Before he co-founded the Ceramic Art Company in 1889 with Jonathan Coxon, Walter Scott Lenox worked at Ott and Brewer of Trenton, New Jersey, a city that was home to some 200 potteries. In the late 19th century, the Ceramic Art Company was just one of many producers of porcelain inspired by Belleek.

Actually, it was more than a case of mere inspiration; William Bromley, Sr., who ran Ott and Brewer beginning in 1883, had worked at the famous Irish pottery. Even before his arrival, O&B was using the word “BELLEEK” on its mark. Thus, Lenox’s training as a designer was steeped in Belleek.

Like a lot of U.S. porcelain makers in the 19th century, the Ceramic Art Company employed a cream-colored, soft-paste-porcelain clay body called parian, which aped the look of Belleek. One of its most popular early Ceramic Art Company pieces was a swan-shaped dish (Lenox still makes a swan dish today, although its details are somewhat simplified). Other influences included the best wares produced in Limoges, France, the English china of Royal Worcester, and dinnerware imported from Japan.

In 1894, Lenox became the sole owner of the Ceramic Art Company; in 1906, the name of the firm was changed to reflect this arrangement. That same year, the San Francisco retailer Shreve & Co. received an order of Lenox china—all but one plate was destroyed in the great San Francisco earthquake. The surviving plate was subsequently used in numerous Lenox advertising campaigns.

Order from Tiffany’s in New York came next and soon Lenox was well regarded for its porcelain dinnerware, which featured transferware decorations, brightened with hand-applied color. Patterns such as Mandarin, Ming, Lowell, and Autumn were all introduced around 1917 and ’18. That year, Woodrow Wilson became the first occupant of the White House to order a set of Lenox—the pattern was Command Performance, 1,700 pieces in all. FDR, Truman, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush are Lenox’s other presidential customers.

In the 1920s, chief designer Frank Holmes created pattern after pattern, including Eternal, Rutledge, and Fountain, which took its cue from Art Deco. During this time, and continuing until 1930, the firm’s mark featured an “L” within a wreath, with the word “LENOX” below.

World War II interrupted the firm’s consumer products, but not its innovation. In particular, Lenox developed Lenoxite, which was used in insulators and radar equipment...

During the Mid-century Modern 1950s, patterns such as Westwind and Jewel were among Lenox’s best sellers. In those years, Lenox also introduced numerous giftware pieces, from ballerinas and other figurines to boxes and vases. Pop art-inspired patterns such as Innovation followed in the ’60s, when Lenox also produced inexpensive, plastic, Melmac ware.

In the early 1970s, Lenox made an annual limited-edition plate featuring artwork by naturalist Edward Marshall Boehm. Each plate had a 24-karat-gold edge, and images ranged from a wood thrush in 1970 to a cardinal in 1976. In 1973, Lenox followed this series with one called Woodland Wildlife, which featured depictions of raccoons, rabbits, and foxes.

Finally, like Royal Copenhagen, Royal Albert, Johnson Brothers, Noritake, and Spode, Lenox has made numerous Christmas plates over the years, in patterns such as Sleighride and Holly. Lenox also produced Christmas tree ornaments, from porcelain bells to little drummer boys, angels, and stars.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

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]

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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

105 Piece Service For 12+ Lenox Westchester Gold Rimmed China W/serving Pieces Lenox China Eternal Coupe Soup Pasta Cereal Bowls Set Of 6 Gold Trim PristineBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Platter Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Coffee Pot ~ Butterfly Meadow ~ Insect ~ FloralLenox Fine Bone China Holiday Pattern Twelve 12 Ounce Mugs Set Of 4 Very NiceVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue American Robin 1989 4" Tall MintLenox Holiday Butter DishArt Deco Lenox White Porcelain 9.5" Womans Head FigureLenox Winter Greetings Pattern Footed Craved Accent Mugs Set Of SixLenox China Eternal Tall Coffee Pot Dimensions Collection Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Teapot Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Teapot Coffee Watering Can Aladdin ~ Butterfly Meadow Antique Lenox Cac 16 Piece Silver Overlay Porcelain Tea Set Art NouveauElegant Fine Bone China Gravy Or Sauce Boat - Lenox - Rutledge - Flowers (p303)Stunning Lenox China "montclair" 5 Piece Place Setting MintSet Of 10 Lenox Butterfly Meadow 10 1/2 Inch PlatesLot Of Lenox Butterfly Meadow Lenox Dimensions Christmas Holiday Oval Vegetable Bowl - Mint Used OnceBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Sugar & Creamer Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Indigo Bunting 1993 4.75" Tall MintLenox Deco Leda & The Swan Lamp Cream BisqueButler's Pantry Soup, Salad Or Fruit Bowls 5 In SetVintage Lenox Small Teapot With Silver Overlay And Windmill Scene - As IsLenox Poppies On Blue Pasta Bowl Dishes (6)Lenox China, Hancock, Presidential Collection, 5 Piece Place Setting, Set #1Lenox Winter Greetings Pattern Set Of 3 Tea Cup And SaucerLenox Opal Innocence 5 Piece Set Brand New In BoxLenox Belleek Sterling Silver Overlay Covered Teapot 9" W/ Tea StrainerVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Hummingbird 3.5" Tall Mint RetiredVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Chipping Sparrow 5.25" Hand PaintedLenox Hayworth China 24k Gold Trim - Mint ConditionSet Of 10 Lenox Poppies On Blue Chinastone Fruit Sauce Dessert Bowls ~excellent Beautiful Lenox "autumn" Pattern 16" Platter Lenox China, Hancock, Presidential Collection, 5 Piece Place Setting, Set #2Lenox "holiday Tartan"Lenox Chinastone Poppies On Blue For The Blue 50 Oz Pitcher Retired PatternLenox Winter Greetings Pattern Fine Bone China Set Of Three Luncheon PlatesLenox China, Holiday Pattern, Dimension, Dinner Plates (2), Very Nice ConditionButler's Pantry By Lenox 5 Large Salad Cereal Or Soup BowlsLenox Mansfield Gold Trim Salt & Pepper Shakers Elegant Fine Bone China Dinner Plate - Lenox - Rutledge - Summer Flowers (p303)Lenox Wildflower Flower Basket Large 11" Vase Pierced Ivory China New In BoxVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Turtle Dove 3" Tall Mint RetiredLenox Holiday Pierced Relish / Candy Dish, Holly And Berries Decor Christmas NibUnused Large & Early Lenox Silver Overlay Art Deco PitcherLenox Oval Platter Rutledge Pattern P-303 MediumVintage Lenox 12 Pc Tea Set €Lenox Opal Innocence 5 Piece Place Setting New In BoxSet Of 4 Lenox Solitaire Ivory Platinum Fruit / Dessert / Sauce BowlsNew Vintage Lenox Teapot, Cream Colored With Gold Trim, Cottage Collection, UsaLenox "holiday Gatherings" Damask Sandwich PlatterLenox Winter Greetings Pattern Set Of Six Dipping Bowls / PlatesLenox Opal Innocence 5 Piece Set Brand New In BoxHtf Lenox Holiday 2 Tier Tidbit Serving Plates Platter Christmas Holly Berries(4) Vtg Lenox Porcelain Demitasse Inserts Eggshell White/ Gold Band/ Green LogoLot Of 2 Lenox Lace Point Silver Rimmed Gravy Boat And Vegetable / Serving BowlSet Of 2 Lenox Lace Point 4 Piece China Plates / Cups / Saucers Place Settings6 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Mugs ~ Cups ~ Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ Floral6 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Luncheon Plates Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralLenox Royal Treasure 5 Piece Place Setting New!