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Fritz Wegner’s Christmas Plates

December 20, 2021
by the gentle author

A few years ago, I came across this set of small souvenir Christmas plates Fritz Wegner designed for Fleetwood of Wyoming between 1980 and 1983 in limited editions, which I acquired for almost nothing. They are crudely produced, not unlike those ceramics sold in copyshops with photographic transfers, yet this cheap mass-produced quality endears them to me and I set them out on the dresser every Christmas with fondness.

I discovered my delight in the work of illustrator Fritz Wegner (1924-2015) in primary school through his drawings for Fattypuffs & Thinifers by Andrew Maurois. Throughout my childhood, I cherished his book illustrations whenever I came across them and the love of his charismatically idiosyncratic sketchy line has stayed with me ever since.

Only recently have I learnt that Fritz Wegner was born into a Jewish family in Vienna and severely beaten by a Nazi-supporting teacher for a caricature he drew of Adolf Hitler at the age of thirteen. To escape, his family sent him alone to London in August 1938 where he was offered a scholarship at St Martin’s School of Art at fourteen years old, even though he could barely speak English.

Journey to Bethlehem, 1983

The Shepherds, 1982

The Holy Child, 1981

The Magi, 1980

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Charles Keeping, Illustrator

10 Responses leave one →
  1. December 20, 2021

    I am curious about Fleetwood of Wyoming. Is this some English company? Mr. Google doesn’t seem to know anything about this.
    It’s a lovely collection of plates, perfect for the season. So Merry Christmas to you all.

  2. pauline taylor permalink
    December 20, 2021

    Thank you GA,

    Mass produced and cheap these may be but I find them quite charming.

  3. December 20, 2021

    My word, what a contrast those images are to his work on Fattypuffs & Thinifers.

    More information accessible here:

  4. Penelope Gardner permalink
    December 20, 2021

    My Enid Blyton Advent Calendar (Illustrated by FW) has been my family’s mainstay since the 1950’s. They sometimes come up on eBay…grab one when ever you can. Its wonderful at Christmas Time and on its 4th generation.

  5. paul loften permalink
    December 20, 2021

    Thanks for showing us these plates and telling us about Fritz’s life. To be sent here alone and achieve so much !

  6. Ella permalink
    December 20, 2021

    Thank you for this plates and the illustrator from the town, where I live for a very long time. He made some wonderful illustrations!
    Merry Christmas, Ella

  7. Cherub permalink
    December 20, 2021

    What lovely things to have on display at Christmas.

    I happily collect things to be treasured at this time of year. My latest is a hand made glass bauble bought last night from Basel Weinachtsmarkt. It’s of a court jester dressed in black and white and like the black shepherd’s crook symbol, particular to the Canton of Baselstadt. Another favourite is a red an black print of a choirboy I bought from a gallery I worked in 25 years ago. I love displaying it on a shelf every year.

  8. Pence permalink
    December 20, 2021

    They are delightful

  9. Mary Connolly permalink
    December 20, 2021

    Loved seeing these plates. Really nice. Would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay Safe.Mary

  10. Susan permalink
    December 20, 2021

    I immediately wondered (and worried) if the rest of his family made it out, but was relieved by this info from his obituary

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