Founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols, Rookwood pottery is a favorite of collectors for the quality of its pieces, which were hand-decorated by a diverse group of artists (though some simpler pieces were mass-produced, especially during the Depression).
Rookwood pieces were sold at the factory showroom and at jewelry and department stores nationwide. Drawing from European and Asian styles, the company was very involved with the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, and its pieces are still prized as some of the best examples of those styles.
In addition to its signature vases, Rookwood also produced architectural tile and smaller items such as bookends, paperweights and figurines. There were between 20 and 25 artists decorating pieces at the Rookwood factory at any given time (some of the most notable included Kataro Shirayamadani, Albert Valentine, Sara Sax, and Jens Jensen).
Rookwood’s artists were innovative and helped change the way art pottery was created and designed. Kataro Shirayamadani covered the entire piece with decoration versus just the front as was previously done, and Laura Fry created the atomizer, allowing artists to evenly apply glazes and use color gradations. In the early 1900s, Rookwood began using matte finishes and vellum glaze, a translucent matte glaze.
Collectors should note that the vast majority of Rookwood pieces are very clearly marked. Very early pieces say “Rookwood,” and later pieces (starting in the mid-1880s) feature the Rookwood logo: a backwards R and P side-by-side. Rookwood closed its factory in the 1960s, but the copyright has been continuously enforced.
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Battle over Hearth Room heats upCincinnati Business Courier, January 27th
He purchased the space, formerly Twist Lounge, from Cincinnati restaurateur Martin Wade, who also owns Rookwood Pottery Co. McClorey said he wanted to open an event space or bar, and his first call was to Molly Wellmann. McClorey maintains that he ...Read more
Maplewood Garden Club Presents 'Flowers in Art'The Village Green, January 27th
“Black Iris” vase, 1909. Decorated by Charles Schmidt for the Rookwood Pottery, Cincinnati, Ohio. Collection of the Newark Museum 14.446. On Monday, February 2, the Maplewood Garden Club will welcome guest speaker Patsy Nance of the Newark ...Read more
Rookwood Pottery owner plans $75 million development in Over-the-RhineCincinnati Business Courier, November 26th
Wade, the owner of Rookwood Pottery Co., plans to develop a large chunk of properties around the historic Grammer's German restaurant at Walnut and East Liberty streets. The three-phase project would include nearly 100 apartments, 40,000 square feet of ...Read more
Rookwood Pottery adds daily tours through holidaysCincinnati.com, November 18th
Recent tours hosted by The Rookwood Pottery Company at its Over-the-Rhine factory have been such a big hit that the company has decided to offer daily tours from Nov. 28 through Dec. 23. Forty Enquirer and Cincinnati.com readers toured the factory Nov...Read more
Rookwood potteryObserver-Reporter, November 15th
Look at the bottom of a vase to identify it. This vase has marks indicating it is a piece of Rookwood pottery made in 1883 by a talented decorator. It auctioned for $5,290 at Humler & Nolan of Cincinnati. Unmarked it would have sold for much less...Read more
Rookwood Pottery prepares for holidays with special open houseWLWT Cincinnati, November 13th
Flash forward two decades and, much like its new home in Over-the-Rhine, Rookwood Pottery is bouncing back. “We go from Texas to L.A., to New York, and we even have a few dealers in Canada and one, I believe, in Alaska,” Swan said. With 73 dealers ...Read more
Artist-decorated Rookwood pottery very popularHeraldNet, November 13th
Rookwood pottery, made in Cincinnati since 1880, is perhaps the most popular American art pottery among collectors. The company not only made artist-decorated vases, molded bookends, art-deco figurines and commercial wares, but it also used marks that ...Read more
Rookwood Pottery open house to feature toursCincinnati.com, November 6th
When the Enquirer offered 20 readers a chance to join us for an exclusive tour of The Rookwood Pottery Company factory earlier this month, more than 100 of you asked to be included. (Graciously, the folks at Rookwood added a second tour.) The...Read more