Van Briggle Pottery Special Lines

Throughout the history of Van Briggle Pottery, there have been unique lines, known as “special lines” that incorporate all the beauty and attention to detail the art pottery company is known for, but also provides collectors another opportunity to add to their collection a truly unique piece.

Over the years, items such as candlesticks, plaques, plates and even bookends are made in limited numbers. One example are the Siren of the Sea plates. It’s believed Anne Van Briggle created these as part of her final efforts before selling the company. Each piece has a mermaid in various positions, though usually draped over the design. In one, the mermaid sits on the rim of the plate, leaning on one arm. She’s finished in the same color glazes as the plate or bowl.

Women in general seem to be a common theme in these special lines. Between the mid 1930s and mid 1940s, there were a few pieces including Daydreamer, where a woman is wearing a cape and with her head bent, appears to be looking down. Lady of the Lake, finished in a matte blue glaze, is kneeling on her knees looking into a pond or lake with a turtle that appears to be looking in her direction. Yet another bowl includes a woman with calla lillies and there’s even a Native American woman depicted in one of these designs.

They’re truly lovely and are often quite detailed. There are very interesting vases with the openings depicted as bears that appear to be peering into the vase opening. There are a series of American Indian busts, too.

The glazes run the gamut and to suggest there’s a common theme would be inaccurate. Beautiful and dramatic bronzes, the matte blue in the mermaid series, greens, golds – there are many. There are high gloss pieces, plenty of flat or matte pieces and even a few with an iridescent finish.

To be sure, this is quite the varied showcase. Many are kept in a museum, though there are plenty in private collections as well. They’re prized possessions and little wonder so many Van Briggle fans are always on the lookout.

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