Founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols, Rookwood pottery is a favorite of art pottery 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 in Cincinnati, Ohio, 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 entire pieces with decoration versus just the front as was previously done, while Laura Fry created the atomizer, allowing artists to evenly apply glazes and use color gradations. In the early 1900s, Rookwood artists began using matte finishes and vellum glaze, a translucent matte glaze.

Collectors should note that the vast majority of Rookwood pieces are clearly marked. Early pieces say “Rookwood” and later pieces (starting in the mid-1880s) feature the Rookwood logo, which features a backwards R and P side-by-side. Rookwood closed its factory in the 1960s, but the copyright was continuously enforced. Then, in 2004, the company was revived in Cincinnati, where today Rookwood artisans continue to produce everything from vases to mugs to candlesticks.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

Modernism

Modernism

This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

1910 Metal

1910 Metal

A detailed tribute to the lesser-known artistic metalwork craftsmen of the Arts and Crafts movement. In addition t… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Rookwood Pottery Charles Todd Signed 11" Arts & Crafts VaseRookwood Pottery Art Deco Style Footed Bowl / Vase #2162 - Ca 1917Vintage Arts & Crafts Rookwood Pottery Vase #211 Brown Vase Xix Antique Rookwood Art Pottery Vase Design 2122 Rose Hips Art Deco Dated 1919 Tan9" Standard Glaze Rookwood Vase, Dated 1893,#639-c Artist Cypher, Poss.tooheyRookwood Three-handled Vase, Mold 2428, 1921Vintage Ca 1949 Rookwood Pottery Ashtray Woodburn Advertisement Ohio Walt Schott1919 Rookwood Pottery #2165 Heart & Vine BowlVintage 1918 Rookwood Creamer W/ Matte Glaze!! Nr!!Rookwood Art Pottery Standard Glaze Acorn Shell Nut Dish 1897 279y ValentienRookwood Chamberstick Candle Stick Holder 1906Vintage Rookwood Art Pottery #2135 Art Deco Greek Key Vase Excellent1927 Rookwood Vase Greek Key DesignRookwood Golden Ladybug Pottery Paperweight 1986Vintage Arts And Crafts Rookwood Pottery Vase #2109 Red Vase Xxii C.1922 Rookwood Pottery Production Blue 2282 1921 MintyBeautiful Rookwood Pottery Yellow Bird Trivet 1929: William Mcdonald Very Nice!!Rookwood Art Pottery Standard Glaze Acorn Shell Nut Dish 1889 Model 279y Rookwood Brown Floral Matte Glazed Pottery Cream Jug & Similar Underplate SaucerRookwood Pottery Sitting Monkey Bookend Pair Silver Gray 1986 NiceRookwood Pottery Sitting Monkey Paperweight 1986 Golden GlazeRookwood Pottery Sitting Monkey Paperweight 1986 Brown GlazeVintage Arts And Crafts Rookwood Pottery Vase #2123 Brown Vase Xxii C.1922 Rookwood Pottery Sitting Monkey Paperweight 1986 Grey Marbled Glaze Rookwood Pottery Limited Edition 24 Karat Gold Finish Elephant Figurine

Recent News: Rookwood Art Pottery

Source: Google News

Inspired Interiors: Arts and Crafts take center stage in 2016
Indianapolis Star, February 5th

The new collection includes calla lily vases and pine cone trays right out of the turn of the 20th century, the glory years of Rookwood Pottery of Cincinnati. Rookwood tiles can be seen surrounding many Indianapolis fireplaces, in Grand Central Station...Read more

Historic Reiss murals get fresh update
Cincinnati.com, February 5th

The Winold Reiss industrial murals are monuments to making. Each of the 23 mosaics is a testament to man and machine in Cincinnati. The quiet dignity of both work and the worker celebrated in thousands of brightly colored tiles. But these are not ...Read more

Hand-painted porcelain holds its value
Winston-Salem Journal, February 5th

Shirayamadani (1865-1948) was a Japanese artist at Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati. Rudolph T. Lux (1815-1868) decorated white porcelain with portraits ordered by important politicians and businessmen in New Orleans, and William Powell (working 1900 ...Read more

2 Cincinnati restaurants among most romantic in nation
WXIX, February 2nd

"Dine in a breathtaking 1930s French Art Deco setting with two-story Romanesque murals, Brazilian rosewood, German silver-nickel sconces & an original Rookwood pottery fountain," the website's listing states. "Orchids features modern American cuisine ...Read more

The seeds of an art collection
Salina.com, January 31st

As the art collection grew, shelves were built near the bins to hold rare books and pieces of Rookwood pottery. It was an indulgence proprietor James Smalley allowed his son Carl, who gave up college to work in the family business but refused to...Read more

Names From History: Kitaro Shirayamadani brought Japanese artistry to ...
WCPO, October 27th

CINCINNATI -- Most Cincinnatians had never seen anyone like 22-year-old Kitaro Shirayamadani when he arrived here in 1887 to throw and decorate pots for Maria Longworth Nichols' Rookwood Pottery. For one, he was Japanese, by several accounts the ...Read more

Rookwood Pottery to open boutique at Liberty Center
WLWT Cincinnati, October 12th

Like the Rookwood Pottery Co. store in downtown Cincinnati, the front of the store will carry art pottery. The back of the store will include a space for architectural installation displays and consultations, the company said. Rookwood's first retail...Read more

Rookwood Pottery CEO Wade exits role
Cincinnati.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