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Fritz Wegner’s Christmas Plates

December 22, 2023
by the gentle author

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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 copy shops 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

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Arabella permalink
    December 22, 2023

    I always loved Fattypuffs and Thinifers and how wonderful to find plates designed by the same illustrator. What an extraordinary story about his childhood too – I would love to find out what happened next.

  2. Christopher JP Russell permalink
    December 22, 2023

    Priceless heirlooms and a magnificent decoration in memory of Fritz Wegner as a Jewish survivor in the Xmas spirit

  3. Cherub permalink
    December 22, 2023

    Cheap things are often charming and these lovely Christmas plates prove this.

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