Millicent Taplin (1902-1980) was a British designer and painter of ceramics who spent most of her career at Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (1917–1962). She took evening classes in art at Stoke School of Art, after being awarded a three-year scholarship, studying not only pottery decoration but also still lifes and botanical drawing. She was trained in painting by Alfred and Louise Powell, and supervised Wedgwood’s ceramics painters. She became a designer of decorative patterns in 1929 and by the mid-to-late 1930s was one of the company’s main designers, although she did not design pottery shapes. She was one of only two working-class women to become a successful ceramics designer before the Second World War.
She was a member of the Society of Industrial Artists from 1932. Her tableware designs were exhibited by Wedgwood at Grafton Galleries in London in 1936, Several of Taplin’s designs are preserved in the permanent ceramics collection of the V&A Museum, including “Falling Leaves”, “Strawberry Hill” and an unidentified earthenware design of around 1937. Examples of her designs and painted work are also in the permanent collections of the Wedwood Museum, Barlaston and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. Her design “Strawberry Hill”, with Victor Skellern, was awarded the Council of Industrial Design’s of the Year Award in 1957.
Like most women designers, Taplin only originated decorative patterns and did not create complete pottery designs. Although the designs were sold under her name, only some of her work was individually identified, which was done via a painted monogram rather than a signature.