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Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Ladies Painted China

People who bring to The Antiques Roadshow hand-painted china that their great-grandmothers decorated in the latter part of the 19th or early years of the 20th century are told that the only value is for decoration, and that at one time nearly every middle class and upper class household had a lady who painted china.

It's a lovely part of America's social history.  There was a journal that assisted the ladies with design, encouraged ceramics clubs, and even printed photos of successful outcomes.  Keramic Studio.

My small collection of signed hand-painted china from the Arts and Crafts period of American design has just been unboxed from five years in a storage unit. I'm delighted to have these pieces back on the shelves So here is a photo essay.

One of a set of four bouillon soup bowls - about the size of a teacup., simple and elegant.

I think I've found the pattern for this signed plate (one of six Jay found for me somewhere in Wyoming) in a Keramic Studio for 1908.

My neighbor Mary in Laramie found this signed cereal bowl and pitcher in Kentucky -- my reward for watering her flowers while she was visiting her daughter.

Most of the china blanks came from France and Germany before World War I.  Then Nippon (Japan) during the war. 

The poppy was a favorite design.

Stylized poppy . . .

Or not . . . another gift from Mary for watering her garden. 

My other dear friend in Laramie, Sue, gave me this hand-painted plate in the Art Nouveau style.

The dragonfly was another popular subject. I think this is a serving dish for bon bons.

 A large charger intended to be hung on a wall. The peacock feather was also popular -

With many stylizations to choose from.

This pattern was submitted to Keramic Studio and won first prize in design.

And this pattern is similar.

A rather large bread tray with gold chrysanthemums. Gold outlining and design was popular during this period.

A candy dish.

A pin tray more of the 1920s Art Deco period.

As is this squash blossom design, signed and dated 1923.  A touch of the southwest. And the decorator has a Hispanic last name.

A set of 6 of this sherbet dishe came from Austria and almost seem more Vienna Secession than American Arts and Crafts.

A trivet for hot teapots.

A candlestick.

A simple design of a cup and saucer from a set I'm sure the decorator really intended to use.

And waterlilies were popular, too. 


  1. Beautiful! I absolutely love them. I have a couple of old ceramic pieces like these, and your post explains them to me. Your collection is lovely and far from small.

  2. Such a beautiful collection, and a reminder of quieter days. Are you going to display them in your new room?