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    

1950's Franciscan Atomic Starburst Side Salad Plate,Vintage Franciscan Atomic Starburst Grand Tall Mug Mid- Century Gladding-mcbean8 Franciscan Desert Rose Salad Bone Side Plates Crescent Gladding Mcbean Usa Franciscan Starburst 10"/10 3/4" Plates (4)Franciscan China Starburst 8 1/4" Oval Vegetable Bowl Atomic Mid Century ModernFranciscan Desert Rose Soup Tureen With LidVintage Franciscan California Usa Apple Slotted Lid Soup Tureen W/ Leaf HandlesFranciscan Starburst Juice GlassVintage Franciscan Starburst Cup & Saucer 4 Sets 1950s Atomic Mid Century ModernVintage 4 1/2" Franciscan California Usa China Apple Slotted Lid Condiment JarVintage Franciscan China Desert Rose Large Water Pitcher 9" Vgc 1970s?Vintage 4 1/4" My First Piece Franciscan Usa Apple 10 Oz Irish Coffee Mug CupFranciscan Desert Rose 64 Ounce Pitcher Hand Decorated Made In California 8 Denmark Furnivals Ltd Salad Plates England 8" White Blue Flower 83 FranciscanFranciscan Ivy Coffee Mug Set Of 4 MugsFranciscan Starburst Egg CupFranciscan Desert Rose Set Of 12 Chocolate Mugs Vintage Franciscan Apple 11 " Grill Plate Oven-safe -excellent4 Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose 5 1/4” 10oz Tumblers Porcelain Water GlassesFranciscan China Starburst Atomic 6 Dinner Plates 3 B&b Plates And 12 SaucersVintage Franciscan Desert Rose Covered Casserole Or Vegetable Dish With HandlesFranciscan Desert Rose Round Serving Platter, Chop Plate, 14" In DiameterFranciscan "october" 7 1/2" Cereal Bowls Set Of 8 Excellent ConditionVintage 1960's Franciscan "starburst" Cream Pitcher, Earthenware Excellent Cond.Vtg. Franciscan El Patio 4 3/4" Tall Syrup Pitcher Dark Green Vgc!4 Franciscan Masterpiece Renaissance Gold 2 Handled Soup Bowls With Saucers.Franciscan Desert Rose Napkin Ring Set Of 5Vintage Franciscan Desert Rose Creamer And Sugar Bowl With LidFranciscan Starburst 6"/6 1/2" Plates (4)Franciscan Autumn Leaves Tea Coffee Pot With Lid Mid Century Modern, Excellent4 Franciscan Desert Rose Glasses / Tumblers 6 1/4"Beautiful Retro Franciscan Atomic Starburst Butter Dish Bottom Plate Platter1940-47 Franciscan China Usa Desert Rose Rimmed Soup Bowls 8-1/2" - Set Of 614 Piece Set Of Franciscan Desert Rose, Usa Backstamp Franciscan Apple Pig Piggy Bank - Like New !! Franciscan Ivy 10 1/4" Dinner Plates (4)Franciscan Desert Rose Deviled Egg Plate Never Used Wedgwood Group 12 1/2 Inch 6 Vintage Desert Rose Pattern Franciscan Matching 16"x16" Embroidered NapiknsVintage Franciscan Twilight Rose Butter Dish Desert Blue MintFranciscan China California Vase Cup "poppy- Yellow & Purple Flowers" B7Franciscan Apple Dinner Plates (lot Of 5)Franciscan Floral Pattern Earthenware Salad Plates & Cereal Bowls Set Of 6 EachFranciscan Wildflower Luncheon Plate - Great ConditionFranciscan Wildflower Luncheon Plate - Good ConditionFranciscan Wildflower Luncheon Plate - Good Condition2 Vintage Franciscan Indian Summer Crescent Salad PlatesFranciscan China "woodside" Demitasse Cups & Saucers - Excellent ConditionFranciscan Desert Rose Thimble Usa HandpaintedFranciscan Desert Rose Coffee Pot Black Arched Backstamp California 1940's-50'sSix Piece Lot Early Franciscan Apple - 8 1/4" Bowls, Divided Dish, Gravy, SugarVintage Franciscan Starburst Gravy Bowl Boat Gladding McbeanVintage Franciscan Starburst Atomic Salt And Pepper ShakersVintage 68 Pc Franciscan Desert Rose Service Usa China Dishes DinnerwareFranciscan Masterpiece China Renaissance Grey 2 Footed Cream Soup Bowls/saucers Franciscan Ivy Califoria Made Pottery 1.5 Qt Covered Casserole Dish Green Trim6 Vintage Desert Rose Pattern Franciscan Matching 16"x16" Embroidered NapiknsFranciscan Dinnerware -- Vintage Apple Pattern 8.5" Rimmed Soup Bowls (set Of 6)Franciscan China "woodside" - Coffee Pot W/lid - Excellent ConditionNike Flyknit Lunar 1 Mens Shoes Lunarlon Size 15 Green/tanStarburst Mid-century 11" Oval Platter Les Etoiles (stars) France Franciscan