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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Monday, October 22, 2012


Marrianne Westman
Stamped in black ink “Rörstrand Sweden Ugnsfast 12”
Large dished and handled pan  with trumpet handle angled upwards from fixing to exterior of bowl, closed end with pressure hole to underside of handle.  Hand painted leaf design to interior side of bowl.  Ribbed rings to base.  Clear gloss glaze to entire body
Very good.  No chips cracks or crazing.
“12” stamped to base
Production Date
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Waverley Antique Market Oct 2012.
Rameking Reference Number
ROR 001

This ramekin was designed in 1954 by Marrianne Westman for Rorstrand, Sweden.  The pattern is from the extensive, popular and collectable “Picknick” range.  She was employed straight from college as a designer in 1950 and stayed until 1971.  The pattern was produced well into the 1960s.  The design is hand painted porcelain and is well made with no cracks or crazing.

“Rörstrand” was begun by Johann Wolff at Stora Rorstrand in Stockholm in 1726 to manufacture faience, a type of porous tin-glazed earthenware.  He signed an Association Contract as industry was encouraged to rebuild the country following the reign of Charles XII and eighteen years of expensive warfare.  The area was called "Rörstrand" because the clear lake shore was overgrown with reeds.  John had migrated from Denmark after getting the boot from a company he had founded in 1722.   

Wolff’s involvement ceased in 1729 and he was replaced by a local; Anders Ferdinand who had come over from Denmark with Johann.  I get the impression that Johann may not have been the best at both pottery and interpersonal relations.  Later, in 1790 Rorstrand began making flintware, and in 1881 began making feldspar china.   Flintware is a fine type of earthenware using mostly finely ground flint mixed with clay.  It actually sits somewhere between earthenware and poprcelain.  Rorstrand specializes in the manufacture of fine, genuine feldspar porcelain.  Mariebergs Porslinfabrik was acquired in 1782 then Rorstrand set up the Arabia factory in Finland to sell into the Russian market.

In 1926 the company moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg and again from Gothenburg to larger premises at Lidköping in 1936. In 1983 Rörstrand was bought by Arabia and in 1987 they merged with Gustavsbergs Porslinfabrik.  In 1990 Rorstrand were taken over by the Finnish Hackman Group.  Between 1960 and1990 Rörstrand had several owners, including Uppsala-Ekeby, Finnish Wärtsilä and Hackman and Gustavsberg .

Rörstrand is now part of Iittala, which has moved production to Sri Lanka and Hungary.   Iittala is a design company from Finland that specializes in housewares.  On 30 December 2005 the factory in Lidköping closed, ending almost 280 years of local manufacture. The former porcelain factory is now the Rörstrand Centre containing a museum, restaurant, art gallery and outlet store.  The museum contains one of the best collections of porcelain in Europe.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Dorothy May Hope
Incised signature underglaze “Domay” to base with letter “S”  above.
Clear glazed press moulded slip.  Square dish with tab handle moulded to top of rim, angled sides to narrower base.  Square glazed foot-ring.  Off-white with harlequin interior.  
Very good, No chips, cracks or crazing.
No number
Production Date
Late 1950s
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)

Salvo Store, Brandon Park 15th Oct 2012.
Rameking Reference Number
DOM 001-003

Domay was the name of a line of slipcast ware designed by Dorothy May Hope (nee Dundas; b:1917) in the 1950s and early 1960s and mainly sold through the Sydney department store David Jones.  Mostly plain angular somewhat geometric homewares, in plain or polka dot decoration.  Domay being a combination of her first names, Dorothy May.  She began her career at Nell McCredies pottery studio in 1941 over a shop (now demolished) in George Street, opposite Wynyard Railway Station.  Nell also taught pottery at the YWCA.   Potter Emily Bryce Carter c.1932 also first learnt pottery at McCredie's studio.  Nell’s work and that of her students was fired in the kiln at her home at 17 Stanley Road, Epping.

In 1942 Dorothy married Dental Mechanic and later builder Jack Hope before he joined a Dental Unit during the second world war.  In the early 1950s she went to the St George Technical College at Ultimo in Sydney.  At that time, the Department of Technical Education permitted the newly established New South Wales University of Technology (later the University of New South Wales) to conduct the technical college diploma courses in the same fields as university degree courses. They were still conducted at the College but under university patronage.

She and Jack had moved to Yowie Bay, to a large bayside site, now valued at over $1million.  It is a Sydney suburb, named after the aboriginal for “place of echoes”, not the mythological beast similar to the American Bigfoot.  She began a small commercial pottery there and employed staff to do the casting and cleaning the bodies but she said that she found the administrative side of the pottery dull.  If you think admin was dull in the early 60s, try running a business today.  She closed the business in 1962 and left Sydney to set up the still operating Thrumster Village Pottery which is a pottery and craft centre situated on almost 4ha of land 9km (6 miles) west of Port Macquarie on the Oxley Highway.  I think there may have been a bit more to it.  There was a credit squeeze in Australia then and the trade agreement with Japan was beginning to bite with a lot of potteries closing. 

As well as pottery at Thrumster, there are also leatherwork, copper enameling, hand made glassware and hand  crafted works on display.   Work from this time is mostly glazed earthenware in the earth toned glazed so popular at the time.  For more on Dorothy at Port Macquarie after her Domay years, I have copied what follows from Australian Pottery Blogs. 

“For the first six years, they produced earthenware from local clay and oxides. In 1967, they met Carl McConnell, who became a frequent visitor, helping the Hopes to build a wood-fired kiln, and to convert to stoneware and once-firing. Later, they changed to oil-firing and Dorothy started making large sculptural pieces and commissioned wall panels. In 1968, they started holding craft exhibitions. In 1975, they added two new buildings to the complex to enable Dorothy and other makers to hold weekend and week-long schools, and also to stage festivals.

In 1982, Jack built the Log Cabin Gallery as a third exhibition space. In 1986, they retired and sold the property, which still operates as a craft centre. In 1990, Dorothy published a slim book entitled “ Impressions in clay about her life as a potter. Her work is marked with an impressed 'DH' and 'TV' for Thrumster Village. Jack, who did the jigger and jolleying work, used an incised 'JH' and 'TV'”.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Galaware (Denby)

Galaware was a line of tableware made by Denby Pottery in the 1950s.  Some of it was designed by Frederick Cooper and Tibor Reich, both major designers of the day.  Their ceramics were only marked “Galaware” and exported to Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.  Never made in large volumes, what little remains today rarely comes up for sale.
These ramekins were designed in the 1950s by Frederick Cooper for Denby to be sold exclusively through T. Eaton and Co. (Eatons Stores) in Canada. The range was very successful in North America. Influenced by the American Industrial Designer Russel (with one l) Wright.  His designs are still produced by Bauer Pottery in the US.

Denby pottery was made by a two-hundred year old English company in Denby, Derbyshire.  They originally made china, porcelain and stoneware tableware, as well as later branching out into glassware and cooking utensils.  A body of clay was discovered during roadworks in 1806 and two locals, Jacob and Brohier began making stoneware bottles.  Later, in 1815, local businessmen William and his sons John and Joseph Bourne took over.  William came from a family of potters.  They took over a couple of other potteries, naming the company “Joseph Bourne and Company,” a name it kept.  Their pottery is usually marked “Bourne Denby England.”

Expanding rapidly because of the new railways cris-crossing England, they dug 25 tons of clay daily to be used in their patented kilns.  They produced a huge range of pottery during the 19th Century from ink-wells and insulators to water filters and everything in between.  They produced decorative as well as utilitarian wares in clay, slip and terra-cotta.

Denby continued to make decorative homewares until the early 1950s when they then began to concentrate on tablewares, such as these ramekins, wartime restrictions being recently lifted.  Designed by Albert Colledge (1891-1972) in 1951, his “Peasant Ware” pattern on another post is an example.   It is claimed that they can withstand oven temperatures, but I wouldn’t try it, just in case.  Ramekins are intended to be used to cook food in, but, due to their age and rarity, don’t risk it.  These are earlier than their “Oven to Table” ware and are described as being “tough, ovenproof and long lasting”.

Like many companies in the 1980s, Denby was taken over.  In 1987 they were bought by the Coloroll group, an English home furnishings company from Manchester who themselves went into receivership in 1990.  Unwilling to let the company die, Denby was then subject to a management buyout by the Managing Director and a few other executives, and subsequently publicly floated in 1994; it was a bargain.  Bought for 6 million, it floated for around 40 million, although a lot went to pay off debt.  Today, Denby still produce a wide variety of products including fine china and porcelain, as well as that old staple, stoneware.

Since then, Denby has purchased other companies such as Burgess, Dorling & Leigh, Poole and Leeds Pottery.  Since the buyout, they have opened many more retail outlets and increased staff.  As well as pottery, they also make cast-iron products.

Denby now sells into more than thirty countries including Japan, South Korea, North America and China.  In 2011 export sales increased over 30%.  Despite this increase in exports, production remains in the UK.  A new distribution warehouse is planned, as is a new visitor centre, shopping centre and hotel are well progressed.