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Fritz Wegner’s Christmas Plates

December 22, 2022
by the gentle author

If you need an excuse to escape over Christmas, why not join me for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF SPITALFIELDS on Boxing Day?


Click here to buy GIFT VOUCHERS for The Gentle Author’s Tours – the ideal present for friends and family – and I will send a handwritten greetings card to the recipients


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

You may also like to take a look at

Charles Keeping, Illustrator

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Andy permalink
    December 22, 2022

    The sweetness in the light of these illustrations endears my soul.

  2. December 22, 2022

    Very colourful and illustrative, they bring to life the Christmas story. They may be massed produced but they are quite lovely.

  3. Sally Bernard permalink
    December 22, 2022

    Thank you I enjoy seeing your ritual Xmas I seem to hVe lost so much of mine

  4. Barbara permalink
    December 22, 2022

    Glorious! Thank you.

  5. Wendy permalink
    December 22, 2022

    What a lovely thing to do each Christmas. You’ve highlighted that I haven’t a regular tradition so am promising myself to think of one. Merry Christmas to you and your readers.

  6. December 22, 2022

    GA, thank you for sharing your holiday decor and rituals! I so appreciated learning more about
    Fritz Wegner. Makes me want to know what size these original works of art were? They are so incredibly detailed and nuanced. (note the textiles in the Magi depiction…….) I love the duality of the holiday season — I can groove on the ultra-sophisticated window displays on Fifth Avenue, and I can sigh with appreciation to see the wobbly cardboard ornaments made by local children. To me, BOTH are spectacular expressions of the season. I’ve made a lifelong study of notable /rare Neapolitan nativity scenes, and yet I am equally thrilled to unwrap my childhood collection of dime store figures and arrange my heartfelt manager scene here. Your array of glass ornaments reminded me of a childhood holiday tree that was so modest, it was chuckle-worthy…….yet I would not change a strand of tinsel, and am so blessed to tend these holiday memories.
    Wishing you all the joys of the Season, and thank you for the joy and optimism you bring.

  7. Tones permalink
    December 22, 2022

    They may seen to be crudely made but they are still very skilfully done.

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