Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rookwood Amazing Glazing

Rookwood  Glazes

Rookwood Vase by Kataro Shirayamadani

If you read my last blog you are now an expert in the history of the Rookwood Pottery company. OK so you know enough to hold your own on the subject at a cocktail party. If you want to be able to recognize a fair Rockwood price at an antique store you need to know about the glazes. If you want to buy a major bargain at an estate sale you need to know about the first and most important glazes.

OK were you paying attention in my last blog I told you that the first pieces made from Rookwood had no name, but were commonly referred to as what?           

A) Cincinnati Wedgwood              
B) Cincinnati Limoges     
C) Cincinnati Meissen

Of course you got that right, my attractive smart reader. If you aren’t sure then please read the fascinating post before this one...we’ll wait. 

Standard Glaze

Standard Glaze

                                      The most desirable Rookwood Pottery  
Standard-Green-M.A. Daly 1900
Add caption

glaze is simply named Standard. Not the most inventive name, for their most popular glaze and the style most copied over the years. The Standard glaze line is dark; the base color is mostly in brown, sometimes green. The background color usually starts dark and then gradually lightens with a yellow shiny over glaze. Each Standard piece when held in the light should look like its’ outside during sunset. The background color should look like its’ dissolving. Kind of like when you pour a bottle of Black & Tan into a glass. Each Standard piece should also have excellent high quality decorations; the key to Rookwood Pottery’s auction value is the artist and the quality of the painting. The better the painted image the most important and valuable the piece. Some of the most valuable Standard glaze pieces are portraits of Native American’s. Most notably the pillow pot pictured upper right painted by Matthew A. Daly in 1900 and in 2004 sold for $65,000 at auction. 

 Lydia’s Opinion

While I appreciate the Standard glaze line and understand why the pieces are important I don’t just don’t like them. The color combination just reminds me of my most hated vintage item ever Brown Drip Ware. I am not picking on any particular brand Hull, Haeger, Marcrest, McCoy, Pfaltzgraff, I can’t stand all your brown drip styles equally. I don’t know why but seeing sad brown pottery, ceramics, and stoneware with ring around the collar just makes me sad. I can’t even stand seeing brown drip bean pots and I am from Boston.

I know in my mind that aesthetically there is a big difference between handmade expertly decorated and glazed Rookwood Standard and mass produced Hull pottery. However my eyes like what they like.  


Mahogany by Laura Fry 1885
1897 M.A. Daly
The Mahogany line is better for me. I have another confession to make; I also hate Black and Tan beer. I am a red wine lover and an enthusiast for the color red in general.  Rookwood’s Mahogany line is made with red clay, without an under glaze and a yellow glossy glaze. The overall look is much like more pleasing to me. I prefer to see the clay’s natural beauty and the slight yellow tint makes the pieces come alive with an inner warm light. As far as value goes the most known artists always bring the most at auction. Recently this Mahogany vase decorated with lilies by Matthew A. Daly sold at auction for $2,500.00. Sadly prices are down on art pottery these days. Also some glazes are more desirable than others. I love the simplicity of Mahogany, but the market seems to like the multi layered  experimental techniques of more complex glazes.

Tiger Eye and Goldstone

Tiger Eye- Albert Robert, Valentien 1900
Close up of  vase on lower left
Gold Stone's flecks 
  Gold Stone Albert Valentien 1884
Tiger Eye and Goldstone are  desirable glaze lines for collectors. Listen up those of you who enjoy all that sparkles and shines. With their Tiger Eye line Rookwood used the same red clay but overlaid their newest experimental glaze, “Crystalline”.  Crystalline glaze actually contains all the seed materials needed to grow crystals and during a special cooling and firing procedure grows actual crystals structures in the glaze.  How cool is that? The result of these crystals structures is an organic gold foil pattern that looks like it’s under glass. The effect is like that of the tiger eye stone.  Collectors pay top dollar for Tiger Eye glazed pieces the "Swimming Fish" vase on the  above left  has an auction estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

Gold Stone 
The Goldstone line used their other experimental glaze, “Aventurine”. Aventurine glaze is also a science experiment of sorts with a complex heating and cooling procedure. The end result is a fine sparkling metallic see close up of glaze on above right. See the effect like tiny pieces of glitter put into the glaze?  Below right I found a Gold Stone vase with an auction estimate of $2000-$3000. However the vase was described as Tiger Eye. I found that with these early glazes their is a lot of confusion. I found all of the early glazes; Standard, Mahogany, Tiger Eye and Gold Stone all labeled incorrectly.  Remember that just because an item is in a fancy antique store or brand name auction people make mistakes. You are not going to be one of those people.

Limoges: 1880-1884 Clear glaze over under (slip) painting. Check date on bottom.
Standard: 1884-1909 Yellowish glaze over brown or green ( black and tan dissolving) background.
Mahogany: 1884-1900 natural red clay background yellowish tinted glaze.
Tiger Eye: 1884-1909 Crystalline glaze, like gold foil under glass.
Gold Stone: 1884-1900 Aventurine Glaze, like tiny specks of glitter (see sample).

Check the bottom! Always check the date. None of these glazes were used after 1900 or 1909. If you see a Rookwood Tiger Eye vase dated 1945 in a fancy antique store you  know it's labeled wrong. You are now an early Rookwood Pottery super star!

I don’t have time to go into all of the different glazes invented by those brave folks at Rookwood pottery.  My favorites Rookwood glazes are Iris, Sea Green, Poppies, and Vellum check them out if you have time. But this isn’t about me it’s about the scientific geniuses, gifted potters, and superb artists of Rookwood pottery. Their innovation and skill made them one of the most celebrated Art Pottery companies of the twentieth century.

If you want to make a good buy check the piece out. Never buy a cracked or chipped piece. You are looking for even glaze, pretty form, most importantly you want beautiful decorations, perhaps even an important artist. All of the pieces are singed by the artists. Most Rookwood pottery books will have a list of artists and glazes with dates. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a piece make sure you research as you know the description may be wrong.  Most important of all buy a piece that you think is beautiful.

Rookwood's Claim to Fame!  

In 2008 a piece of Rookwood Pottery painted by  Kataro Shirayamadani pictured at the top of this post sold at auction for $350,000.00, the most ever paid for a piece of art pottery.

No one has guessed why it's called Rookwood 

 I'm not telling unless you guess.

Sea Green by John Dee Wareham 1898

No comments:

Post a Comment