Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Name

Ramekin

Variant

Ramequin, Ramekin dish.

Pronounced

(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin

Function

English Noun

Plural

Ramekins

Hypernym

A type of dish

Purpose

Cooking

Etymology

French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


Meaning

1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mystery Maker Marked "Michelle Dubois"




Designer       
Michelle Dubois
Maker
Michelle Dubois
Marks
Incised “Country Life” by Michelle Dubois “Australia” to indented base
Material
Glazed slipware
Description
Mould formed ramekin and plate combination apparently made for a child.  Ramekin set to side of plate.  Hand painted animals to plate. Exterior of bowl painted green with interior streaked yellow-ochre colour.
Condition
Very good
Number
No number
Production Date
Not known
Width at rim
112mm
Width at Base
220mm
Depth
47mm
Length (with handle)
260mm
Weight
gm
Volume
250ml
Acquisition
Purchase
Salvos Store Daylesford
Rameking Reference Number
DUB 001


It has been a long time since my last post.  Lots have happened and this little treasure has been on my shelf for quite a while.  I have not found any information about this maker and would appreciate any assistance.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Arabia


Designer        
Ulla Procopé (1921-1968)
Maker
Arabica
Marks
Stamped “Arabica Finland” to base
Flame motif above
Material
Glazed stoneware
Description
Mould formed, heavy brown matte glazed to inside and outside of bowl.  Indented pourer to outside of rim.  Flattened rim extending outwards from bowl.  Hollowed straight stem handle angled slightly upward from outside of rim.  Unglazed flat circular base.
Condition
Very Good
Number
No number
Production Date
Late 1960s
Width at rim
130mm
Width at Base
65mm
Depth
43mm
Length (with handle)
192mm
Weight
288gm
Volume
250ml
Acquisition
Mill Antiques, Daylesford Victoria.
18 Dec 2016
Rameking Reference Number
ARA 001

This ramekin is shown in the Arabia catalogue as a “Sauce Boat”..  It is more appropriately considered a “saucier”, or as they refer to them in some of their literature as “open sauce boats.”  The closest in design to those in a catalogue is the “Ruska” design.  This isn’t one, but is similar, so it was probably made in the 1970’s.

The Arabia factory was set up near Helsinki, Finland, in 1873 by the Swedish company Rörstrand. They chose Finland for its close proximity to Russia, where they wanted to expand their market. Within a few years the Arabia factory was producing half of Finland's total ceramics output. The Arabia factory was managed by Gustav Herlitz who had previously worked for Rörstrand in Sweden. The range of wares was expanded to include art pottery, domestic and utility wares, sanitary wares, tiles and even bricks.

During the first World War Arabia passed into Finnish ownership and by the outbreak of the second World War was larger than any producer of porcelain in Europe in terms of output.  Expansion continued during the war and into the second half of the twentieth century. Affiliations were forged with other companies and by the end of the century Arabia and Rörstrand were again part of the same group.  Rather than me stealing from their website, it is probably better if you go there and see their story for yourself.

The designer of 'Ruska' series was Ulla Procopé (1921-1968), who worked for Arabia from 1948 to 1968.  She's also creator of the beautiful and practical - unfortunately also discontinued - fireproof 'Liekki' (Flame) series, (see next para) and the gorgeous hand-painted 'Valencia',  'Anemone', 'Rosmariini', 'Koralli' and the colorful 'Purpurinjenkka' pattern.  Production of 'Ruska'  discontinued in 1999.

The stamp to the base is not shown in any of the lists for Arabia.  Above the three crenelated crown is a flame motif.  The stamp is only partial and the word “Arabia” is only partially legible.  This sauce-boat is most likely from the later part of her career.  The simplicity of design is classic scandinavian.




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Aviemore Pottery




Designer        
James Gillon Crawford
Maker
Aviemore Pottery
Marks
Very faint logo impressed into base
Material
Glazed slip
Description
Small pinched bowl with pouring lip to one side, Curved blade handle from lower third of exterior of bowl, curving upwards.  Matte white glaze to interior and exterior with hand painted pattern in brown oxide to mid section of exterior.
Condition
Very Good
Number
No number
Production Date
Possibly early 1970s
Width at rim
67mm
Width at Base
32mm
Depth
50mm
Length (with handle)
110mm
Weight

Volume
125ml
Acquisition
Purchase
Re-Store Ballarat
21 June 2016
Rameking Reference Number
AVI 001

Sometimes something completely different crosses my path.  This is one of those somethings.  It is difficult to find much information on this company, other than pictures on EBay.  What I have found out is here.  If there are any corrections, please let me know.

Aviemore Potteries was a brand used by Castlewynd Studios Ltd Gifford Gates, Inverdruie Aviemore Scotland PH22 1QH.  Castle Wynd Studios began in 1950 at Castle Wynd Edinburgh.  As the business grew, they began to move to better premises, first to Gifford, East Lothian in 1954, then to Aviemore in 1964.  They moved to Kingussie in 1976 to produce fine bone china using the name “Highland China (Scotland) Ltd”.  It was incorporated in 1976, some ten years after Aviemore Potteries began.  James Gillon Crawford began the company and was their Ceramics Designer.  They then became  “Highland China (Scotland) Ltd but ceased trading in the 1980s due to the economic downturn at the time.  The company was finally dissolved in 2015, although James’ daughter has recently opened a galley back in Aviemore. 

Highland China (Scotland) Ltd Co No SC055232
Kingussie Pottery
Off Ruthven Rd Kingussie PH21 1HP
Incorporated 13th March 1974
Inverness Shire

They began producing a range of Cairngorm animals in 1950.  You may know their most famous design, the three-piece Lock Ness Monster “Nessie” in black.  The sales of the Nessie design almost single handedly kept the pottery going.  They divided this into two streams, this one, the Domestic Range consisted of highland cattle and sheep.  Tom Mackie remodelled them and also modelled a cow, calf, lamb, and a collie dog for the range.   The second range was their Wildlife range, comprising a bear, otter and stag, also modelled by Tom Mackie and using an oxide finish, giving a more natural look.     

This item has been variously described as a Butter Warmer, a Cream Pourer and a Porridge Bowl.  The makers described it as a “Luggie”, or Ear in Scots Gallic.  It was made in two sizes.  This one, the smaller was a cream container.  These items were made for the tourist market and this one was sold through the gift shop at Edinburgh Castle.  A Luggie was a common household item in Scotland and was traditionally made of wooden staves, then hooped. The lug was formed by one stave extending upwards to form the “lug”.  The Luggie was used in conjunction with the Coggie when supping porridge.  The luggie held the cold milk into which each spoonful of hot porridge was dipped.  This, according to the Scots is the correct way to eat porridge.  Traditionally, the spoon was made of horn.       



Aviemore is a Scottish Highlands tourist town in the Cairngorms in Scotland.  Aviemore Pottery began in the Scottish Highlands in 1964.  They produced a variety of modern versions of traditional Scottish pottery, such as Saut Buckets, Coggie or Quaich, Luggies, Bellarmine and Bicker.

A little explanation;
Saut Bucket                           Saut is Scots Gallic for Salt.  Known as a Salt Pig these days.
Coggie or Quaich                 Scots Gallic for a bowl or Drinking Vessel
Luggie                                    Scots Gallac for Ear or handle.  Any wooden container with a handle (or Lug)
Bellarmine                             Also known as a Witch Bottle, used to keep a counter to magic spells.  Made from stoneware.

Bicker                                     Possible a corruption of “beaker.”  Scottish for any vessel containing liquor for drinking, a porridge dish or bowl.         

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pravda, George Pravda




Designer        
George Pravda
Maker
George Pravda
Marks
Hand painted with various faux Aboriginal designs incised through brown glaze to interior of bowl.  Striped design incised to top of tab handle.
Description
Shallow square bowl with rounded corners tapering inward to flat base.
Condition
Very Good
Number

Production Date
Between 1949 & 1954
Width
100mm
Depth
35mm
Length (with handle)
125mm
Weight
155gm
Volume
230ml
Acquisition
E-Bay
Rameking Reference Number
PRA 001-004

Sometimes I get it wrong and I am grateful to you out there when this is pointed out.  These ramekins were shown as being from another maker.  This maker is much more obscure but just as interesting.

This time, it was by misreading a signature.  Thankfully, some keen eyed person on the Internet was able to put me straight.  These ramekins were made by a post war immigrant to Australia by the name of Georges J Pravda.  Professionally he was known as George Pravda, an actor of some renown.  But that is not appropriate for me to pursue here.



George was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on the 19th of June 1916.  Czechoslovakia was then still part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire.   He began his acting career there at the Prague Realistic Theatre under the name Jiří Pravda.  He was fluent in six languages.  In 1946 he met Hana Alexandrova, an Auschwitz survivor.  He helped her to deal with the horror of the loss of her husband and her family.  Romance blossomed and they married in 1948.  They remained a devoted couple until his death.



At the end of the Second World War, he and Hana obtained false identity papers that allowed them and their son Alexander to escape to Paris where they tried unsuccessfully to obtain residency.  On the 24th of June 1949 they arrived in Melbourne aboard the “Surriento” a migrant passenger liner where he continued acting in their own “Tana” company and also set up a small pottery in Caulfield, a suburb of Melbourne that operated for seven years.  He met Dame Sybil Thorndyke on her visit to Melbourne in 1954 when she saw Hana’s production of “Of Mice and Men.”  Persuading them to go to London, she wrote a reference for them and he left for London with his family where he lived for the rest of his life.



This letter of introduction to renowned actor Sir John Gielgud helped to establish themselves in the London theatrical scene.  They moved to Kensington and Hana became a Director, working at the “Leatherhead Repertory Company.”   She also continued acting, appearing in many 1960s favourites, such as one of my favourites “Danger Man”, “Catweazle”, Dad’s Army” and “Z Cars.”  



He appeared in numerous British films and Television series including Thunderball and Hopscotch.  He also made several appearances in the perennial Doctor Who.  He usually played various Eastern European types, including spies and scientists.


Pravda produced mainly slipwares decorated mainly with faux Aboriginal motifs, like these ramekins.  Slipware is a decorative technique using slip, a liquid mixture of fine clay and water. The slip can be coloured with oxides or coloured clays and applied to the vessel by dipping or painting, or trailed on like icing on a cake.  This is what has been done to these ramekins and the design incised through the slip

Cultural appropriation is the term we use now.  Aboriginal people are very particular about designs, their jurisdiction and use in their works, but in the fifties, our potters were not.  These fake aboriginal designs were very popular with homemakers of the time and for about fifteen years they appeared everywhere.  This caused offence to the Aboriginal people who at the time did not have voice in national affairs.  Sometimes an Aboriginal artist must serve a long “apprenticeship” before they can even begin to paint.  Copyright was something they knew little of and protection of a design was unheard of and difficult to establish.  Now, Aboriginal people are concerned with the mass marketing of tourist kitsch by their own people.

George died in London on the 30th of April or the 1st of May 1985.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Muir, Lindsay Muir




Designer        
Lindsay Muir
Maker
Lindsay Muir
Marks
Stamped “Norfolk Island”
Incised “Muir” in longhand to base
Material
Glazed earthenware
Description
Heavy glazed earthenware bowl with curled “pigtail” handle fixed to top of outer rim.  Matte glaze to body, unglazed flat circular footring
Condition
Very good
Number
No number
Production Date
Late 1980s
Width at rim
132mm
Width at Base
65mm
Depth
42mm
Length (with handle)
160mm
Weight
390gm
Volume
375ml
Acquisition
Purchase
Salvos Store Bacchus Marsh, Victoria
11 Nov 2015.
Rameking Reference Number
MUI 001

This ramekin was made by Lindsay Muir while he was working at the Norfolk Island Pottery.   It is a typical example of a 1980s heavy earthenware ramekin.  A prize-winning artist, Lindsay’s pottery is now very collectable.  Lindsay was born in Stanthorpe, Queensland in 1964.  He majored in ceramics at the University of Southern Queensland, while completing a Diploma of Visual Arts in 1984.  His work has been exhibited in galleries in both Australia and Japan.  After completing his Diploma, Lindsay worked at a number of different potteries, including the Norfolk Pottery.  Others between 1985 and 1991 were the Flaxton Gardens Pottery and Green Frog Pottery. 

Lindsay has said “Working with clay is a way of life and without it I would not be who I am” 

He managed a pottery in Lincolnshire for a year, an area where the Muir family may have come from.  He was working on wheel thrown domestic ware.  He returned to Australia to begin working on the hyper realistic ceramics he now makes.  Hand-building ceramics is his real passion.  This began at the Montville Pottery that ran from 1966 until 1998.  Lindsay worked there in 1985, his wife Karen ran the gallery.  They moved to a new location “Clay Illustrated” at Curramore Road Witta, a short distance from Maleny in Queensland.  Since 1991, he has concentrated on the naturalistic pieces that are so popular today.

He has created naturalistic works and commissions for numerous parks and wildlife organizations and his work has been featured on a number of Australian television programmes.  His works have also been used as illustrations in children's books.  The “Hollow Log Collection” successfully sells his work also.  



Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ernestine






Designer        
Ernestine Virden Cannon
Maker
MatteoD’Agostino
Marks
Painted “Ernestine Salerno Italy” to base
Material
Glazed earthenware
Description
Octagonal plate with four small ramekins glazed in Red Selenium gloss glaze with green glaze to footrings. 
Condition
Very Good
Number
No number
Production Date
1960s
Width at rim
60mm
Width at Base
35mm
Depth
30mm
Length (with handle)
92mm
Weight
60gm
Volume
60ml
Acquisition
Purchase
Waverley Antiques
24th July 2015
Rameking Reference Number
ERN 001-005

This tasting set was made by a small company called “Ceramiche Ernestine” begun by, Matteo D’Agostino, (1905-1968) an architect and tile maker who came from a family of ceramic makers and later his America Designer wife Ernestine Virden Cannon (1904-1969).  She made ceramics as a response to the poverty in Italy caused by the Second-World-War.  Matteo had been producing tiles during the Second-World-War. 

Ernestine travelled to Salerno in the mid 1940s where she met Matteo at her home in Ravello, a town on the Amafi coast.  They operated as a joint partnership from 1946/7 until 1969.  They produced tableware and successfully exported to America through Fisher, Bruce and Co, Market St Philadelphia, importers of china, earthenware and glassware.  Ernestine eventually produced around 100 different designs.

They began making pottery in the style of Vietri Ceramics, from another town on the Amalfi coast.  Shortly after they started, an adventurous, and fortuitous decision in 1950 was to employ German Chemical Engineer Horst Simonis (1923-2002) who developed new pigments, glazes and clays for the company, including this one, “Red Selenium”.    Horst’s influence on the company cannot be overstated. 

They also worked with legendary Architect, Industrial Designer, Furniture Designer, Artist and Publisher; Gio Ponti (1891-1979).  Their output was always low volume and is now collectable for those in the know.  In 1951 she was awarded the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award because her “creative designs” had “brought new life to the ceramics industry of Italy.”

The collaboration of Matteo’s shapes and Ernestine’s designs, coupled with Horsts' technical expertise produced a product the style and finish of which is known as mid-century modern and most tasters produced elsewhere since are of a similar design. The pottery became a centre for research and development of colours and glazes. 

One of their contributions was to remove asbestos from pottery.  Asbestos was mixed with clay as an adhesive and its long fibres allowed for large vessels with thin walls that made them lighter and more heat resistant without compromising durability.  Their tableware was all hand-painted.  One consideration for makers of the day was the proliferation of dishwashers in American kitchens.

Their pottery was popular with Europe’s rich and famous, among them the Belgian Royal family, Jaquiline Kennedy and many actors and artists.  The company ceased production in 1968 due to the death of both Matteo and Ernestine.  Many galleries and museums now have some of their work on display.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Buchan, Portobello



Designer        
Not known
Maker
Buchan
Marks
Stamped “Buchan Portobello Scotland Finest Stoneware” in black ink to base around a printed Thistle mark.
Material
Glazed Stoneware
Description
Shallow harlequin matte glazed stoneware on inside and outside of bowl with long rounded handle moulded to top of outer rim and extending slightly upwards.
Flat unglazed foot.
Condition
Very good
Number
Number 241 M3 in black ink to base
(241 is the model, M3 is the colour code)
Production Date
1970s/1980s
Width at rim
97mm
Width at Base
80mm
Depth
35mm
Length (with handle)
154mm
Weight
220gm
Volume
125ml
Acquisition
Purchase
9 June 2015.
E-Bay
Rameking Reference Number
BUC 001-010

These ramekins are a plain version of the many hand-painted patterned ramekins produced by Buchan under either their own name, or as Thistleware.  Sometimes described as an Individual Open Soup Server, the painted ramekins are sold for a much higher price than these plain ones.  Some of these patterns were named Costa Brava, Peach and Riviera.

The range of wares made at Portobello, spanning over two hundred years, covered much of the ceramic spectrum. Activity was centred on several sites, clustered around the mouth of the Figgate Burn where it enters the Firth of Forth.  A number of well-known names emerged, of which two stand out; Thomas Rathbone, celebrated for his fine painted and printed earthenware, and Alexander Buchan, famed for his utilitarian stoneware. From the 1830s this latter class of ware had been produced by a succession of firms: Cornwall Brothers, Milne & Cornwall, Milne & Smith, Thomas & Robert Tough, Thomas Tough, Murray & Buchan, starting in 1867, and finally A. W. Buchan & Co (1878-1972).

In 1867 Alexander Buchan and Thomas Murray bought the pottery of Thomas and Robert Tough & Company in Portobello, Edinburgh.  Portobello was one of the main centres of pottery and ceramic production in Scotland, dating back to the 1770s.

The Thistle Pottery, established around 1770, was taken over by the Buchan family in 1867.  They produced decorated and buff-glaze stoneware, and, at the time of closure in 1972, probably constituted the last complete industrial pottery in Scotland.  The pottery was housed in late 18th-century premises, substantially rebuilt and extended after 1879, covering the area of an infilled 18th-century harbour site. They traded as Murray and Buchan, changing to A W Buchan & Co in 1882 when Murray dropped out of the partnership. They moved to larger premises in Crieff, Perthshire.

The rise of Alexander Buchan to the fore heralded a sixty-year period during which vast quantities of stoneware goods of all descriptions were manufactured. The firm was inventive too, securing a number of patents and registering several novel designs, and time was even found to dabble in the world of art pottery with their exotic but misnamed Portobello Faience.


A.W.Buchan

W. A. Gray & Sons of the Midlothian Pottery, located nearby, produced almost identical stoneware, if not quite so extensive in its range. They were famed for their patented white marmalade jars. Meanwhile, at their other site, production was continued by a number of close Buchan family members until this phase came to an end at the time of the Second World War, dictated by a variety of changing circumstances. However, being one of the few Scottish potteries to have survived the Depression, A.W Buchan & Co was not about to slide into closure. Instead, the manufacture of utilitarian stoneware was all but given up and replaced with a product of quite different decorative stoneware.

In the early days the bread-and-butter lines were stoneware storage vessels and stylish containers of various kinds. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that decorative domestic wares were produced; slip decorated during the first half of the twentieth century and painted or printed in the second.

Initially of a single uniform colour, a range of multi- coloured patterns developed under the guidance of Eric McKinnon Buchan. About a dozen of these were given names, but the total number ran into three figures. Favourite above all proved to be the Thistle pattern (never officially named) comprising a semi-stylised grouping featuring a thistle, heather, and bluebells, all on a sky blue background. This was hugely popular both at home and overseas, and was in great demand from countries with large populations of expatriate Scots, which contributed to Buchan’s prosperity in the post-War period.

The goods were known as Thistle ware from 1946, the cleverly designed thistle trade-mark was registered in 1949, and the works were known as the Thistle Pottery from 1955 until its closure. When government economic policy brought about the demise of Buchan’s at Portobello in 1972, all seventeen girls in the decorating shop were painting the famous Thistle group.

Only the two bottle-shaped brick kilns, dating from 1906 and 1909 respectively, now survive. Portobello, amalgamated with Edinburgh in 1896, attracted some importance with the discovery of valuable clay deposits in 1765. The manufacturing of bricks, bottles and pottery became important industries until its last pottery closed in 1972

The mark used from 1949 onwards is a thistle design with the words BUCHAN Portobello Scotland in the thistle motif and FINEST STONEWARE beneath. The Portobello mark was still used after the move to Crieff. Other marks include 'Portovase' and 'Senolith' or 'Cenolith'.

Buchan ceased trading in 2000 but this was not the end of A.W. Buchan & Co, for it relocated to Crieff’; manufacture starting there even before it had ended at Portobello. It prospered, rather against the odds, still producing the Thistle and some other patterns until its sudden closure in 1999. Even then it was not totally finished, as a lone potter, Joe Hunter, and a single decorator, Karen Cramb, continue to keep the Buchan name alive. The famous Thistle mark has been re- registered, and Thistle ware, and some other lines, continues to be made.