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




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




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.


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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kerryl A20

Allan James
Incised “A20 Kerryl” to base
Terra cotta clay
Earthenware press-moulded bowl with tab handle to top of  thickened rim.  Light brown glaze to interior of bowl and top part of exterior.
Very good
A 20
Production Date
Late 1970s
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Camberwell Sunday Market 20th May 2012.
Rameking Reference Number
Ker 004-008

The story of Kerryl cannot be told without including Remued, or Preston Premier Pottery.  The Man who began Kerryl was Allan Edgar James who was born in the Melbourne suburb of Preston on the 7th of October 1914 to John James and Edith (Roath).  As a seventeen year old, Allen was reputed to have been riding his bicycle past the Remued Pottery when he was offered a job as a thrower by David Dee, (1877-1934) part owner with Reg Hawkins (1894-1971).  Hawkins had migrated to Australia during the depression and had been a potter and decorator in England.  Dee, born in Launceston along with his five brothers had been apprenticed by John Campbell in Launceston Tasmania and later worked at Hoffmans in Melbourne, Victoria before starting PPP.

Premier Pottery in Preston was commenced  by them in 1929.  Both men had had much experience in pottery before beginning this small business by renting premises at 52 Oakover Road in Preston. Previously this site was used for curing bacon. This was a perfect location for opening a pottery as there was a large clay pit, virtually next door to the pottery.  See my entry for Remued for a more complete story.

 Allan took to pottery work quickly, practicing at every opportunity and his working speed meant that Remued became a leading maker in Melbourne.  David Dee died in Coburg, Victoria in 1934 and by then Allan had become an indispensable worker at Remued eventually becoming head potter.  (Yes, I know they didn’t become Remued until after David’s death.)  Margot Kerr (1898-1954) taught Allan decorating.  (Margot learnt from Merric Boyd)

Allan James in the 1930s
 Allan was the only person to stay at the pottery during the Second World War.  They had Army contracts, so someone had to make it.  In 1946 Premier Pottery was back to the level of production it was at before the war but strong competition arose from cheap Japanese imported goods, hindering the success of Premier Pottery. This trend continued, ultimately forcing them to close their doors for good in 1956.  They ceased production following, in part difficulties over the lease of the premises.  Factors such as management and rental disputes, changes in the market place, and a decrease in sales, eventually led to their closure.

 Before this, in 1951-52 Allan set up a second small pottery operation using an electric kiln, not at Oakover Road but in the backyard of his home at 16 Esther St, Preston.  It may be speculated that he was preparing to abandon Premier Pottery, which probably would have meant the end of Premier because the pottery revolved around him.  Whatever transpired it is known that, about that time, his position at Premier changed from being an employee in a firm owned by Reg Hawkins to being a co-owner.  Alan continued to work by day at Premier and worked evenings at home as well.

Allan transferred production of 'A' Series items there. The series was extended with new shapes and new styles of glazing reflecting changing fashions.  Slip-casting was introduced for some designs, replicating popular pieces from other potteries including Beswick, Shorter & Son and E.G.Greenway.  Many familiar shapes from the Later Series also made a re-appearance in the Kerryl range, particularly after about number A88. 
 The 'backyard' product, not surprisingly, bore a close similarity in style to contemporary Remued production from Oakover Road.  A new numbering series was instigated, the 'A' Series, marketed alongside the Later Series through the same agents. Like the Later Series the 'A' Series started at number 1 but was distinguished by the prefix letter 'A'.  Initially 'A' Series shapes were nearly all new, not repeating previous shapes. They included that favourite of 1950s potters, ramekins (numbered A1 & A2) plus lamp bases, dishes and vases.
 Kerryl Pottery, later operated from 53 Banbury Road Reservoir Victoria 1958 to 1980. Incised “Kerryl” to base. The name may be derived from Margot Kerr who worked at Remued from the early 1930s and was responsible for introducing the now highly collectable gumleaf/gumnut design, although it is believed that it was named for Kerry, the son of Allan and Myrtle James. The "M" series may be named for Myrtle James, nee Fraser (1916-2007) wife of Allan.  Allan died in Preston in 1979.

Compiled from
Darebin Libraries
Powerhouse Museum 

Penny Webb “Gumnuts and Glazes”

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fiesta by Elischer


John Elischer




Incised “Fiesta” to base




Triangular bowl with rounded corners, tapering towards base.  Fishtail handle. Off white light gloss overglaze with harlequin interiors.


Good, some crazing to interior of bowl


Production Date


Width   at rim


Width at Base




Length (with handle)







Waverley Antique Bazaar 11 May 2012

Rameking Reference Number

FIE 001-005

These ramekins are almost identical to the Elischer Cottonware ramekins, except for a slightly modified handle.  

Elischer Pottery was started in Sandringham in 1947 by well-known sculptor John (Johann Wolfgang) Elischer (1891-1966) and his son, also named John, (known as Wolly). John (Snr) was born in Vienna and trained at the Academy of Vienna from 1908 to 1911 and was an Associate of the Royal Academy Vienna.  He won the Prix de Rome in 1909.  This was a scholarship for art students, although his name does not appear on the list of winners, he may have been awarded a second prize.  This is no shame because Manet and Monet both failed to win the Prix de Rome.  Johan later studied in Paris (1910-1911) under the even more famous August Rodin.
After serving with the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War 1, he practiced as a sculptor in Vienna and designed figures for Austrian pocelain factories.   In 1924, he became the Art Director at Dittman-Brunner, an Austrian light fitting and novelty manufacturer.  He won an international competition in 1926 to design a memorial in South Africa for General Botha.  An excellent example of his early work, the sculpture, 'Foundryman' is held in the Eckhart G. Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.  This piece captures the intense concentration, grace and skill involved in pouring metal.
John migrated to Australia in 1935. While living in Douglas Street Toorak in 1951, John won the 200 Guinea prize for a design for a jubilee medal for Australian Primary School and pre school children.  The medal was given to the school children of Australia in 1951 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Federation of Australia. The design was chosen after a competition, with the valuable cash prize of two hundred guineas. It was won by John for his depiction of a man hand-sowing wheat.  The wheat represents the seven States of Australia on the other side of the medal, at left 1901, at right 1951 in tiny letters near ground right, J.W.E. (obverse) Some of his notable sculptures are busts of Archbishop Daniel Mannix and Television great Graham Kennedy in clay.
Elischer, P. Hurry and John Farmer together held an exhibition of works at the Atheaeum, Collins Street Melbourne, in June 1937. The catalogue lists 10 pieces of sculpture by 'John Wolfgang Elischer, A.R.A. (Associate of the Royal Academy) (Vienna)' (Copy in Museum Victoria History and Technology Department
Elischer also received commissions for sculptures including the King George V Memorial in Bendigo (1938),  The statue was unveiled by the then Premier of Victoria, Mr Dunstan amidst complaints that local materials had not been used in the making of the statue.  He also made a bronze fountain for businessman and philanthropist Sir Russell Grimwade in Toorak  In 1946 Huntley Pottery in Glenhuntly began making slip cast items designed by John Elischer. 
John (Senior) died in 1966 and the business was continued by his son John (Wolly), until 1987 when it was sold.  Prior to that, at some time, he started making pieces the brand NCP.
The business continues today as “Unique Ceramics” at 31 - 33 Beaumaris Parade, Highett, Victoria. You probably have some of their stuff without knowing it. Have a look at the bottom of that ceramic port bottle of beer stein from the Dandenong Octoberfest.  In 2002, Elischer Street in Canberra was named in his honour.  Unique Ceramics continues to use the “Elischer” brand today on some of their wares.