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    

Lenox Demitasse Cups Pair International Sterling Holders & Saucers Blue Cups Lenox Solitare Pattern Bowls 5.25" Set Of 12 Fine China Made In Usa No ReserveLenox Snow Lily Pattern Dinner Plates 10.75" Set Of 12 Fine China Made In Usa NrLenox "winter Greetings" Everyday Rectangular TrayBeautiful Vintage Lenox Plate W/ornate Sterling Silver Repousse & Pierced Rim - Lenox Butterfly Meadow 16" Oval Serving Dish- Excellent CondKate Spade Set Of 4 Concord Square Cause A Stir Tidbit Plates Lenox *new In Box*Lenox China Jewels Nativity Kneeling Camel10 Pieces Lenox Jefferson Pattern Porcelain China Gold Accented 2 Place SettingsLenox "say It With Silk" Holiday Salt & Pepper Shaker SetLenox Snow Lily Design Pattern Bowls Set Of 12 Fine China Made In Usa No ReserveLenox Kingsley Coffee Pot, Vintage, Mint Cond.New Lenox China 4 Pc Place Setting Holiday Tartan Plaid Dinnerware SecondsLenox Butler's Pantry Covered Butter PlateLenox Butterfly Meadow 1.5 Qt Covered Casserole, Excellent ConditionSet Of 6 Lenox Winter Greetings Cup & Saucer - 3" X 3 1/4"Lenox Springtime Splendor Teacups And Saucers Nib Antique_depos-art_lenox_silver_overlay_teapot_w_trivet_and_creamer_set_art_decoSet Of 6 Lenox Winter Greetings Bread & Butter Plate - 6 1/4"Lenox Legacy Edition Valencia Gold Serving Bowl Nib30pc Lot Vintage Lenox Blue Royale Porcelain Dinnerware China Mid-century ModernLenox Tuxedo Soup Bowl Set Of 6 Porcelain Gold Trim 7 3/8" Green Back StampLenox Snow Lily Coffee Pot Sugar Creamer Set Fine China Made In Usa No ReserveLot Of 13 Dinner Plates - Lenox Monroe Presidential Collection Elegant!Lot Of 10 Bowls - Lenox Monroe Presidential Collection Elegant!Set Of 4 Lenox Poppies On Blue Chinastone Dinner Plates 10 3/4" Lenox Holiday Nouveau 10" Square Tray Lenox Butterfly Meadow Dessert Plates Set Of 4 New In BoxLenox Poppies On Blue - Barnyard - Bunny Rabbit Spoon Rest 6 Lenox Winter Greetings Ivory Dinner Plates Red Cardinal Bird RibbonButterfly Meadow Expandable Trivet Lenox Retired Vintage Lenox Springtime Splendor Berry Bowl Nib Lenox Floral Frog Bowl Fine Ivory China Withcertificate Immaculate 24k Gold TrimLenox Cream Soup/boullion Bowl W/sterling Silver Frame Ivory W/gold TrimLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Catherine Mcclung Chickadee Dinner PlateLenox "fruits Of Life" PlateLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Catherine Mcclung Cardinal Dinner PlateBeautiful Set Of Six Lenox Golden Wreath Dinner Plates - 10 5/8"Set 2 Retired Lexnox Haverford Hall Ambassador Collection Porcelain Salad PlatesLenox China In The Kingsley X445 Pattern: Service For 6 + Platter+serving Bowl.Kate Spade Larabee Road Platinum ChinaLenox China 5 Pc. "sleighride" From The Debut Collection ChristmasLenox Butterfly Meadow Beehive Honey PotLenox Hancock Pattern Gold One 5 Piece Place Settings Unused With TagsLenox Holiday Dimension Sugar Bowl Made In Usa Original Price Tag UnusedLenox Pearl Innocence 5pc Place Setting8 Vintage Gold Trimmed Lenox Porcelain China Versailles Dinner PlatesLenox Autumn Treat Bowl Gold Trim Floral Pattern Beautiful ConditionLenox Winter Greetings 6 Salad Plates 8 1/4"Set Of Five Accent Cherub Luncheon Plates, Lenox, Butlers Pantry, No ReserveLenox Porcelain, Dolphin Footed, Shell Form Centerpiece, LargeLenox China Collectible Butterfly Meadow Stacking Tea Set With Bag HolderLenox Butlers Pantry Sugar Bowl With Lid And Creamer - New And UnusedLenox Holiday Holly & Berry Fine China Accent Candle Lamp With ShadeLenox Autumn Dinner Plate Millennium EditionLenox Fine China Set, Service For 10, Plus Soup Bowls - Bellina PatternLenox Butterfly Meadow Gravy Boat & Stand - New In BoxLenox Autumn Gold Banded Fine China 5 Piece SettingButterfly Meadow Canister Set Large Medium SmallLot Of 13 Cups & Saucers - Lenox Monroe Presidential Collection Elegant!