Rookwood Pottery Artists – Top 10

Our weekly top 10 list continues with Rookwood Pottery artists.  These are my favorite decorators of Rookwood.

1.  Carl Schmidt

Carl Schmidt was born in 1875 and began decorating vases at Rookwood in 1896.  He worked at Rookwood Pottery until 1927.  Mr. Schmidt’s Venice harbor scenic vases and iris glaze vases are exceptional and have a lifelike presence that is unparalleled in American art pottery history. Pict1141 Typical motifs for Rookwood Iris glaze vases by Carl Schmidt include wisteria, iris, and tulip flowers.

2.  Kataro Shirayamadani

Probably the most recognized name in Rookwood Pottery history is Kataro (Sherry) Shirayamadani who was born in 1865.  He started decorating pottery at Rookwood in 1887 and except for a couple of short periods of time, worked at the pottery until near his death in 1948.  While all of Kataro’s work is highly sought after by collectors, several of his black iris vases are on the top 10 list for prices realized for Rookwood Pottery.

3.  Sara Sax

Ms. Sax joined the decorating staff at Rookwood Pottery in 1896 and worked there until 1931.  Peacocks and peacock feathers were common decorating motifs for Rookwood vases decorated by Sara Sax.  Ms. Sax’s French Red vases are absolutely exceptional and rank as my favorite glaze line.   For some unknown reason, Rookwood’s French Red was used almost exclusively by Sara Sax.  However, Ms. Sax is recognized as having mastered many of the Rookwood glaze lines.  Ms. Sax also has the distinction of being at the forefront of the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Arts and Crafts Movements at Rookwood Pottery.

4.  William Hentschel

Mr. Hentschel worked at Rookwood between 1907-1939.  If you like matte glazed and carved arts and crafts vases, William Hentschel’s work is as good as it gets.  Equally impressive are Hentschel’s Ombroso glaze vases.  William Hentschel is also considered to be one of the best Art Deco designers at Rookwood as evidenced by his matte moderne vases. 

5.  Arthur Conant 

Arthur Conant was born in 1889 and died in 1966.  He worked at Rookwood pottery between 1915 and 1939.  My favorite Arthur Conant Rookwood vases are his colorful decorated porcelain scenic vases with plants, flowers and animals.  Conant’s use of color and composition is unlike most other Rookwood decorators and is not what most would consider typical Rookwood.  Pict2026

6.  Artus Van Briggle

Artus Van Briggle worked at Rookwood between 1887 and 1893.  After studying in Paris for 3 years, Artus returned to Rookwood where he stayed until sometime in 1900 or 1901 when he moved to Colorado Springs and formed Van Briggle Pottery.  During his time at Rookwood, Artus specialized in Dull Finish, Standard Glaze, Sea Green, Relief Iris and my personal favorite hand-carved, almost three-dimensional relief Modeled Mat vases. 

7.  Albert Valentien

Albert Valentien was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1862.  He became a decorator at Rookwood Pottery in 1881.  Mr. Valentien worked at Rookwood until 1905. Albert Valentien excelled in a variety of Rookwood glaze lines including Dull Finish, Standard glaze and the Iris Glaze line.   It has been reported that in 1905, Albert Valentien became the first decorator to paint a scenic landscape on a Rookwood vase. 

8.  Grace Young

Rookwood Pottery decorator Grace Young is noted for her exceptional, life-like Native American portrait vases and plaques.  Ms. Young currently holds several spots on the list of top prices realized for Rookwood Pottery sales at auction.  It seems every time I see one of her Native American portrait vases at auction I can’t help but stand and stare. Dscn7614

9.  Harriet Wilcox

Harriet Wilcox was one of the few Rookwood decorators who became proficient in the rare painted matte glaze line.  Ms. Wilcox is also one of few Rookwood decorators other than Sara Sax to work with the French Red glaze line.  Harriet Wilcox worked at Rookwood Pottery between 1886 and 1907. 

10.  Charles Todd

I have to admit I really struggled with number 10 on this list.  There certainly are a lot of other Rookwood decorators that could and probably should be on this list but I love arts and crafts Rookwood and on a good day Charles Todd put out some impressive carved matte vases.  Mr. Todd is also known for his work with the Ombroso glaze line.  His Rookwood Ombroso vases often have a strong arts and crafts presence.

Greg MyrothShop for Rookwood Pottery 


  1. I am wondering if anyone can tell me if Margaret McDonald (Pullman) was an artist who decorated Rookwood Pottery. I have a book of her drawings and am trying to obtain info on her…thanks.

  2. Lori,
    Margaret Helen McDonald worked for Rookwood between 1913 and 1948. Also John Wesley Pullman worked at Rookwood between 1926 and 1931.

    Greg Myroth

  3. I’d like to find out about my ggrandfather, Frederick Zankl, who came from Denmark to the Zanesville area before the turn of the 20th century and supposedly was an artist for Roseville (or perhaps Weller or Rookwood). I assume he was a lesser known, possibly class C artist, since I’ve never been able to find his name on any list of artists. Any information on him would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  4. Jim Nathanson says:

    Have a portrait (oil) done by Grace Young in the 1890s…most likely during a trip to Europe. Looks very much like Harriet Wilcox. Does anyone have any more information on Wilcox other than what is in ‘Rookwood Pottery Potpourri?’

  5. I looked at a couple of Rookwood pottery reference guides and didn’t find an artist listing for Frederick Zankl.


  6. Regarding Margaret McDonald Pullman: She was an Indiana artist born in Carroll County, Indiana in 1845 and was raised in Logansport, Indiana. She married George M. Pullman of Chicago (of the Pullman railroad car family) and resided there where she painted Indiana landscapes in watercolor and oil. She was well regarde and became the president of the Chicago Art Club at one time and published two books of art accompanying poetry of the day. The two titles are “Days Serene” 1889 and “Sommerland” 1891.
    She was the sister of my Great-Great Grandfather, William McDonald, and also had a sister Mary McDonald who was a fine artist and illustrator of books and national magazines.
    I own a beautiful oil landscape of Indiana, a painted chine plate and a copy of “Days Serene” by Margaret and two watercolor/gouache sketch paintings by Mary, all treasured possessions.
    Ellen, Richmond, VA

  7. Anje Shein says:

    I am searching for the artists’ names on a Rookwood ewer made in 1889. Their initials are W.P. and McB. Thank you very much.

  8. The decorator of your Rookwood ewer is William Purcell McDonald.

  9. Have a rookwod ewer, browns, gold, poppies — letters DD, #715, in script looks like LyBt? Anyone know anything about this?

  10. Tom Jackson says:

    I am looking for any info I could find on a G E McGrath. I have a beautiful piece of pottery with this name in bottom. Any info would be greatly appreciated


  11. Thomas G. Barnes says:

    Can you tell me if John Zettel’s wife was connected with Rookwood?
    He was a noted architect,woh with his partner Rapp designed the Marimont Inn. Many thanks for your help.

  12. Hey Pam, about McGrath…I have a teapot from McGrath, dated in the 80’s, from Ottawa. Is this match anything you know?

  13. Charles Blackwell says:

    I have a painting that I bought 30 years ago in Ann Arbor, MI. I lost the letter of provenance on it, but I believe the painter was Grace Young. The provenance stated the artist died in 1947. I would like to know if anyone would be able to identify this painting and tell me where I can find its’ worth. It is of a beautiful Gypsy woman with a colorful head scarf.

  14. emanuel j barone says:

    i have a perfect piece rookwood vase signed j over s and dated l901, piece number 654c redish in color with painted flowers, and leaves. i cannot identify the name of the artist js or sj.

  15. Ilse Charney says:

    I have a large 15 pc Rookwood over the fireplace mantle set of 15 tiles, when put together roughly 40″ x 21″ about. Landscape scene done in matte art pottery, any idea of who made these, marked R mark 886 and S and more.

  16. I have a yellow mustard color Vase 6 3/8″ with a dull I think matte finish over it, its dated 1928, it has a raised block pattern, Would you happen to know about the artist of this vase, do you think it was Hentschel? Thanks in advance..

  17. Harriet Wilcox actually worked at Rookwood until 1938 (she was mysteriously absent for a few years during that time). She is my favorite RW artist, but came to a tragic demise. If anyone has any personal information on Hattie, please post.

  18. I have a Rookwood bowl, 9″ wide, 4″ tall, Marked XX / 2168 with Rookwood logo. . . . cant find reference on this , any ideas?

  19. William Saunders says:

    My Rookwood Ewer (657D) is signed with the initials L.N.L.. The flames around the Rookwood trade mark number nine which indicates the piece was produce in 1895. I believe the the artist is Elizabeth Lincoln. Can you confirm that she is the artist on this piece and tell me more about her (period she was with Rookwood; how popular she is with collectors) or in the alternative where I can go to find other information regarding her.

    Thank you WDS

  20. Hank Vanderbeek says:


    For the life of me I cannot find a complete list of Rookwood artists. I am looking for one with a last name that begins with an A and who worked on Rookwood in 1903.


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