability to elevate ordinary ideas into artistic brilliance. In this feature, we delve into the renowned Alphabet design and its application on the mug, as well as its presence on other seriesware.
The Alphabet design features each letter of the alphabet is imaginatively paired with an object: A for Aeroplane; B for Budgie: C for Cloud etc. Some of the letter / characters are more obscure than others, and some are a product of the period such as Q for Quince and Z for Zeppelin.
The pattern featured on a number of shapes but principally the Alphabet mug where it is organised in two detailed bands that encircle the exterior of the mug. The nuances in his design become even more evident with the letters Y and Z, represented by a yacht and a Zeppelin respectively, which are thoughtfully placed inside the mug.
In a delightful touch of whimsy, when the mug is filled with liquid, the yacht appears to ‘sail’ on the drink’s surface.
This subtle interplay not only reflects Ravilious’s penchant for blending the mundane with the whimsical but also his keen observational skills and profound understanding of functional design. His “Alphabet” design, with its detailed illustrations and playful depictions, exemplifies his ability to interweave daily life with elements of wonder, making the ordinary extraordinary.
The design, rendered in Ravilious’s signature muted colors including pale blue, pale pink and pale yellow.
The mug was created in two sizes: a more common 8cm high edition and a larger 10.5cm high edition.
More modern edition have been produced including an edition with black with gold details, an edition for Martha Stewart and Wedgwood Limited Edition of 1,000 for Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne featuring dark blue bandings.
The Alphabet design also featured on others shapes including jugs and plates.