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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

The trade names Winfield, Winfield Ware, and Winfield China were licensed to American Ceramic Products. Whereas, the original Pasadena pottery is marked with Winfield Pasadena, and later Gabriel Pasadena. The bottom of Rust Vase is incised with a carefully hand printed, WINFIELD PASADENA, indicating that it is an early piece. The number of the mold shape in Pasadena was nearly always incised on Winfield ware. Rust Vase is from mold number 143. 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 these works from the 1930s and 1940s.

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 Clayworking 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. Pieces were fired only once at 1950℉, in a small muffle kiln, where clay body and glaze matured simultaneously.

Designer Margaret Mears Gabriel joined Sample in 1935. Gabriel brought with her new hand-painted patterns of Bamboo, Tulip, Avocado, Geranium and Citrus. Sample died in 1939, and Margaret and her husband Arthur became the owners. In 1941, they built a new 12,000-foo ft factory in Pasadena with three large periodic kilns. In 1946, American Ceramic Products of Santa Monica helped Winfield produce 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.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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