Below is a guest post from noted Van Briggle author and collector Kathy Honea
Described in Van Briggle early literature as a glaze containing the browns and greens found in a mountain crag, this glaze consists of a rich honey-brown with over spray of a medium-bright green.
Although certainly numerous shades of brown and green glazes were produced within the first decade of Van Briggle pottery production, this particular combination of these specific colors was prevalent in the 1920s until the mid-1930s period. Historically, the story has been repeated that the formulas for these colors were lost in the flood of 1935; which destroyed the east side of the Van Briggle Memorial Pottery building, and swept pottery, molds and written documents into the adjacent river.
Two different Van Briggle sales postcards, dating to the early 1920s; depict Van Briggle design examples, and list the glazes available as: Mulberry, Turquoise Blue and Mountain Crag Brown. These same three glaze colors were also listed in early brochures.
A few pottery examples from the 1950s have mysteriously surfaced in the Mountain Crag Brown glaze. This has been explained by Fred Wills, Van Briggle potter from 1947 to 1988, who corroborated that a potter who had worked in the 1930s and remained at Van Briggle Pottery into the 1950s, did prepare the Mountain Crag Brown glazes once and fired some pieces for sale. Fred Wills explains that potters preparing glazes multiple times, would have the formulas memorized and it would not be unusual for them to be able to reproduce them years later.
For some unknown reason, the name of the Mountain Crag Brown glaze was later incorrectly repeated as “Mountain Craig Brown” and stories even surfaced that the glaze may have been named after the Colorado painter, Charles Craig. Two previous Van Briggle authors have agreed that the perpetuation of the “Mountain Craig Brown” name has been in error.
Although commonly, but incorrectly, still referred to as “Mountain Craig Brown” we can definitely state that the early literature named the popular glaze “Mountain Crag Brown” and even elaborated the rationale for the glaze, as representing the colors found in a mountain crag.
It’s always exciting when we add a new arrival from a Roseville Pottery pattern and we’ve recently added several pieces of Roseville in different patterns on our New Arrivals page.
Roseville Baneda bowl
The Roseville Baneda pattern is a favorite among many collectors. It’s the color hues that are remarkable. Even those who prefer the traditional single-color matte finishes often remark on the vivid and bright presentation these color choices bring to this pattern. We have a couple of new Baneda pieces we’ve just added. The Roseville Baneda green vase offers those low resting handles that are always popular. Remember, this pattern was often marked with the foil labels – and this vase has its intact. It’s a lovely piece in mint condition- definitely worth a look.
Our second Baneda new arrival is the classic green jardinière. It’s in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, damage or repairs of any kind. This piece is marked with a red crayon, which is also another popular way of marking these patterns. It’s a nice size, coming in it 4 ¼ inches in height and at its widest, it measures 5 ¾ inches.
And speaking of those vivid color schemes, we also just added a Roseville Wisteria tan bowl as well as a Wisteria tan vase. The greens, purples and yellows in varying hues really define this pattern. Of course, the purple is shown on the grapes and both are perfect for placing in your kitchen.
Both are in mint condition and the bowl measures 4 ¼ inches tall and 6 inches wide while the vase measures 8 ¼ inches in height and is 7 inches wide.
This is just a few of our new arrivals and as always, check in often – you never know what you’ll find.
If you haven’t checked into our new referral program, now is a great time to do so. We’ve partnered with Referral Candy to offer our customers a 5% discount when they refer their friends and those friends make a purchase.
Not only that, but their first purchase also means a nice $10 savings for them, too. It’s a win-win! Learn more here.
The Roseville Falline line is one of the smallest collections in Roseville Pottery, with just 16 pieces. Considered a middle period Art Deco line, it was introduced in 1933. Many collectors use the word “elegant” to describe this line – and rightfully so. Frank Ferrell was the primary designer and the Falline line (“Fay Leen”), is easily identified because of the pea pods that adorn the various pieces. They run vertically, each with handles on both sides. There were two color patterns, those with various browns and greens and the more popular blue/green/yellow combinations.
The Art of Roseville Falline
The artistic efforts, even though they were pea pods, are quite beautiful.
Many of the pieces are darker or of different colors the closer to the top you get. It adds a certain dimension and because it’s unlike most other art pottery pieces of that era, it’s likely one reason people describe it as elegant and sophisticated.
Sometimes artists attempt to present a simple effort. They want the color combinations or perhaps the quality of the product to shine through. It’s not known, of course, if this was Ferrell’s purpose, regardless, it quickly became – and remains so today – one of the most loved Roseville Pottery lines.
Remember, this line was introduced in 1933, the same year Baneda, with its stunning shapes and hues, Blackberry, known for the nature motif of leaves and berries and Primrose, the lighter more feminine offering of the day, made their debuts. These middle period collections reveal the best of Roseville Pottery and its artists.
With just 16 items in this collection, mostly bowls, candlesticks and pitchers of varying sizes, it’s one of those highly sought after patterns.
If you collect Falline, you likely know how rare it is to find. It’s an art pottery collector’s dream.
For many art pottery collectors, Ohio is the place to go when they’re looking to learn more or expand their Roseville Pottery or Rookwood Pottery collections, but that’s not to say other regions of the country don’t have a lot to offer collectors. When you think of the south, odds are, it’s George Ohr, also known as the Mad Pottery of Biloxi and of course, the renowned Newcomb Pottery out of New Orleans, that come to mind.
But what do you associate with art pottery makers west of the Mississippi and specifically, Colorado? Van Briggle Pottery is one of those timeless names, forever associated with the best in American art pottery, but this wasn’t the only company in Colorado. In fact, Denver China and Pottery opened its doors within a few weeks of Van Briggle’s opening. What’s so interesting is the influence this company had within the art pottery community. So influential was Denver China and Pottery, the decision makers with Weller Pottery had considered relocating to the area after seeing the beautiful creations coming out of Denver China and Pottery.
William A. Long, who founded the highly respected (both then and now) Lonhuda Pottery, also founded Denver China and Pottery in 1901. If it was regional authenticity he was aiming for, he succeeded. He was committed to using materials, including clay, found only in Colorado.
Denver China & Pottery markings
There were two especially notable glazes used in the company’s wares. At that time, Grueby had seen great success with the matte green glaze it had perfected. Proof of that success and timeless quality is found in modern day. Odds are, you have something in your own collection that incorporates that rich green glaze. Once people realized that not only was Denver China and Pottery a force to be reckoned with, but that it was also giving them what they wanted, the company’s success soared. The matte glazing efforts were paying off.
There was one more glaze technique used by Denver China and Pottery. It was luminous, elegant and even suggested a fragility not seen in other pottery collections. The iridescent glaze was incorporated with great success and because of that, it remains popular within the pottery community.
If you’re not familiar with this line of American art pottery, the story is fascinating. Some of the works are on display at The Smithsonian National Museum. Also, if you live in or will be traveling through Colorado, be sure to explore “Colorado Kilns,” an exhibit running through October 1 at the Colorado History Museum. This is an annual conference, so if you’re unable to attend this year, it would make a great vacation for next year.
As always, we’d love to see photos of any Denver China and Pottery pieces you may own.
For avid Roseville Pottery collectors, it’s near impossible to discuss the logistics behind the beauty in the Earlam line without mentioning Frank Ferrell. He was, after all, the creative force behind many Roseville lines – including Earlam. Part of our ongoing appreciation for this particular line isn’t so much what it offers, but rather, what it doesn’t offer.
Unlike many – if not most – of Roseville’s patterns, Ferrell opted to not include florals or the geometric shapes that were trendy at the time. Instead, you’ll find softer lines, plenty of curves and bulbous centers. Many of the pots and vases also had tell-tale handles on either side that collectors are always searching for, even today. The Earlam shapes are limited, especially when compared to some of the other Roseville pottery lines. It has just 22 shapes and most are vases, bowls and pots. While there are none with floral decorative elements, there are a few strawberry and crocus pots, which add further distinction.
For those who appreciate the more muted glazes, Earlam is for you. The efforts made to ensure each piece was unlike any other, in sort of an “imperfectly perfect” way, were subtle. The rims also offer an interesting dimension as most are ridged with a slightly darker tan or brown. There’s something really special about this important Roseville pattern.
The green shading, with its matte finish, coupled with the soft yellow that transitions to deeper yellow-gold colors play off of the other for a truly visual appeal that brings artistry to new levels. Keep in mind -though these were the two primary hues, you can find Roseville Earlam with shades of blue and brown. Ferrell knew he was on to something and fortunately for us, there remains a decent amount of Earlam pieces that can be found today – though it’s unlikely anyone who has any part of this collection would ever dream of parting ways with it.
Aside from occasional bevel, or “ridging” efforts, this collection is beautiful because of the simplicity. It’s allowed to be appreciated for those two primary colors – green and yellow – and, of course, the abundance of space in the bowls and vases. Why Ferrell opted to forego the “tried and true” decorative path is not known, but the Roseville Earlam line stands on its own and remains in big demand.