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 Grand Mug Tall 1950's Mid-century Modern Coffee CupVintage Franciscan Apple 13-oz Covered Oversized Soup Cups Usa Set Of 7, Vg CondVintage Franciscan Starburst Crescent Side/salad Plates - Set Of Two4 - Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Butter Pats / Tea Bag HolderVintage Franciscan Pottery Trivided Starburst Relish Dish 7" Ca. Usa Ex CondVintage Franciscan Atomic Starburst Mid Century Dinnerware LotVintage Franciscan Pottery Starburst Salt & Pepper Shaker Set Ex ConditionFranciscan Desert Rose Covered Marmalade Jam Or Jelly Jar Excellent ConditionVintage Franciscan Earthenware Starburst Atomic 15 Inch Oval Serving Platter Vintage Franciscan Star Burst Atomic 1950's Set Of Two Salad Plates Estate SaleFranciscan - Desert Rose - Creamer 8 - Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose 8" Salad PlatesFranciscan Desert Rose (made In Usa) Dinner Bell Franciscan Apple Napkin Rings Made In Usa Lot Of 3Vintage Franciscan Starburst Rare Set/3 Juice Tumbler/glasses Sputnik Atomic Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Stick Butter DishMcm Franciscan Mesa Vintage 1950's Ashtray Trinket Candy Dish Atomic Shape ModVintage Franciscan Atomic Star Burst Divided Vegetable Bowl Estate Mid Century Franciscan Desert Rose Gravy Boat W/att.underplateFranciscan Desert Rose Jam Jar Cover - 3 1/4" - Good ConditionSet Of 8 Franciscan Gladding Mcbean Del Mar Dinner PlatesSet Of 8 Franciscan Desert Rose Salad Plates 8"Franciscan Covered Casserole 10" Apple California 1949-1953 Fabulous ConditionVintage Franciscan Desert Rose Pattern - 9 Dessert Bowls 6" Usa Tv4 Vintage Franciscan Small Fruit Pattern Coffee Tea Cups And 4 Saucers5 Franciscan Ware California Coronado Aqua Blue Cereal / Berry Bowls 6"Franciscan Desert Rose Covered Vegetable/casserole DishVintage Franciscan "apple" 4 Cup Teapot And Lid Very Nice! Usa MarkVintage Franciscan Desert Rose 6" PitcherFranciscan Apple Napkin Rings Made In UsaFranciscan Apple Pitcher Made In Usa 64 Oz.Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Covered Vegetable Casserole Dish 10"Franciscan Madeira Purple Footed Goblets~set Of 4~6 3/4 In.Set Of 7 Franciscan Gladding Mcbean Del Mar Bread & Butter PlatesFranciscan Ware Desert Rose Footed Compote Pedestal Cake Plate Usa Numbered2 Franciscan Desert Rose 11 Oz Tapered Mugs UsaFranciscan Desert Rose Baker/ CasseroleVintage Franciscan Coronado Turquoise Swirl Serving PlatterVintage Franciscan Desert Rose AshtraysVintage Franciscan Hacienda Gold Earthenware 10 5/8" Dinner Plates Set Of 3 Vgc5-piece Place Setting Franciscan Renaissance Platinum Dinner Salad Bb Cup Saucer6 Franciscan Desert Rose 6.5" Stemmed Glass Water / Wine Goblets - Excondition4 Franciscan Earthenware Apple Pattern 6" Cereal Oatmeal Fruit Breakfast BowlsVintage Franciscan October Gravy Boat With Attached UnderplateFranciscan Desert Rose~relish Dish In Desert Rose`sku8994 Beautiful Franciscan Desert Rose China 4 1/4" Grand Mug7 Pc Lot Of Franciscan Apple 8" Salad/ Desert PlatesFranciscan Dinnerware Apple Pattern Large Mixing BowlVintage Franciscan Apple Sugar Bowl With Lid Creamer & Butter Dish With LidBeautiful Large Franciscan TeapotFranciscan Dinnerware Apple Pattern Small Mixing BowlFranciscan Apple Made In Usa 2 Fruit Bowls Rim Soup Bowl 11" Oval PlatterGreat Franciscan "apple" Set Of 8 Bread/salad/desert Plates2 Franciscan "apple" Rimmed Soup BowlsFranciscan Gladding Mcbean Del Mar Serving TrayFranciscan Pottery 4 X 8" Aqua Blue Coronado Salad Plates Vintage CaliforniaFranciscan "madeira" Coffee Pot - Vintage-green/brownFranciscan China "woodside" 6 Piece Place Setting - Excellent Condition (#3)Pair Franciscan Desert Rose China 10 5/8” Dinner Plate Usa Brown Tv 1963-714 Franciscan Desert Rose Coasters New In Package