Roseville Art Pottery Wall Pockets

There is something so striking about a collection of American art pottery wall pockets. Take it a step further and make it a collection of Roseville Pottery wall pockets, and you have a beautiful – and rare – collection. Many of us don’t have a six, eight or more Roseville wall pockets, but there’s no doubt these treasures are not likely to leave the family. If you’re like me, these get written into the will!

What makes Roseville Pottery wall pockets so different has a lot to do with the versatility of these creations. The glaze lines, shapes, textures and a host of other creative efforts come together to form the perfect wall decor. The fact that many of the lines with Roseville Pottery include a wall pocket sweetens the deal even more.

Roseville Snowberry

One of the really popular lines, Roseville Pottery Snowberry, has its own wall pocket. It incorporates interesting straight lines and even has small handles. The beveled florals along with the way the browns, pinks and greens play off each other, makes this a definite must-have if you ever come across one. The good news is it’s a fairly affordable piece. These beauties measure 5 1/4″ in height and are 8″ wide.

Roseville Poppy Gray

Another favorite, at least of this writer, is the Roseville Pottery Poppy Gray wall pocket. I love this one because of the way the artists extend it with two miniature pockets on either side. Another eye-catching inclusion is the lovely pale yellow and light blue-gray glaze combination. It’s the perfect frame for the white poppy pair that defines this wall vase.

Roseville Freesia Green

For those who appreciate the more dramatic side of Roseville Pottery, the Freesia Green is definitely worth a bit of time searching out. The soft black allows the matte green glaze to jump out, even as what appears to be very light pink dandelions are gracing center stage. It too offers dual handles and is sure to the centerpiece of any Roseville Pottery wall pocket collection. The design has a wide opening at the top and flows downward to a soft point at its base.

These are just a few of the wall pockets that are part of the Roseville name. If you have a collection, we’d love to see your photos. We’re always inspired by other Roseville Pottery fans.

Share

Roseville Pottery Orian

The middle period line that’s all about vivid colors and a rich gloss glaze is Roseville’s Orian; curiously, it’s also one that’s often overlooked. Considered art deco, this contemporary collection offers those vibrant colors this time period is known for and certainly presents the willingness to take a risk that Roseville Pottery was known to do.

In the mid-1930s, during the height of its popularity, it was referred to as a “solid color line that is a real achievement in ceramic art…inspired directly or indirectly by the Chinese vases of the Ming period”. It was also noted for the unique contours and glaze combinations. It’s interesting, too, that while trying to grasp the right adjectives for this post, I ran across an apt description related to the designs: “shapes are lovely but in no way extreme”. That’s true, too – they’re unique and and certainly creative, but we’re not talking on the level, of say, the aggressive designs George Ohr was known for. The result is a fun presentation of narrow handles, wider vases and pedestal bases – lots of pedestal bases.

It’s believed there were sixteen shapes with this Roseville pattern – and they’re all beautiful choices. If you run across them, and if you’re an art deco fan, odds are, it’s going to be difficult to pass up. There are several vases in a wide range of heights, widths and glaze colors, along with bowls, candlesticks, wall pockets and even a lovely rose bowl.

You’ll recognize the Roseville Orian. Look for the glossy finish, smart color combinations (one favorite is the yellow and green that really makes the vases stand out). Also, those narrow and usually low resting dual handles are generally a giveaway along with the classic “pedestal base”. While there are several tan pieces, they’re not likely to sell for as much as their more colorful counterparts. Also, note that in the bowls, the interior of the actual bowl is usually white, which is a nice contrast with the reds, greens and yellows on the outside of the pieces.

Share

Roseville Pottery Florals: Roseville Sunflower, Water Lily

There are countless patterns, glazes, shapes and color combinations that define the Roseville Pottery as a whole. One of those themes is the creativity and elegance found in those lines of florals. Some are definitive, such as the Roseville Sunflower or Apple Blossom collections and others are a little less obvious, such as those sometimes found in Roseville Crystal Green, which, incidentally, remains difficult to find.

We thought we’d explore two of the more recognized Roseville Pottery lines: the Roseville Water Lily and Roseville Sunflower. There are a few similar features, but for the most part, each is quite distinctive in its own way. For instance, the Roseville Sunflower patter is considered middle period collection, as it was introduced 1930. The Water Lily pattern was unveiled in 1943.

Roseville Sunflower

Easily distinguished by the golds in the sunflowers and often with a green foundation, the Roseville Sunflower pattern is really quite sought after – from the time it was introduced until modern day, it’s often which serves as a striking complement to those vivid oranges and gold in the raised sunflowers.

It enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 1990s, and as a result, its value increased, too. If you’re looking for markings, because paper labels were sometimes used, it might be you come across a Roseville bowl or vase with no marking. There were some that had hand written shape numbers, which can help with identification. Many of the pieces had dual handles, which certainly adds to the overall presentation. A few of the examples of Sunflower pottery include umbrella stands, wall pockets, and of course, bowls and vases.

Roseville Water Lily

As mentioned, Water Lily is one of the newer lines and was introduced in 1943. Its standard colors are brown, blue, and pink, which blend in a beautiful manner. Like Roseville Sunflower, the Water Lilly also has several vases with two handles. Part of the draw to this particular pattern are the unique textures. The florals are raised and the smooth matte finish works to really accentuate the design elements. This Roseville Pottery pattern includes vases, bowls, bookends, ewers, jardinières and others.

Share

Avoid Buying Fake Roseville Pottery

One major reason people avoid collecting American art pottery is because they fear not being able to differentiate between fakes and true Roseville Pottery.

The truth is, some of the fake Roseville pieces have a sense of authenticity that makes it difficult to tell apart from true Roseville Pottery. Aside from getting your collection appraised (which we always strongly encourage), you may never know for sure. Then again, there are those who see the beauty and would still purchase it, even if it were a fake, so that

Collection of Roseville Baneda

they could display it in their home. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, except you probably paid Roseville Pottery prices for fake Roseville pieces.

For those who find it difficult to tell apart, there are a few tell-tale signs that might clue you in. Keep in mind – this is all very subjective in that what one’s idea of a “dull glaze” might be different than another’s – again, this only reiterates the importance of a professional appraisal.

Take a look at the glaze on your piece; fakes lack a certain depth and without a “clear” look; it can even look dull and flat. Also, the glaze shouldn’t hinder the nuances of clay underneath it.

Take a look at the handles (if applicable). Fake pieces usually have bigger handles in terms of their dimensions. Again, this is subjective, but for those familiar with this line of art pottery, the differences are obvious.

How about the detailing? Authentic Roseville Pottery offers a lot of detail – the vines, florals, etc. The Roseville artists always took pride in their detailing efforts.

There were many Roseville marks through the years; so many that sometimes even collectors question a Roseville marking. There are those with Roseville U.S.A. or wafer marks or ink stamps – the marking often dates your Roseville piece; however, fraudsters will do their best to replicate the markings in order to fool buyers.

So what should you do to keep from being taken? We always tell customers to study their Roseville pieces they know are authentic. Usually, once you know what truly is real, the fakes become easier to identify. It’s also a great way to learn more about the history of this dynamic line of American art pottery.

If you’re looking to have your Roseville Pottery collection (or any other collection) appraised, give us a call. All of our appraisals are done in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPA). Greg Myroth is a member of the Association of Online Appraisers and abides by the AOA Code of Ethics. For more information, visit our Just Art Pottery appraisal page.

Share

Roseville Della Robbia: Unlike Anything Else

The Roseville Pottery Della Robbia line was described as “unlike anything else” in the 1906 Roseville catalog. The textures and sgrafitto decorative inclusions define this beautiful line.

The Roseville Della Robbia really stood out the moment it was introduced around the turn of the century. The textures, courtesy of hand incised designs placed on the shapes, which had been slip cast at least two times, set it apart from all other Roseville offerings. Frederick Hurten Rhead described the process involved with this very detailed group:

I had produced some interesting sgrafitto process decorations…the problem involved casting in two colored slips with an incised and carved design…it demanded extreme care and neatness… and the ware had to be handled very tenderly.

Rhead’s biggest problem was ensuring his beloved Della Robbia line wouldn’t be too expensive to mass produce, especially considering the Roseville Pottery decorators “were highly paid as wages go in the art potteries”. Before long, Rhead figured out a way to outsource the work – and this was long before “outsourcing” became a modern catchphrase. Instead of the high wages to the decorators, he instead brought in high school girls who showed promise in their art classes. After extensive training, Rhead was confident these young girls had mastered the process. “I had a working force of ten girls…at the end of two months could execute any of the illustrated pieces”.

Of course, what we’re left with is the beautiful hand decorated Roseville Della Robbia, complete with its textures and dimensions – all because one artist’s determination to bring it to the public. One final note regarding the art pottery line’s history: many of the high school girls who worked on these pieces were hired immediately following their high school graduation.

Share

Mid-Century Trends in Art Pottery

Those colorful and funky designs found in what’s referred to as “mid century” art pottery is often what many of us refer to as vintage; it’s definitely trendy, but finding a single adjective or definition is where the challenge begins.

Vintage. Mod. “1960s style”. Art Nouveau. Art Deco.– these are all used to describe the colorful movement in art pottery and general home décor during the 1950s and into the 1960s. But what defines this very specific line of American art pottery? And how do you differentiate between the real thing and those “dime a dozen” pieces that were so common during this time period? Here’s a bit of info that can help you when you’re ready to explore what this particular line offers.

There are no shortage of names, styles or even materials that are identified with this time period. A personal favorite is Blisscraft of Hollywood. That, of course, isn’t ceramic pottery, but it is indicative of the trends of the day – and you can’t mention these trends without there being an acknowledgment of the parts that define the sum.

Roseville Pottery, which comes as a surprise to many, is often included in that sum. Many of the Roseville vases that were made in the early 1900s are easily found in today’s literature on mid-century pottery. It makes sense. Roseville Pottery is so versatile that it works with, well, anything – from ultra contemporary design efforts to those art nouveau pieces to the designs that came from the same time period the pottery was made. Think about, say, the Roseville Sunflower line. It’s colorful, timeless and frankly, works with any art déco piece you can imagine. The point is to not discount this particular line – it serves its purpose in every era.

Finally, another important element in this distinctive art pottery is the color and specifically, the color combinations. Think vibrant oranges, rich greens, vivid pinks and reds – they all come together on a whim, which is the only way when you’re combining artistic effort and color.

With more of us turning once again to mid-century art pottery and everything that it implies, you can expect to see a surge in prices, too. Still, it’s a great way to add to a collection and frankly, it’s ideal for those who’ve just discovered American art pottery and are looking for a starting place.

Share

Roseville Pottery Della Robbia

Roseville Pottery, to many, is known by its more popular lines, such as Roseville Pine Cone or even the beautiful Roseville Zephyr Lily. There were many lines this pottery company released, including the lesser-known, though stunning, Roseville Della Robbia.

Della Robbia is perhaps one of the most striking lines of Roseville Pottery. It’s an early line, released in 1906 and is often known as Rozane Della Robbia. It’s interesting that there are a few very unique and specific lines that are associated with Roseville, but the truth is, this pottery company had more than 110 lines, and some of the more beautiful collections are too often overlooked. One of those collections is, of course, Roseville Pottery Della Robbia.

Textures, Glazes and Colors

Perhaps it’s the expense associated with owning any of these pieces. They began as Rozane Royal or sometimes even Roseville Cremo shapes, only to be laid aside and picked back up again with a new focus. That new focus includes wonderful textures and distinctive glazes and color combinations. More importantly, each piece was carved, detailed and colored by hand. Once you see the detailing, you begin to understand the love that surely went into each vase, ewer or fern dish.

Other Decorative Elements

It’s really quite a versatile line, too. Unlike other lines, such as the Roseville Sunflower line that has a very specific color combination and decorative elements, the Della Robbia offers up different color combinations and patterns. One Della Robbia may include abstracts and scallops while another piece has a more feminine floral design. There’s one particular vase that has clear Japanese influences. This is only part of what makes this such a special collection.

Della Robbia Shape Numbers

There were 23 shape numbers associated with The Roseville Della Robbia and you’re as apt to discover a vase with carved penguins and trees as you are hand carved and very detailed flower petals. It’s truly one of the more sophisticated lines and frankly, that attention to detail that defines Roseville Pottery was never more evident.

Share

Roseville Pottery: Center Pieces

One of the most enjoyable aspects of owning American art pottery is the ability to define an entire room around a single collection. This week, we take a look at a few of the Roseville Pottery center pieces.

Roseville Pottery is one of the most collected art pottery names in the world. The many patterns and shapes make it a wonderful choice for so many. While some folks like the idea of treating their pottery collections as investments only, there are many of us who can’t imagine not having our collections front and center. One way of doing that is by creating showcases.

Roseville Pottery Pine Cone

There were several Roseville Pottery center pieces made, including a beautiful and vibrant blue centerpiece that commands attention from the Roseville Pottery Pine Cone collection. It’s a grand presentation without being overwhelmed and part of what defines it is the way the colors play off one another. The pine cone in the center of the design pulls together the blue base with the auburn hued interior glaze. You can be sure those who are fortunate enough to own these centerpieces use them at the most special family gatherings. In fact, some hostesses coordinate their entire table around this blue beauty. With blue dinnerware and brown linens, it really is a great way to present an elegant meal.

Roseville Pottery Dawn

Another favorite in the Roseville family is found in the Roseville Pottery Dawn collection. There is a soft pink centerpiece that’s round in shape with a square base and two candleholders on either side. It’s accented with lighter blues and a splash of pale yellow serving as the flower’s center. Think afternoon tea with the ladies and you’ll have an idea of just how lovely and stated this centerpiece is. It was also made with a yellow glaze, too.

Roseville Pottery Crystalis

Feeling especially creative? Why not take a few of your favorite Roseville Pottery pieces and combine them to define your own eclectic look? For a more contemporary look, take a few of your Roseville Pottery Crystalis vases and group them together. What makes this so interesting is the different muted shades, textures and varying heights of the vases in this particular collection. Even the glazes can add a certain contrast that will play a pivotal role in the final outcome. The point is to make it your own. From there, the rest of your table’s presentation should fall into place, whether you choose matching linens and plates or you choose to let your imagination rule the direction. The holidays are coming up – you just might be surprised to learn you already have this year’s center piece for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Share

The Versatile Teco Pottery Collection

Most of us, when we hear “McCoy Pottery” or “Roseville Pottery”, we instantly equate it with those familiar adjectives that suggests McCoy is more “kitschy” or maybe that Roseville Pottery is more “elegant” or even “varied” since there are so many Roseville lines. It’s Teco Pottery, however, that’s best described as versatile, though wonderfully predictable, while “matte” and “green” come to mind, as well. Those matte finishes, the simple though remarkable colors and glazes come together to present those eclectic designs in a masterful way.

Founded in 1881 by William Gates and originally named Terra Cotta Tile Works, the primary focus then was on functionality versus artistry. Two decades later, the more artistic side of the company was allowed to emerge. In fact, Teco Pottery included more than 500 art pottery designs by the time the company ceased operations, which interestingly, is not memorialized anywhere. It’s not at all clear as to the official closing date, which adds a mysterious element to the mix.

The more architectural feel of the various pieces exist for a reason: many architects are credited with the inspiration and design of the art pottery lines. Better know as the “Prairie School” style, which incorporated more natural elements, or what we might call “eco-friendly” in today’s culture, it’s what best defines the art pottery as a whole.

Like many companies in business during this timeframe, Teco Pottery took several hits courtesy of the stock market crash and ultimate Great Depression. It’s believed an attorney took over the company at some point during this time. Again, like other companies often do, Teco Pottery was eventually absorbed by other larger companies to the degree that art pottery was no longer even a smaller production effort. It’s a shame too, simply because of the unique forms that define the Teco Pottery brand. Fortunately, there are many pieces in circulation and collecting them isn’t as difficult as other American art pottery lines. Of course, we have an inventory of Teco Pottery and we invite you to take a look at some of these amazing design efforts. If you’re not already a Teco fan, odds are, you will be.

Share

The Historical Lessons in American Art Pottery

When you stop to think about how long many of our favorite American art pottery lines were in production, it becomes clear there were many historical events that these pottery companies witnessed and adapted to. In looking through a book on Roseville Pottery recently, I found some of the old advertisements and before long, I found myself lost in the time periods and various world changing events many of these ads referred to.

Understanding these dynamics allows us to bring our appreciation for beautiful collections to an entirely new level. Even the various fonts that were used are indicative of an ever-changing world. For instance, in a photocopy of the Roseville Pottery letterhead, the date looks like this:

May Fourth

1 9 4 0

Of course, in our “go, go, go” world, we’re lucky if we even remember to date a letter, much less carefully spell it out and center it.

Ad campaigns can cost millions in today’s world and they were just as important in the late 1930s and 1940s as they are today. One full size color ad reveals the three Roseville Bushberry colors. The attention paid to detail in arranging the art pottery, along with the carefully selected blue-green and rich ivory backgrounds is nothing short of stunning. The shorter of the two vases in the ad is perfectly placed on a block that will provide a bit of height while the larger vase has lovely small white flowers to frame it. A smaller Bushberry basket fills the mirroring page on its own.

Photo: Alfred University

Another fun advertisement states that Roseville Pottery offers “distinctive designs in modern art pottery”. Today, I think the word we would use is “timeless”.

In a more serious advertisement in 1943, the American economy was taking a hit due to World War II. Fuel, sugar and even pork rations were in place. A drawing of a man wearing a sombrero and sandals is shown with the words, “Pedro seldom worries about production problems”. It then goes on to say:

We know you’ll excuse us if we seem to envy imperturbable Pedro just a bit. For where he gives not a fig for such things as seller’s market and depleted inventories, we’ve worried ourselves gray figuring how to give our customers the Roseville pottery they want and need.

Indeed, one need only look at the advertisements of any given period to understand social problems and even global problems such as war.

As we know, Roseville Pottery has stood the test of time, even when “sure things” have come and gone over the years. It’s that distinctive look and feel (the textures of Roseville Pottery are incredible) of quality workmanship and dedication few companies will ever know.

Share