Flowers inside and out

   Written by on May 26, 2014 at 11:57 am

A bunch of flowers, all colors and shapes, looks best in an old pitcher, or a glass jar or even that odd water glass in the back of the cabinet. That’s a personal opinion but even I know that sometimes you need to be a little more formal, using perhaps a cut glass vase or some other elegant well-shaped container.

logo - a walkIf you a collector of all things floral, the pots and vases of the Roseville, Ohio factory have come under your scrutiny at some point, I’m sure. I’ve combed antique stores and junk stores for years and I’ve seen more examples of Roseville pottery than I care to remember because frankly it’s not a favorite of mine. I must admit though that throughout their prolific and productive history, Roseville managed, from the early to the mid-twentieth century, to depict almost every old-fashioned flower prevalent in gardens of that time.

Columbines, foxgloves, sunflowers, apple blossoms, magnolias, freesias, gardenias, cosmos, and even the common but delicate pine cone have appeared on the glazed surfaces of Roseville pots. Some less common themes included pea pods, blackberries, dogwood and white roses (I do like that one.).

It’s ironic that while the clay soil in Ohio made gardening a real problem, it was perfect for the production of pottery. When the floral-themed pots first hit the retail market, the lady of the house could purchase one for $5 – $12. As the demand for their pots grew, Roseville owners added line after line of different flowers including irises, poppies, moss, jonquils, laurel, primroses and cherry blossoms. Certainly one could now find a Roseville vase to match whatever flower was chosen to be arranged inside the house.

Before you rush out to begin your collection of Roseville pottery, you should know that there are impostors on the shelves out there. And realize, too, that some of the larger pieces of legitimate Roseville will carry a price tag in the hundreds of dollars. Look for the Roseville mark in relief on the bottom of the piece. Many of the flower-pattern pieces say “Roseville USA” with the pottery’s signature imprint – a swooping “R” and trailing “e” at the end. Marks will vary somewhat, however.

If a piece has a dull glaze and its pattern lacks depth, it might not be Roseville. Handles also tend to be thicker on fakes, and the styles don’t necessarily match the forms Roseville produced. With so many patterns and shapes to choose from, you may want to narrow your search to a select few florals or sizes. There are wall pockets and bowls and even umbrella stands available as well as vases and pots. As usual with any pottery, chips will devalue the piece. Buy the best you can afford. And as tempting as it may be, refrain from picking up a piece by the handles – they are the weakest part of the piece and will break easily.

Pink, green, blue, red, brown, yellow, and even orange Roseville pieces are out there just waiting for the right gardener to match them up with some favorite flower at home.

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