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 China Jewels Nativity Perfume Seller Nib Vintage Set Lenox Coffee Demitasse Sterling Silver Porcelain Cups & Saucers ALenox Winter Greetings 5 Piece Place Setting New In BoxLenox Winter Greetings Pedestal Cake Stand Plate 12 1/4" Cardinal DesignLenox Holiday Holly Porcelain Creamer & Sugar Bowl With Lid Mint!!Lenox Holiday Christmas China Set Of 4 Dinner Plates 10 5/8" Wide Gold Band Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday Cardinal Coffee Cups Mugs (4) NwtCac Ceramic Art Co., /early Lenox - Belleek Tea Pot/alladin's Lamp/cobalt BlueLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Set ~ 6 Mugs + 6 Salads/dessertsLenox Winter Greetings Cookie JarLenox Eternal China Creamer And Sugar Bowl With Lid - Excellent 4 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Gravy Boat 2 Piece ExcellentLenox Winter Greetings Everyday 16 Piece Set4- Lenox Holiday Mugs Holly & Red Berry Gr8 4 Christmas Coffee Tea Or LatteLenox Winter Greetings Scenic Mug, Downy Woodpecker & House FinchLenox Holiday Junction Wagon ~ Ivory Fine Porcelain Accented With 24 K GoldLenox Discontinued Boxwood And Pine Dinner Plates, Set Of 4 Unused!Lenox Eternal Gravy Boat With Under PlateLenox Butler's Pantry Large 3 Part Divided Server Tray Platter Serving Dish NewLenox Holiday Tartan Luncheon Plate Set Of 6Lenox Discontinued Boxwood And Pine Dinner Plates, Set Of 4 Unused!!Lenox First Blessing Nativity CamelVintage Lenox Holiday Christmas China 16" Oval Platter Holly And BerrySet Of Five (5) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, 8 3/8" Diameter, Great Gold RimsSet Of Seven (7) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, 6 1/4" Diameter, Great Gold Rims1995 Lenox China Jewels Collection Elephant FigurineLenox Winter Greetings X Large Pasta DishLenox Holiday Serving BowlLenox Winter Greetings Relish Dish With Chickadee BirdsLenox Eternal Christmas Set 8 (9 3/8") Luncheon/snack PlatesLenox Holiday 12 Piece Dinnerware - Holly Design - Bone 24 Karat GoldLenox Westchester 10 1/2" Dinner Plates - 4 PlatesLenox Fountain Sugar And Creamer Black MarkLenox Holiday Tartan PlatterLovely Set Of Four (4) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, 10 1/2" Diameter, Gold RimsLenox Butler's Pantry 11.5" Buffet / Gourmet Dinner Plate Set Of 8Lenox China Charleston Soup/salad Bowls Set Of 2 Excellent Condition(6) Vintage Lenox Demitasse Heavy 24k Gold Rim Navy Band Cups And Saucers GreenLenox Eternal Large 16 1/2" Oval Serving Platter(s)Lenox China Moonspun Lot Of 2 Vegetable Bowls 10.25" 8.75"Lenox Pearl Innocence Oval Vegetable Bowl New #6134399 $154Lenox Rutledge Oval Serving PlatterLenox Special Creamer And Sugar Christmas Holly-berries Made In Usa3 Lenox Chinastone Poppies On Blue Serving PiecesLenox Holiday Tartan Plaid Dinner Plate Made In U.s.a.Lenox Holiday/christmas China Pasta Bowl /veg Bowl(see Free Offer)Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday Twelve Piece Birds Set Cardinal ChickadeeLenox Holiday Nouveau 4 Platinum Cream Accent Plate 237769Lenox Deco Leda & The Swan Lamp Cream BisqueLenox ~ Holiday Dimension ~ Mugs, Gold Trim, Dishwasher Safe ~ Set Of 4Lenox Westchester Salad/dessert Plate - 3 PlatesLarge Oval Lenox China Autumn Platter Center Medallion 16 X 11 3/8 Set Of Four (4) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, Great Gold Rims, 10 1/2" DiameterSet Of Four (4) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, 10 1/2" Diameter, Great Gold RimsLovely Gold Rim Set Of Four (4) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, 10 1/2" DiameterSet Of Six (6) Lenox "lowell" P-67 Plates, 8 3/8" Diameter, Great Gold RimsLenox First Blessing Kneeling Angel With Trumpet FigurineLenox China Charleston 5 3/4" Fruit/dessert Bowls Set Of 4 Excellent ConditionLenox Rutledge Large Oval Serving PlatterLenox China Holiday Berries And Holly Scalloped Oval Bowl - 10.5 X 8 - Mint!!