Retro trays

Three contempoarary trays from the 1960s
Three contemporary trays from the 1960s: Danish modern, Art Nouveau inspired and flower power inspired

A tray on display in the kitchen was an easy way to signal your tastes. Were you into psychedelia, Art Nouveau or Scandinavian modern? These are three very different contemporary trays from the 1960s. Which one do you prefer and which is worth the most?

'Tarragon' tin tray for JRM by Daphne Black c1968

Tarragon tray by Daphne Black for JRM Designs c1968
'Tarragon' tray by Daphne Black for JRM Designs c1968

Three classmates from the Central School of Art and Design in London formed JRM Design in 1966. They were Ian Logan, Daphne Black and Howard Curtis.

They initially struggled for success, but scored a hit with metal trays, placemats and storage jars in contemporary, but Art Nouveau-inspired, designs in bright colours. [1]

Logan designed the 'Salome' range of storage tins, table mats and coasters, along with a square tray in the same blue and purple pattern called 'Harriet'.

Black designed the 'Tarragon' range, which included storage jars and trays.

Other designs included 'Love' by Natalie Gibson - a purple tray with a red hearts

Daphne Black left JRM to join Biba, where she eventually became the head buyer.

Black married actor Rodney Bewes, famous for his role as Bob Ferris in 'Whatever happened to the Likely Lads' in 1973.

The 'Tarragon' is the most common of the JRM designs. However, it is quite rare today.

Tray value: £20

Rosewood ply tray by Langva, Denmark 1960s
Rosewood ply tray by Langva, Denmark 1960s

Rosewood ply tray by Langva, Denmark

This rosewood tray is typical of Scandinavian design in the 1960s. Danish design in particular was very fashionable.

The tray is made from moulded ply with a rosewood finish. It has an elegant shape.

The design was about understated good taste, rather than fun and fashion.

These trays are highly collectable today and retail for around £300 if in good condition.

Flower power style tray c1968-1970
Flower power style tray c1968-1970

Fibre glass tray with stylised floral pattern

This type of design was popular in the second half of the 1960s and into the early 1970s. It chimed in with the all-pervading flower power theme of the late 1960s. The flowers look like they could have been on the Magic Roundabout.

The groovy psychedelic-inspired design makes this tray worth more than most fibre glass trays from the 1960s with conventional patterns.

Value: £20 to £40

By Steven Braggs, February 2021

References

[1] 'Design' by Fiona Macarthy, published in the Observer, 20 March 1968, page 9

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