Roseville Olympic Pottery Line

The Roseville Olympic art pottery line was introduced in 1906 as one of the final additions to the Roseville Rozane line. Many have said the line in its entirety was inspired by Wedgwood designer John Flaxman. Others point out that the line is reminiscent of Homer’s Iliad and another Greek text, Works and Days. Regardless of where the inspiration came from, there is no denying the deep color combinations, with a rich brownish red serving as the foundation and ivory, black and subtle gold coming together to define the contrasting and adding depth to this well-loved Roseville Pottery favorite.

While this collection is certainly not whimsical or casual as say, Roseville Sunflower or Roseville Vista, it most certainly is dramatic and very detailed. In fact, the Roseville Olympic 11″ vase offers very precise detailing with painstaking perfection. The black handles add a rich contrast while the beveled rim and base are completed with those small details that define remarkable art pottery. The high gloss adds yet one more level of elegance.

The designs were explained by one historian, D.F. Haynes, in the late 1800s and read, in part:

The design is engraved on a copper plate, mineral colors…stand firing are mixed with a specially prepared oil and a print is taken from the plate on a sheet of tissue paper…laid in proper position and rubbed with a flannel until it adheres. Tints are sometimes used by covering the piece with a thin coat of oil, which the color is applied thereafter followed by a fine powder dusting.

There are definitive Greek tell-tale signs, but honestly, at first glance, one who is not familiar with this art pottery line might initially believe it’s more Asian inspired. Only until you notice the detailing do you realize it’s very much Greek oriented. It’s little wonder this remains one of the more popular Roseville Art Pottery lines.

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