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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Art worth the drive: 20 great museum artifacts in outstate MinnesotaMinneapolis Star Tribune, May 1st
Designed by John Bradstreet, the interior designer and tastemaker who helped found the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the room is filled with Arts and Crafts-era flourishes: pottery tiles from Cincinnati-based Rookwood, stained glass windows by the ...Read more
Wade cuts back hours as head of Rookwood PotteryCincinnati Business Courier, April 29th
Rookwood Pottery is one of the city's most iconic brands, dating back to its 1880 founding by Maria Longworth and status as one of the best American ceramic art companies. “I like the excitement of taking risks and because entrepreneurship enables me...Read more
Rookwood Pottery CEO Wade exits roleCincinnati.com, April 28th
Martin Wade is leaving management of day-to-day operations at the Rookwood Pottery Co. Wade, 65, gathered Rookwood employees Monday to inform them of his exit, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting. He has served as the company's ...Read more
Things to do this weekend: May 1-3Cincinnati.com, April 26th
Trunk shows include: Paintings by local artists, jewelry, Rookwood Pottery. Benefits Cincinnati Art Museum. Free. 513-639-2958; www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org. May 1: It's a Party for Parker, 6:30-8 p.m., Eastside Christian Church, 5874 Montclair Blvd...Read more
Treasure: Rookwood prized among American art potteryThe Detroit News, April 23rd
Among American art pottery, Rookwood is at the top of the list. Founded by Maria Longworth Nichols in Cincinnati in 1880, the pottery found early success and recognition in 1883 at the Exhibition of American Art Industry in Philadelphia and the...Read more
Rookwood, Edie Harper studio team up for new productsCincinnati.com, April 21st
Fans of Edie Harper will soon have a new way to incorporate her art into their lives. Rookwood Pottery Co. and the estate of artist Edie Harper, two Cincinnati art treasures, partnered to produce two of the late artist's silkscreen prints as ceramic...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