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.
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Writer's earthenware vases made in the early 20th centuryKnoxville News Sentinel, April 30th
These are brown underglaze slip decorated earthenware vases of a type that was made by some of the biggest names in American Art Pottery — including Rookwood, Weller, Roseville and several others. At Rookwood, where this type of ware was first made, ...Read more
Local hiring events this week include Kraft Heinz, XeroxHamilton Journal News, April 24th
Among the businesses looking to hire employees are Pies & Pints, AC Hotel by Marriott, Gap, Forever 21, Rookwood Pottery Company Store, Soma Intimates and Ashcroft & Oak jewelers. Looking for a job? Every Sunday, we'll report on new job opportunities ...Read more
Historic sale of Judaica at Sotheby's trumps all competitorsArizona Daily Star, April 23rd
A lavishly decorated Esther scroll with an accompanying blessing sheet brought $653,000, and an Arts & Crafts Rookwood pottery vase decorated with the image of an Old World rabbi fetched $1,875. MORE: With goods ranging from Jewish antiquity to the ...Read more
Collections SpotlightPasadena Now, April 13th
The ceramic vase is adorned with flowers and other motifs that are covered with a clear, high-gloss, iris glaze. This Art Nouveau-style object was created around 1892 by the Rookwood Pottery Company, a Cincinnati-based firm known for the excellent...Read more
The geo-chemistry behind Rookwood potteryBoing Boing, February 23rd
When most of us gaze upon an eight-place setting of fine porcelain china or a curvaceous ceramic vase, we see exactly that, but when Jim Robinson of Rookwood Pottery looks at such objects, he sees rocks, as I learned recently when I interviewed...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 has high hopes for Liberty Center storeWCPO, October 21st
LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio - It's a 23-mile drive from Rookwood Pottery Co.'s Over-the-Rhine headquarters to the Liberty Center development in Butler County. Or is it one small step in a retail strategy that could restore Rookwood as a national brand?...Read more
Rookwood Pottery to open boutique at Liberty CenterWLWT 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