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    

Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Platter Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Indigo Bunting 1993 4.75" Tall MintLenox Fine Bone China Holiday Pattern Twelve 12 Ounce Mugs Set Of 4 Very NiceBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Coffee Pot ~ Butterfly Meadow ~ Insect ~ FloralLenox Holiday Sugar Bowl Creamer EucLenox China Eternal Tall Coffee Pot Dimensions Collection Vintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue American Robin 1989 4" Tall MintLenox Holiday 5 Piece Place Setting Service For 8 EucVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Chipping Sparrow 5.25" Hand PaintedBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Teapot Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralLenox Belleek Sterling Silver Overlay Covered Teapot 9" W/ Tea Strainer6 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Dinner Plates Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Hummingbird 3.5" Tall Mint RetiredBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Teapot Coffee Watering Can Aladdin ~ Butterfly Meadow Set Of 6 Tiffany & Co By Lenox China Gold Rimmed 10 3/8'' Plates NiceLenox "butterfly Meadow" Candle LampLenox Opal Innocence Platinum-banded Bone China 5-piece Place SettingSet Of 6 Tiffany & Co By Lenox China Gold Rimmed 8.5" Bowls~ PristineBeautiful Lenox Porcelain Sugar & Creamer Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralSet Of 6 Tiffany & Co By Lenox China Gold Rimmed 8.5" Bowls~ PristineVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Red-breasted Nuthatch Hand PaintedLenox Susan Branch "a Proper Tea" Teapot With Strawberries & Flowers Sku 7715999Butler's Pantry Soup, Salad Or Fruit Bowls 5 In Set Lenox Dimensions Christmas Holiday Oval Vegetable Bowl - Mint Used OnceHtf Lenox Holiday 2 Tier Tidbit Serving Plates Platter Christmas Holly BerriesVintage Lenox 12 Pc Tea Set €Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday Breakfast Cup And Saucer6 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Mugs ~ Cups ~ Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ Floral6 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Luncheon Plates Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralVintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Barn Swallow 1993 5" Tall Mint RetrLot Of Lenox Butterfly MeadowVintage Lenox Small Teapot With Silver Overlay And Windmill Scene - As IsBailey Banks & Biddle Lenox China Cobalt Blue & Gold Bowls 12 For YouLenox Holiday Holly & Berries Gold Trim Covered Butter Dish Top - ExcellentBeautiful Lenox "autumn" Pattern 16" Platter Lenox China Rutledge 8 Berry Or Dessert BowlsLenox Butterfly Meadow Cheese Board Perfect Unused.Lenox Holiday China Gravy Boat EucSet Of 6 Tiffany & Co By Lenox China Gold Rimmed 10 3/8'' Plates NiceLenox Opal Innocence Set Of ( 4 ) Four Dessert Plates NibButler's Pantry By Lenox 5 Large Salad Cereal Or Soup BowlsLenox China Eternal Salt And Pepper Dimensions Collection Vintage Lenox Porcelain Figurine Bird Statue Turtle Dove 3" Tall Mint RetiredLenox China Rutledge 8 Soup BowlsLenox China Rutledge 2 Vegetable BowlsSet Of 7 Tiffany & Co By Lenox China Gold Rimmed 5-3/4"'' Plates Nice2 Beautiful Lenox "autumn" Pattern Cups & Saucers Butler's Pantry By Lenox 5 Dinner Plates 11 1/4 InchesLenox "holiday Gatherings" Damask Sandwich PlatterLenox Breakfast Set- 14 Pieces Pattern C413a1Lenox Butterfly Meadow Bee Hive Honey Pot, White W Flowers And Bees - UnusedLenox Butterfly Meadow Stackable Tea Set With Bag HolderLenox Butterfly Meadow Cloud 4 9" Luncheon PlatesLenox Liberty Presidential Collection Fine China 5 Piece Place Setting(2) Lenox China Holiday 8 1/8 Inch Salad Plates-made In The U.s.a.Lenox Butterfly Meadow Fine Porcelain Salt/salt Shakers NibLenox China Cream Colored Vase~dish 24 Kt Trim Lot ~lattice~cantebury~sweetbriarLenox China~autumn~12 - 5 Piece Place Settings~vintage Cup DesignLenox Holiday Butter Dish4 Lenox Winter Greetings Dinner Plates 10 7/8" Excellent Unused Condition