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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pravda, George Pravda

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

Production Date
Between 1949 & 1954
Length (with handle)
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.