Welcome to the AUTUMN LEAVES country kitchen collection
Autumn Leaves was introduced around 1979 as an exclusive range for Marks & Spencer in the UK. Each year new pieces were added to the range and we aim to illustrate all of them. This may however be almost impossible! As the years passed some items were eliminated, others were available at specific stores for a limited period only. Worse still, for the collector, some pieces were manufactured, but then rejected by Marks & Spencer and disposed of by the manufacturer either at a factory shop or market stall. It may therefore be difficult to compile a definitive list.
Requests to Marks & Spencer for further details of the product range, old publicity material, pictures etc. met with a fairly negative response. They did, however have no objection, in principle, to us starting a collectors club. Well, this is it!
We began collecting in 1979 and have around 250 different pieces. Apparently M&S had attempted to eliminate the range during the 1980's (hopefully someone can give us further details) but our serious collecting began during the 1991 summer sales when a wide range of ancillary items were discontinued. Apart from two new designs of electric kettle nothing new was introduced after spring 1991. At each summer or winter sale further pruning of the range took place. For a couple of years it was withdrawn from stores and made available by mail order catalogue only. Autumn Leaves country kitchen was finally eliminated in January 1994.
In 1992 we managed to obtain some manufacturers development samples, some of which are unique pieces. However, there must have been more of these development samples in previous years. Do you have any of these? Do you know any more of the history of Autumn Leaves? Who drew the original design? Who has the original designs?
Buying on ebay?
We do have spares but read this first…
You will (eventually) find (almost) all that you need at ebay. Look out for excessive postal charges and, if possible, seek out or ask for recorded or special delivery to negate the difficulty of losing items in the post. Beware sellers who state that they obtain proof of posting (but strangely will not use a signed for service) and that they will assist you to make a loss claim. This is nonsense because Royal Mail will ONLY accept a loss/damage claim from the seller. Avoid these sellers! It is clearly in the interest of a reputable seller to be able to prove that an item has been despatched AND that it has reached its destination with a signature and tracking number.
M&S stoneware items are very resilient and after many years of neglect most items will clean up and look like new. But beware of dishwasher faded items. Sellers often do not realise how bright the pattern should be. Bear in mind that some sellers have bought their pieces at a car boot sale and may not know how bright the pattern should be. But you do - and you may be disappointed! It is usually only plates, bowls and mugs which show signs of wear or fading. See this page for typical fading of pattern:
Also, there were many seconds sold via factory shops and market stalls. Second Quality may manifest itself as a warped plate or a blob of glaze in the wrong place. ‘Seconds’ could be perfect quality but produced AFTER Marks and Spencer had cancelled production of that piece. These items can usually be identified by a shallow drill mark to the underside. Alternatively the St Michael identification mark, or sometimes a date mark e.g. 0292 (for February 1992), will have been covered by a black or brown patch or obliterated by use of an angle grinder. Early versions of Autumn Leaves often carried no identification marks but this does not make them seconds.
Another point to consider is that later versions of items, with a circular identification mark, can have a slightly lighter pattern than original issue items.
See this page for identification marks:
Generally, original items carry the words MADE IN ENGLAND; later issues MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN. These words may be moulded into the stoneware. Marks and Spencer attempted to eliminate the complete range on more than one occasion. Such was the outcry from customers that they had to reintroduce the range. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they were very reluctant to do this. Although M&S lost interest in their creation.. their customers did not. Resurrection of the range (at least twice) goes some way to explain why there are variations in pattern shade and style of the range. Another reason is that production of some items was devolved to a different manufacturer who could not produce identical items simply because the clay was different in their area. Whole batches of expensive casseroles and roasting dishes were rejected by M&S because the background shade of clay did not match their strict specification. These items were then sold at market stalls across the country. When searching for matching crockery it can be useful to know what type of markings you already have on the reverse of your plates.
One item to purposefully seek out as a second is the later sugar basin with lid. For some inexplicable reason all store bought examples have the pattern applied too low, and invariably at an angle. Second quality basins with a shallow drill hole to the base, purchased direct from the Johnson Brothers Stoke Factory shop, invariably have the pattern applied perfectly just below the green band. Don’t believe it? Take a look at any lidded sugar basin on ebay.
Shiny Glaze Crockery
Not made for M&S but manufactured by T G Green, Church Gresley, circa 1995 – after Autumn Leaves range had been totally eliminated from the St Michael catalogue. T G Green had been making Autumn Leaves cookware for M&S. Presumably they capitalised on a surfeit of redundant transfers and churned out, it must be admitted, second quality shiny glaze totally unofficial Autumn Leaves pieces. These shiny glaze pieces were also sold at the Swindon Cloverleaf Factory Shop where primarily imported melamine was sold. Imported from Thailand, by the way. Known shiny glaze pieces include a large oval plate with two normal plate patterns, a very large oval dish with just one plate pattern and fully glazed in green externally, a tea plate with two patterns normally used on tea cups or sugar basins, a soup bowl with a standard plate/bowl pattern, a soup bowl with three long patterns adorning the inner side of the bowl. A combination of two different patterns were utilised, as seen on the T G Green manufactured pie dish and the roaster respectively. Also seen, a jar with a (wrong shade of) green lid – two patterns, one of which also includes the word ‘TEA’. ‘SUGAR’ and ‘COFFEE’ may also exist and confirmation is invited. Do you possess any other shiny glaze variants? If they are from T G Green they will usually carry a mark such as 05:95.
Plates and bowls
It is increasingly difficult to find Mint Condition unused plates and bowls/dishes. However, if you are very lucky, you may find that someone is selling unused boxed items.
Can't find what you are looking for at ebay?
We're not particularly looking to sell anything but if you have exhausted ebay we may have spares for sale...
Our ‘slightly used’ items are otherwise perfect but with minimal signs of use. They are not chipped or faded. Typical faint marking may occur simply from stacking plates on top of one another. We do not think you will be disappointed with our best quality used plates and bowls. Of course, you can pay our highest prices for the rarer Mint Condition early boxed items. In the final years though M&S sold pieces unboxed in their stores. The qualification about quality ONLY applies to Plates and Bowls as these are by their nature more likely to have been used on a regular basis. Let’s be honest, it is difficult to wear out a butter dish or sugar basin…
We guarantee that the items we sell are mint condition first quality, unless you prefer slightly used items or seconds at a lower price. Most faded items are still in perfect condition and may indeed actually match your plates. We do also have some well used or severely faded plates/bowls at even lower prices.
What we can't supply
Unfortunately, because of their rarity, we are unable to supply glassware. Also, the large oval plate. It has taken us 25+ years to track down just seven of these large plates. Similarly we have no duplicates of Factory development samples
Wanting to sell?
We will consider buying your complete unwanted Autumn Leaves collection. We pay top prices for rare items but take a look at ebay first of all. You will find that standard items often do not sell, or only achieve low prices. We will always offer a fair price – and an excellent price if it is an item we are seeking. We're always looking for large oval plates and the deep butter dish with a flattish lid (this is not the the one with the bell lid).
Chris & Kate
please bear with us whilst we fully update the site over the following weeks
How up to date is this website? Donald Trump will shortly be President of USA and Leonard Cohen has died...
E-mail: see contact page (opens in pop up style window)
Above: Autumn Leaves rarities
From left, mainly development samples; 2x spaghetti jars (non standard shapes), a bulbous storage jar, rectangular fluted lasagne dish, shiny glaze lipped dish, very large oval dish (with dark green outer glaze), roaster with 'wrong' pattern, the elusive deep butter dish, a different shiny glaze lipped dish, bud vase, wooden pot stand with FOUR small tiles which make up a complete pattern, storage jars with 'wrong' pattern, a tea jar, more factory samples of spaghetti jars with non standard patterns. To left, in foreground, towel with pattern strip. On wall, the final range of wall tiles. Sorry, none of these items are for sale.
Marks & Spencer were unable (unwilling) to help with locating discontinued pieces and, since they have a secrecy policy regarding identity of manufacturers, it was necessary to undertake some detective work. This was the result.
ITEM MANUFACTURER LOCATION (ENGLAND) General Tableware-Plates, Bowls, Butter Dish, Gravy Boat, Salt&Pepper, Sugar Basin, Jugs ..... Johnson Brothers Stoke on Trent Cookware-Flan, Pie Dish (Fluted Sides), Oval Casserole, Oval Dish, Rectangular Dish (Pattern inside both dishes), Shallow Casserole ...... Johnson Brothers Stoke on Trent Cookware-Flan, Pie Dish, Deep Round Casserole, Oval Dish, Rectangular Dish (Pattern on external sides of both dishes). Patterns generally shinier/brighter than Johnson Brothers. T. G. Green (Part of the Cloverleaf Group) Church Gresley Melamine-Trays, Chopping Boards, Memo Pad, Toast Rack, Jam Pot, Butter Dish, Cutlery Set..... Cloverleaf Swindon Glassware-Jugs, Tumblers ..... Western House, Crystal & Glass Basingstoke Casseroles with Smoked Glass Lid. Pyrex - Storage Jars, Planters, Spaghetti Jars, Utensil Jars, Vases....(Originally Shiny Glaze-Later Matt Glaze) Hornsea Pottery Hornsea (Want to know more about Hornsea Pottery?) Visit: www.hornseacollector.co.uk Canisters, Bread Bin, Food Warmer, Pedal Bin, Gadget Set. Brabantia Bristol Saucepans, Roaster, Electrical Goods. Swan Moulinex Birmingham Textiles-Curtains Dorma - Ceramic Wall Tiles H&R Johnson - Various/Other Other/Manufacturer Unknown - ITEM MANUFACTURER LOCATION (ENGLAND)
Click on relevant MANUFACTURER in table above, to read trivia and view photographs of pieces produced by that particular manufacturer. Some pages are still under construction
Detailed descriptions with pictures of selected items can be viewed here
A matching set of three tiles (Border, Inset & Field) were manufactured in 1989 and discontinued in 1991
The picture above is taken from a promotional leaflet
The background picture that you see on this page is a high quality scan of an 'inset' tile
Scroll down to see this at its best
Complete range of M&S tiles 1989
Autumn Leaves Tiles
Autumn Leaves Wallpaper & Border
Please contact us if you operate or know of a website that features any other Marks&Spencer pottery range such as Harvest, Field Flowers, Provence, Ashberry, Midsummer etc. We do have the following Harvest pieces: Spaghetti Jar; Deep Butter Dish; Flour Sifter-Shiny Glaze design sample; replacement lids for Harvest storage jars.
Autumn Leaves images Country Kitchen No.1 Country Kitchen No.2 Country Kitchen No. 3 Autumn Leaves Electrical Typical Identification Markings Click on the images to enlarge them.
Oval Plate (stoneware)
Oval Plate (shiny glaze)
Butter Dish - Deep Dish/Flat Lid
Cheese Dish (image shows Harvest pattern)
Coffee, Sugar or any other description similar to above Tea Storage Jar
Storage Jar - Square Very Small with Cork Lid
Spoon Rest - Single
Glass Worktop Saver
Table Cloth Wipe Clean
Oven Gloves Separate Pattern/Mitt, see above
Cheese board & Knife - Wooden with Square Tile
Wallcovering & Border
We are particularly interested in non standard pieces that you may have purchased from factory shops or market stalls...
Whenever possible we like to visit the person selling any Autumn Leaves. This enables us to pay cash and safeguards against breakages in the post.
Thanks for visiting
E-mail: see contact page (opens in pop up style window)
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