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    

Vintage Atomic Franciscan Starburst 10" Large Pitcher Mid Century Small Chip3 Franciscan (usa) 1950s Starburst Dinner Plates, Atomic Mid-century ModVintage Franciscan Starburst Spoon Rest Teabag Dish Atomic Retro Danish ModernDesert Rose Franciscan Covered Jam Jelly Jar California Usa Gladding McbeanFranciscan Starburst Oval Vegetable Serving Bowl 8-3/8" Retro Atomic ExcellentFranciscan Silver Pine Creamer & Sugar Set W/lid Pinecones Starburst UnusedVintage Set Of Franciscan Desert Rose Cereal Bowls 6"Franciscan Desert Rose 6 8 1/2" Flat Rimmed Soup BowlFranciscan Dinnerware October Serving BowlVintage 1950's Franciscan Atomic Mid Century Starburst 14 Piece Lot Plates CupsVintage Franciscan 'october' Dinner Plates (4)Eight Franciscan Desert Rose Ice Tea Water Glasses No ReserveFranciscan Desert Rose Thimble Marked -- From Franklin MintPretty Vintage Franciscan Apple Soup Bowls 8/5" Set Of 5Franciscan Desert Rose 5 - 8 1/2" Flat Rimmed Soup BowlsFranciscan Apple Dinner Ware Vintage Milk Pitcher6.5" Tall Franciscan Silver Pine Turquoise Pinecones Starburst Serving Platter UnusedPretty Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Plates 9.5" Set Of 6Franciscan Desert Rose Butter Dish PotteryDesert Rose Butter Pat Bright Pink Never UsedFranciscan Oasis 1950s Divided Dish Relish Tray Or Childs Plate Eclipse ShapeFranciscan Vintage Apple Dinner Ware Covered Vegetable Bowl Rare Gladding Mcbean Atomic 1950's Promotional Salesman Distributor Modern RetroFranciscan October Gravy Pitcher & Underplate Boat Fall Oak Leaves Sauce PitcherVintage Franciscan Desert Rose Spoon Rest Made In England ExcellentPretty Vintage Franciscan Apple 14" Oval Serving Platter 4 Xnice Vintage Atomic Franciscan Starburst 8" Salad Plates Mid CenturyVintage Mid Century Modern Franciscan Starburst Gravy BoatPretty Vintage Franciscan Apple Dinner Plates Set Of 5, 10.5"Franciscan Ware Desert Rose Vintage Candlestick Holders Early MarksFranciscan Silver Pine Oval Vegetable Bowl UnusedFranciscan Apple Usa Butter Dish Tv Mark6 Vtg Franciscan Desert Rose Hot Chocolate Coffee Tea Cocoa Cups Small MugsVintage 1950's Franciscan Atomic "starburst" Cup & Saucer Franciscan Apple - Serving Bowl - Mint5 Franciscan Desert Rose Wine Goblets 10 Ounce Hand Painted Usa Vintage GlassesVintage Das Thermos - Franciscan Desert Rose PatternVintage Franciscan Desert Rose (2) 8" Serving/salad Bowls & (5) 6" Cereal BowlsSet Of 8 Vintage Franciscan Dinner Plates, Apple PatternFranciscan China Desert Rose 14" Round Chop Serving Plate- Usa- Ec6 Pc Set Of Salad / Dessert Plates Vintage Franciscan Dinnerware: Indian Summer Vintage Franciscan Denmark Blue England Covered Sugar Bowl White Ironstone MintFranciscan Desert Rose 4 Pcs Candle Holders Salt Pepper Shakers California 50'sVintage Franciscan Ceramic "desert Rose" Made Usa, Relish Dish & Div. Veg BowlFive Franciscan Desert Rose Berry/sauce Bowls - Johnson Bros EnglandFranciscan Gourmet Steak Plate (b642)Franciscan Desert Rose Milk PitcherLot 3 Franciscan Earthenware Hacienda Green Fruit/dessert (sauce) Bowls, 5 1/4"Excellent Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Butter DishFranciscan Desert Rose 12" Serving Platter Tray Plate Usa Hand Decorated 6 Franciscan Desert Rose 5 1/2" Cereal Bowls In Excellent Condition3 Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose 9 3/8" Luncheon PlatesVintage California Franciscan Desert Rose 10-1/2" Long Serving DishFranciscan Desert Rose Round Vegetable Bowl 9"Set Of 4 Franciscan Desert Rose Rim Soup Bowls English StampSet Of 2 Franciscan Desert Rose Rim Soup Bowls English Stamp4-vintage Franciscan Stoneware Atomic Starburst Dinner Plates 10 3/4" Beautiful!4-vintage Franciscan Stoneware Atomic Starburst Dinner Plates 10 3/4" Beautiful!7 Vintage Mid Century Franciscan China Dinnerware Soup Plates Apple ( J 72 )2 Franciscan Pottery Apple Shape 8 1/2" Accent Salad Plate New Unused W Tag