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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Recent News: Rookwood Art Pottery
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Rookwood potteryWashington Observer Reporter, July 26th
Rookwood pottery probably is the most famous of the art potteries made in the United States in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It was started by Maria Longworth Nichols of Cincinnati in 1880, the first of many art potteries founded by women. She saw...Read more
Kovels: Rookwood pottery may be most famousWinston-Salem Journal, July 24th
She saw some French Haviland pottery at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, and after experimenting she was able to make pottery with similar decorations. In 1880, she started the Rookwood pottery where they made white graniteware and yellow clay pieces...Read more
Couple needs help dividing collectibles fairlyBoston Herald, July 19th
Q: During our 30-year marriage, we collected lots of things, such as about 50 pieces of Rookwood pottery, maybe 500 pieces of Cloisonne and 200 Toby jugs made by Royal Doulton and other companies. My wife filed for divorce, and we're having trouble ...Read more
OTR garage down. No big deal, except for artCincinnati.com, July 15th
This is not a quandary of new urbanism it is instead a lack of creativity and consideration by those planning the development. There is a myriad of ways that wall mural could have been incorporated into the planned greenspace or transplanted to another ...Read more
Greater Cincinnati Food Tour- The RookwoodSYS-CON Media (press release), July 14th
Nestled within the former pottery studio of the world-renowned Rookwood Pottery Co., The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant naturally fosters a cozy atmosphere that similar bar/restaurant spots strive to create. The dark wood, exposed original brick kilns (that...Read more
Harriett Hendren: Many new artists at this weekend's Berea Craft FestivalLexington Herald Leader, July 9th
The Rookwood Pottery Co. will host its Second Saturday event 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at 1209 Jackson Street in Cincinnati. Works by art director Allan Nairn will be on display and the artist will be there to sign pieces and answer questions. ? The Summer...Read more
'Pop-up' park coming to CovingtonCincinnati.com, July 3rd
Renaissance Covington is playing the role of project manager for the park, but is partnered with MKSK, City of Covington, Keep Covington Beautiful, Art Off Pike, BLDG, DPMT7, Marx Bagels and Rookwood Pottery. Silveira said she expects most of the...Read more
Two Cincinnati restaurants close their doorsCincinnati Business Courier, June 30th
Wade's focus has shifted to the Rookwood Pottery Co., which he owns, and his real estate holdings in Over-the-Rhine. “Between real estate and Rookwood, I'm stretched out,” Wade said. Wade said he and his wife, Marilyn, came to decision to close both ...Read more