Archives for June 2013

Roseville Creamware

Ah – the Roseville Creamware line. This is definitely one of those collections that you’ll spend your life searching for because you’re so drawn to it or it will be one you’ll steer clear of – love it or strongly dislike it.

Roseville Pottery Creamware

Maybe one of the reasons this is, first, one of the more versatile Roseville design lines, but more importantly, not a favorite among some collectors is because of the decals. Some thought they were being shortchanged with this collection, but once you consider the times, it becomes clear as to why the pottery company incorporated these less-expensive decals. Production costs were always in the forefront and consumers were watching their funds closely.

There often wasn’t enough in the budget for decorative pieces and when there were, it had better be an affordable venture, or the consumer of the day would walk right on by. This, coupled with the end of the so-called Arts & Crafts era, proved to be a challenge for the art industry as a whole and certainly those in art pottery.

In the early 1900s, the Roseville Creamware was unveiled, complete with its decals. There were floral patterns, people – sometimes animated, messaging (several fraternal societies used Creamware for coffee mugs, complete with the frat’s branding – and an extensive line called Juvenile.

If you can get past the absence of bold artistic efforts and rich color hues, Creamware really is a lovely collection; unfortunately, anyone who agrees often does so as an afterthought. It’s just not one of those lines that catch your eye. Then there are those that just look misplaced.

There is a rather interesting design – one of those that look out of place. The Creamware chamber pot throws you for a loop. First, it’s heavily decorated on the outside with “Novelty Steins” – mostly kids. But when you lift the lid, many discover this eye painted in the center of the pot. It’s really remarkable as it looks quite real, much the way a 3-D eye would appear in a more modern setting. Some of those pots also have a message: “Wash me out and keep me clean and I won’t tell what I have seen.”

The Juvenile pieces almost always have decals of children in various ages. Some offer up nursery rhymes as well. Even though it was heavily produced for quite some time, it is considered a valuable line and one that’s highly sought after.

 

The Inspiration for Roseville Olympic

The brick reds, glossy black and pale yellows found in the Roseville Olympic line suggests a Greek approach from the artist. It’s a striking line, most of which have those deep glosses that really allow them to stand out. But if indeed believe the early 1900 line is simply a Greek influence, you might want to rethink that.

In fact, John Flaxman, another well known artist of his time, mostly for his Neo-Classical designs, was the true inspiration. Some say the images are absolute efforts of reproductions.  And going even further back before Flaxman, the argument’s been made that Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey – both tragedies – was the foundation of the inspiration.

The pieces themselves are modeled after the Roseville Creamware; the red pigments were applied over the bodies, careful to camouflage any similarity to the Creamware line. From there, decorators were tasked with transferring the reproduced lines to the bodies, and from there, the artists completed the final look.

And here’s another interesting element: Olympic wasn’t the only line that drew its inspiration from Flaxman. Both Della Robbia and Old Ivory have remarkable similarities, even if they’re not as obvious as those in the Olympic line.

Most of the Olympic pieces were marked with “Rozane Pottery” and were the last of these striking Roseville Pottery designs that defined Rozane.

This particular line is also one of the more expensive lines. The color combinations are rich and generous as they drape the various vessels. There’s a lot of detailing in this line, too. Often, you’ll discover intricate pattern décor along the baselines, necks or even right inside the design. It really is a beautiful line to collect.

As mentioned, this line was introduced in the early 1900s and was instantly popular in those early days. Even by today’s standards, this line presents as quite contemporary and is as popular today as it was then.