At first blush, clay seems too earthy a compound to lend itself to the precise geometry and hard edges of Art Deco. But ceramic vases and other objects thrown on a wheel are nothing if not geometric, their forms being endless riffs on one of the most basic shapes in nature, the circle.

In fact, the symmetry of circles worked quite harmoniously with the Art Deco aesthetic, as so much Art Deco pottery of the 1920s and ’30s so clearly shows. The simplest examples were made for the dinner table by manufacturers such as Bauer, whose ringware was introduced in 1933, and Homer Laughlin, whose Fiesta line started in 1935. In each case, concentric circles at the outer edges of plates and saucers echoed the ordered, decorative flourishes of Art Deco furnishings and household items, from easy chairs to radios.

Some examples of pottery from this era idealize and modernize traditional Asian forms such as ginger jars, while other pieces use stacked horizontal circles to create dramatic vertical profiles resulting in entirely different geometric forms, as in a vase that flares from bottom to top so that it resembles an inverted triangle.

Beyond its shape, pottery can also be given an Art Deco look via the designs that are painted and glazed on its surface. To use the example of the inverted triangle, the shape of such a vase can be further accentuated when decorated with, say, the image of an open hand fan, itself decorated with triangles, semicircles, and symmetrical floral designs. Sometimes the colors in these sorts of decorations were iridescent and metallic, but they could also be cheerful and organic, as in the vases and pitchers produced by the Newport, Shelley, and Doulton potteries of England. One of the best known innovators from this group was Clarice Cliff, who designed her first pieces for Newport in 1928.

A parallel trend in Art Deco ceramics were porcelain figurines, created by companies such as Robj of France, Rosenthal of Germany, and Lenci of Italy. In some respects, these figurines were similar to the Art Deco bronze pieces of the same era, particularly those by Rosenthal, but artists working in ceramics had more choices when it came to color than those working in bronze, for which the palette of cold-painted hues was severely limited compared to the glazing choices available to ceramists.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Vintage Art Deco Noritake Tray - Lady In Dress Walking To Castle - LusterA Extremely Rare Art Deco Jade Color Ruba Rombic Vase----nrVintage Art Deco Tall Maling Newcastle-upon-tyne Gladioli Lustre Pottery VaseWonderful Art Deco Aynsley Coffee Set - Pattern # B5065Pair Of 1930's Art Deco Clarice Cliff 'ravel' Tureens And Covers1930's Art Deco Clarice Cliff 'ravel' Sauce/gravy Boat/jugArt Deco Fasold & Stauch Nymph Figural Flower Frog /hat Pin Holder Half Doll RelCaptivating C. 1910 Signed Durand Art Deco Candlestick Art Deco Carlton Ware Enamels "dragon In Cartouche" Octagonal Temple Jar & LidVintage Wilkinson Pottery - Clarice Cliff - Flower Decorated Jampot - Art Deco!Art Deco Sitzendorf Sea Nymph In Lustre Glaze Lotus Blossom Flower Frog C1920 Rare Marked Vintage 1930s Dunhill Yz Nutbird Art Deco Ashtray Pin TrayArt Deco Roseville Topeo 4 Handled Bue Drip Pottery Vase No 245-6Art Deco Maling Lustre Hand Painted Enamels "phlox" Pattern Charger PlatesRare Carter Poole Art Deco Tube Lined Fish Tile Fabulous Circa 1930`s 5x5 InchesRare Carter Poole Art Deco Tube Lined Fish Tile Fabulous Circa 1930`s 5x5 InchesRoyal Doulton Rare Colour Art Deco Speaker Cover Of A Parrot , Artandia Ltd Fine Art Deco Era Hand Painted Poole Studio Pottery Vase 14.5cm TallArt Deco Robj Style French 1920's Pierrot Porcelain Perfume Lamp.Signed Mystery Artist French Art Deco Studio Pottery Lidded Jar In Green Nr DtpPoole Pottery Early Scroll Art Deco Pottery VaseRare Shelley Art Deco Cup Saucer With Triangle Handle - Couple Walking Scene Poole Pottery Art Deco Fuchsia Yo Pattern VaseSet Of Five 1930's Art Deco Clarice Cliff 'ravel' 8 Inch PlatesRare Carter Poole Art Deco Tube Lined Fish Tile Fabulous Circa 1930`s 4x4 InchesSet Of Four 1930's Art Deco Clarice Cliff 'ravel' 9 Inch PlatesSet Of Five 1930's Art Deco Clarice Cliff 'ravel' Soup BowlsArt Deco Raoul Lachenal France Blue Crackled Bottle Pottery Vase BodyRare 1940s Art Deco Frankoma Pottery Teapot 92 Indian Peacock Blue 8" ExcellentArt Deco Style Modern Art Pottery Wall Pocket Vase Blue Green LeavesSet Of Three 1930's Art Deco Clarice Cliff 'ravel' Dinner PlatesVintage Art Deco Frankoma Small Round Green Vase #55Antique Shorter & Son Art Deco Green Drip Glaze Bowl #199 Great Britain C1940Fine Art Deco Bursley Ware Charlotte Rhead Wind Swept Tulip Large Vase Tl76Superb 1930s Art Deco Beswick Wall Plaque -the GleanersBrush Mccoy Hanging Planter Green Art Deco Royal Doulton Art Deco Old English Gardens Cake Plate & 6 Tea Plates H3873 Royal Doulton Art Deco Old English Gardens Large Jug H3873 Royal Doulton Art Deco Old English Gardens Teapot H3873 Royal Doulton Art Deco Old English Gardens Tea Cups & Saucers H3873 Royal Doulton Art Deco Old English Gardens Sugar Bowl And Jug/creamerPoole Pottery Early Art Deco Floral Vase Finely PaintedA Good Vintage Art Deco " Radford " Burslem Pottery Vase With A Floral DesignVintage Original Apollo Studios Art Deco "skyscraper" Vase Louis W Rice Design Big 29 Cm High Royal Doulton Chang Signed Marked Pottery Art Deco Vase EnglandSadler Cube Tea Pot, Beautiful Roses Motif, Vintage Teapot, 4 Cup Art Deco PotRare Sheley Art Deco Vogue Milk Jug Gold Horn Of PlentyVintage Art Deco Noritake Large Console Set - Blue & Iridescent With Swan Scenic1930 Art Deco Wm Guerin & Co French Limoges Peacock Luster Impressive VaseVintage 1930's Art Deco Greyhound Ceramic Figurine, French?Wiener Werkstatte Vally Wieselthier Vase Floral Abstract Art Deco Vase Austrian Rare Shelley England Shaped Art Deco Vase Souvenir Stotts Island Tweed RiverAntique Art Deco Italian Lenci Artist Ceramic Figurine Of GardenerPair Of Rare Maling Art Deco Lustre VasesArt Deco Nippon Noritake Porcelain Flying Owl Dresser Cigarette Box Green MMotawi Tileworks Flower 6" X 6" Art Deco Arts And Crafts Art TileAmphora Art Pottery Vase #11618 Art Nouveau Art DecoArt Deco Rosenthal Fritz Von Stockmayer Hand Painted Vase Asian FlowerVintage Trenton Pottery Art Deco Teal Blue Green Glazed Disc Motif VaseLarge Antique 1920's French Art Deco Longwy Enamel Pottery Dresser Box