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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Rookwood vase recalls famous stolen potsCincinnati.com, October 14th
Riley Humler, left, Humler & Nolan manager , and Cincinnati Police Detective James Wigginton examine a Rookwood Pottery vase at the Humler & Nolan auction house Thursday. It resembles a similar piece that was among items stolen in 1988. (Photo: The ...Read more
Event: PetcassoCincinnati CityBeat, October 14th
Even after they leave their artwork all over our floors and windows with their muddy paws and smudgy nose prints, we still want to do anything for our pets, but not everyone can afford regular veterinary care. That's where the nonprofit Pets in Need of...Read more
21c Cincinnati honored for its one-of-a-kind ... bathrooms?WCPO, October 9th
“It commissioned Rookwood Pottery, the city's heritage ceramic producer whose roots date back to 1880, to manufacture Berke's whimsical bathroom tiles that mimic ears, lips, breasts and other body parts. The result is an elegantly simple bathroom with...Read more
Rookwood XXIV, Keramics 2014, Art Glass 2014Maine Antique Digest, October 9th
The Rookwood XXIV session continued as the part of the market where Humler & Nolan excels, not only in the pottery offered, but also in the information presented. For example, a 5¼" high vase with Sung Plum glaze decorated by John Dee Wareham in ...Read more
Cincinnati hotel gets national kudos ... for its bathroomsCincinnati Business Courier (blog), October 8th
The review credits 21c for its combination of contemporary art and boutique accommodations before describing the commissioning of Rookwood Pottery and design of architect Deborah Berke to create its bathroom tiles. “Berke's whimsical bathroom tiles ...Read more
10 of the world's splashiest hotel bathroomsCNN, October 6th
Its 156-room Cincinnati property married designs by starchitect Deborah Berke with local craftsmanship: It commissioned Rookwood Pottery, the city's heritage ceramic producer whose roots date back to 1880, to manufacture Berke's whimsical bathroom...Read more
Braxton Brewing surpasses goal, sets Kickstarter recordCincinnati.com, October 3rd
They also will have the first chance to purchase seasonal products, get VIP access to events and be eligible to buy Builders-only merchandise. Other rewards, which vary by pledge level, range from T-shirts to a commemorative Rookwood stein to “brewer...Read more
Preview the Nippert auction itemsCincinnati.com, September 26th
The Nipperts' art collection contained works by famed Cincinnati-connected artists Dixie Selden and E.T. Hurley, Carl Schmidt and Paul Ashbrook, pieces of Rookwood pottery and a rare blue Lalique perruches, or parakeets, vase which Mallatte dates "to ...Read more