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Winfield Ceramics


Rust Vase
circa 1938

5 x 3.75 x 3.75 in.
Gift of Wm. Bruce and Shauna Crane

Winfield Pottery of Pasadena was founded by Lesley Winfield Sample in 1929. Sample was born in England in 1897, where he received a wide-ranging education, including instruction in ceramics. He immigrated to Southern California in the 1920s. The original site began as a studio and school of clay working and offered classes in the evenings. Despite limited experience in ceramic production, Sample managed to turn out an exceptional line of cast porcelain vases and bowls. Designer Margaret Mears Gabriel joined Sample in 1935, bringing new hand-painted patterns featuring bamboo, tulip, avocado, geranium, and citrus motifs. Sample died in 1939, and Margaret and her husband Arthur became the Winfield owners. In 1941, they built a new factory in Pasadena with three large periodic kilns. In 1946, American Ceramic Products of Santa Monica helped Winfield fill their huge backlog of orders after the war. Winfield Pottery ceased operations in 1962, one of the many victims of cheap foreign imports and the rising popularity of plastic dinnerware.

The trade names Winfield, Winfield Ware, and Winfield China were licensed to American Ceramic Products. The original Pasadena pottery is marked “Winfield Pasadena,” and later “Gabriel Pasadena.” The bottom of Rust Vase is given the first designation, indicating that it is an early piece. As was the case with many of the early works, the charming raised motifs are modeled from classical Greek elements. Other Winfield artware consisted of many styles of vases, candle holders, planters, and low flower bowls, as seen in the works from the 1930s and 1940s.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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