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Winfield Ceramics


circa 1940

2 x 10 x 2 in. (5.08 x 25.4 x 5.08 cm)
Gift of Wm. Bruce and Shauna Crane

For dinnerware, a set of coupe-style dishes (coupe plates are flat, rimless with a slight concave) was initially produced by Winfield Ceramics. This was followed in 1937 by the first square-shaped dinnerware service made in California. Most of the pieces in the line were square with softly rounded corners, as seen here in this Bowl and required unorthodox production methods and molds. This low square sage and brown serving dish is a good example of Sample’s glazing skills. Layered on the rim of this piece is a nod to Japanese brown ash glaze that lazily flows into the sage glaze. Stamped on the bottom is “WINFIELD PASADENA” with a handwritten mold number “306,” meaning this serving dish was produced more or less in 1940. More than four hundred separate designs comprised the Winfield line, three hundred of which were designed for use in food preparation and dining.

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. Despite limited experience in ceramic production, Sample managed to turn out an exceptional line of cast porcelain vases. During the 1930s and 1940s Winfield artware consisted of many styles of vases, candle holders, planters, and low flower bowls.

Designer Margaret Mears Gabriel joined Sample in 1935 fashioning utilitarian items that were favorably received in the shops that already handled the artware. Between 1936-1941 Winfield Pottery’s functional designs greatly expanded with two complete dinnerware designs, and about ten decorative patterns. Margaret and her husband Arthur became the owners when Sample died in 1939. Winfield Pottery ceased operations in 1962, one of the many victims of inexpensive foreign imports and the rising popularity of plastic dinnerware.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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