We receive a lot of emails asking for information on American art pottery. Rather than just responding to collector’s emails I am going to try answer more of these questions in blog posts.
This morning a new Rookwood pottery collector emailed asking for an explanation of the various marks on the bottom of his vase. The following summarizes the basic marks seen on Rookwood Pottery.
The most recognized logo in Rookwood history is the backwards R and P. This logo was used on virtually every piece of Rookwood produced from 1886 until the end of production in 1967. Between 1886 and 1900 one additional flame was impressed around the logo for each year; such that in 1900 fourteen flames surrounded the Rookwood trademark. For example the photo to the right shows the Rookwood trademark with 8 flames indicating this vase was produced in 1894. Beginning in 1901, the company stopped adding flames to the logo and started using roman numerals below the fourteen flame trademark to date the pottery. The use of Roman numerals to date Rookwood continued until the end of production in 1967.
In addition to the Rookwood flame trademark, the company marked its pottery with a corresponding shape number. Rookwood can be found with shape numbers running from 1 to 7301 impressed on the bottom of the pottery. Each shape design could be produced in multiple sizes. Rookwood sizes were defined with the letters A, B, C, D, E and F with A representing the largest size in a particular shape and F the smallest. Rookwood size letters were impressed and typically found right after the shape number. An example of the shape number and size notation can be seen in the photo of the bottom of the 1906 Rookwood vase to the right.
Decorated Rookwood pottery will have similar markings with the addition of the artist’s initials or cipher and often glaze notations such as V for vellum glazes, W for iris glazes, SG for sea green, etc.