Rookwood Pottery Aerial Blue

Produced for just one year, between 1894 and 1895, the Aerial Blue pattern has a beautiful translucent gloss with grayish-blue hues throughout. What’s so surprising about these patterns is often, the blue that comes through isn’t a result of the painting, but rather, the blue found naturally in the clay. Of course, it’s accentuated, but rarely is a pottery piece created with its natural elements as part of the design process. It’s truly a remarkable collection and even more surprising is it was discontinued after just three months. While there aren’t any definitive dates, it’s believed production began in November or December and by January or February of 1895, it had been discontinued.

It’s important to keep in mind that there was a lot going on with Rookwood Pottery during this time. It had already been considering, and indeed experimenting, with the Cameo ware with the goal of creating lighter design colors to pair with those thick, glossy and translucent glazes. In the middle of all this, the facilities – the entire company – relocated to a better area. So, between the ongoing new product development and the physical move, it could have been the Aerial Blue line got lost in the process.

Other factors included the introduction of the Sea Green Iris glaze lines, simultaneously offered with the Aerial Blue. Also, because the Aerial Blue was at least partially inspired by another company’s line, Royal Copenhagen, the two could have been in an informal competition with the competitor’s offering winning customer loyalty. Either way, this simply wasn’t a popular line. Perhaps it was just ahead of its time because it’s one of the most sought after Rookwood Pottery glazes today.

If you’re looking for markings, you should know most of the pieces include those exclusive to Joseph Bailey, the company’s long time ceramics engineer. They’re described as “an impressed number – usually three digits – bracketed by incised crescent moons, found usually on the bottom of these pieces”.

If you’re a Rookwood Pottery fan, this is truly one line that is indicative of what the company was always about: beauty, elegance and attention to detail.

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