The first dinnerware line offered by Gladding-McBean of Southern California was El Patio, designed by Mary K. Grant and marketed under a new Gladding-McBean brand called Franciscan Pottery, before it was changed to Franciscan Ware. Unlike the largely floral Franciscan Ware that would follow, El Patio designs were unadorned, monochromatic, and Art Deco in profile. A new version of El Patio followed in 1935, while Coronado arrived the following year. Though it still lacked a decorated pattern, Coronado’s surface was marked by even, twisted grooves, giving the otherwise plain pieces movement and texture. By 1936, Gladding-McBean was selling four-piece starter sets of El Patio and Coronado to newlyweds.

Franciscan’s first painted dinnerware was Padua, which used the El Patio form for its shape. But the real harbinger of Franciscan’s heyday was a 1940 pattern called Apple, whose twigs were painted along the rims of plates, saucers, and bowls, with its red fruit and green leaves seeming to hang on the insides or outsides of the ware, depending of which was more decorative. This pattern led to Desert Rose in 1941, one of the most popular American dinnerware patterns ever. Like many Franciscan lines, Desert Rose typified a new California style of ceramics, drawing from both Spanish and Western styles.

After taking a hiatus during World War II, Franciscan came back in 1948 with its Fruit and Ivy lines, the later reminiscent of Apple and Desert Rose. And then there was Starburst in 1954, whose simple colors (blue and yellow on cream) and geometric shapes were a homey version of the harder-edged, more severe Mid-Century Modern aesthetic that was sweeping the country. Though Franciscan remained popular through the 1970s, the brand was sold to Wedgwood in 1979.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]

EamesCollector.com

EamesCollector.com

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

Classic Modern

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Most watched eBay auctions    

Franciscan Atomic Starburst Coffee MugRare Franciscan Atomic Starburst 5" Grand Coffee Mug Retro Mid Century ModernFranciscan Atomic Starburst Cereal BowlsFranciscan Atomic Starburst Creamer And SugarFranciscan Earthenware Starburst Lot Of 2 Cereal Fruit Bowls 7"Vintage Franciscan China Spoon Rest Starburst Pattern New Old Stock Unused4-1/8"2 Franciscan 50s Atomic Starburst 7" Ceral Bowls Vintage Mid Century Mary Brown Franciscan Starburst Relish DishFranciscan Starburst 7 Salad BowlsFransiscan Desert Rose Tumblers & Juice Ceramic One Pair Ea. ~rare Vintage Usa 1953 Franciscan Desert Rose 5 1/2" Footed Oatmeal Bowl Gladding Mcbean Set Of 4 3 Franciscan Desert Rose Kitchen Serving Utensils Sheffield England Porcelain Franciscan Desert Rose Glass - Pair Of Handled Coffee MugsFranciscan Desert Rose Glass - Handled Water Pitcher And Salad BowlPair Of Franciscan Del Mar 14oz Mugs Vintage Mid Century 8 Franciscan Desert Rose Cereal BowlsVintage Franciscan Apple 16 Oz. Grand Mug 1953~1958 Gladding Mcbean ~ Excellent Franciscan Hand Decorated Usa Desert Rose Large 19" Oval Handled Meat PlatterVintage Franciscan Desert Rose 8" Square Hors D'oeuvres Plate VgcFranciscan Desert Rose Glass - Set Of 4 Flat TumblersVintage Franciscan Apple Pattern (usa) 3-footed Tureen Franciscan Earthenware Starburst (atomic) Salt/pepper ShakerLot 3 Franciscan Usa Desert Rose Footed Pedestal Sherbet,custard,dessert BowlsFranciscan Desert Rose 14 Oz Set Of 4 Glasses Executive Old FashionFranciscan Ware - Beautiful Rich Colors- Rare Oxblood Vase1948 Franciscan Desert Rose 8 1/2 Inch Soup Salad Bowl Set Of 6Four Modernist Franciscan "trio" Salad/lunceon Dandelion Design Esta James Older Franciscan Usa Desert Rose 3-part Divided Relish Dish Or TrayFranciscan October Pattern Fall Leaves Platter PerfectTwo Franciscan Hacienda Gold Coffee Mugs 4" HighFranciscan Starburst Gravy BoatFranciscan Coronado Coffee Chocolate Pot With 4 Demitasse Cups And SaucersLot 4 Franciscan Usa Hand Decorated Desert Rose Crescent Kidneyshape Bone Dishes4 Each Franciscan Desert Rose Place Mats & Napkins Made In China/nos/b.m.jabaraLarge Vintage Franciscan Apple Coffee Mug CupFranscican Ware " Duet" Covered Vegetable Bowl 1960s2 Vintage Rare Franciscan Coronado Lug Onion Soup Bowls Aqua Turquoise ExcellentFranciscan Desert Rose Set 4 Dinner Plates California 1949-1953Great Franciscan Desert Rose 72 Piece Set! Dishes & Serving1953 Franciscan Desert Rose 19" X 13" Turkey Serving Platter Gladding Mcbean12 Franciscan Apple Napkin Rings In Box Made In England8 Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Rimmed Soup BowlsVintage Franciscan Apple Gladding & Mcbean Divided Serving Dish EarthenwareVintage Franciscan Desert Rose Heart Trinket / Candy Box W Flying F MarkFranciscan Desert Rose Glass - 3 Tall Flat Tumblers - Iced Tea - Tom Collins4 Franciscan Desert Rose Water & Juice Glasses - Clean!!6 Franciscan Blue Yellow Daisy Gladding Mcbean Dinner Plates Very Good3 Franciscan Apple Jumbo Saucers 7".Elegant Franciscan China Huntington Pattern Oval Vegetable Serving Bowl BFour Franciscan Apple 10.5" Dinner Plates Made In UsaFranciscan Desert Rose 4 Small Mugs/coffee Cups, 6 Oz. And Saucers. England! Elegant Franciscan China Huntington Pattern Oval Vegetable Serving Bowl AElegant Franciscan China Huntington Pattern Oval Serving Platter 12 1/2"Two Franciscan Ivy Tea Or Coffee Cups And Saucers EarthenwareLarge Franciscan Desert Rose Cup And SaucerFranciscan Duet Crescent Salad Serving Plate Vintage RetroVintage Franciscan Desert Rose 14" Oval Platter - 1953-19588 Franciscan Desert Rose Dishes - 9 1/2"Franciscan Desert Rose Individual CreamerVtg. 1940-1947 Franciscan Ware- Coronado Swirl- Yellow 6 Cup- Teapot- Good Cond.