5 MAY 1923, Page 27



Six attractive metal trays have been sent us by the Bir- mingham Guild of Metalworkers, of Great Charles Street, Birmingham ; 28 Berners Street, London, W. 1; and Glasgow,

Liverpool, Paris and Wellington, N.Z. In the course of a covering letter the Birmingham Guild say that these trays are designed and produced by them as a side line and

"as an attempt to show how by means of good colour and design a commercial article can be given a note of distinction and artistry. The present writer saw a tray with a coloured beer bottle advertising a well-known brewers' product in a country inn. We think you will admit they have grown a little in beauty and grace since their commercial ancestor. The retail prices are 5s. each for the oval trays and 4s. for the round ones. . . . These trays sell readily direct to the public, but the large London stores are shy of them— possibly the expert buyer recognizes their lowly origin."

This origin is certainly not apparent to the present reviewer.

The first tray has an amusing pattern of small, gesticulating figures and is in green with the figures in gold, and bordered

in orange-red. The tone izif the green is not altogether success- ful, but the general effect is attractive.

Another tray is pale yellow with a perhaps somewhat insignificant design of conventionalized flowers on it. Another is black with the same floral design ; here again the colouring,

though pretty, is hardly bright enough. The most effective of the collection is an orange-coloured tray with a black and orange rim and flower sprays.

Of the two oval trays, one is an engaging nursery design with a border of small mauve elephants, orange giraffes, and butterflies, birds and snails. This pattern is in bright primary colours on a black ground, and the tray has a blue rim.

The other oval tray is a greyish navy blue in colour with a grey border and a little lozenge of " woolwork " flowers in the middle. They are the best trays for the price that we have come across. Our criticism would be that the designs might be bolder and the colours brighter ; in fact, a hope which amounts to no nkore than that the designers will travel a little further along the attractive road they have chosen.