Roseville Victorian Majolica, 1896-1900

Although the vast majority of Roseville Pottery was manufactured in Zanesville Ohio, it is important to remember that the company was first incorporated in the town of Roseville, Ohio. Their first years of production occurred there before moving most operations to Zanesville in 1900. Most early letterhead describes the company as purveyors of “flower pots, cuspidors, and umbrella stands”. Few records exist from the time before 1895, and it is assumed that most of the wares created were simple stoneware products.

The first known art pottery pieces were the Victorian Majolica pieces. These have been known to collectors for decades as “Vase Assortment” This name is taken from a catalog page that describes them as such, and is shown above. Shapes are given in two series, and the first is identified as shapes 101 through 112. Shape 107 is not shown in the catalog but has since been identified. Each shape apparently came in three color schemes, with a base color of brown, green, or blue. These vases were fired in high-gloss polychrome majolica-style glazes, and often had gold gilding details applied after firing. They were cast with raised designs, in a style resembling popular French designs of the time. The second was a series of simpler bud vases with blended majolica colors. Numbered 200 through 206 (with no number 202 known), these pieces had none of the complexity of the first series. The full range of the blended colors used is unknown as few pieces have been identified.

The designation of “Vase Assortment #60” or “Vase Assortment #24” appears to indicate a range of choices based upon a mixing and matching of shapes and colors. For example, vase assortment #60 would include two pieces of shape 105, one of them blue and one of them green. It would not include shape 107. Other unknown assortments would presumably include shape 107. This would in theory create a larger number of SKU’s, but also allow for easier re-ordering by retailers without burdening the company with tracking custom orders.

Most of these pieces were sold to retailers such as A&P; grocery stores and used by them as premium giveaways to raise customer loyalty. It is likely that Roseville found additional retail outlets for the vase assortments, otherwise 60 different assortment SKU’s would not have been required.

The bases of these pieces each have the shape number impressed, and may have originally carried an RPCo scroll label applied. Most of the vases are around 8 inches in height, with some smaller and a few taller. Few of these pieces are known to exist, and they can easily go unrecognized as Roseville Pottery at estate sales or antique markets.

Several of 100 series vase shapes were retained and reused without the molded decoration as blanks for Rozane pieces in 1900.

Below are some images of the vase assortment pieces for identification purposes.

Roseville Victorian Majolica, 1896-1900Roseville Pottery Shape 102 Brown

Roseville Pottery Shape 103 BlueRoseville Pottery Shape 103 Blue

Roseville Pottery Shape 106 BrownRoseville Pottery Shape 106 Brown

Roseville Pottery Shape 107 BrownRoseville Pottery Shape 107 Brown

Roseville Pottery Shape 108 BlueRoseville Pottery Shape 108 Blue

Roseville Pottery Shape 109 GreenRoseville Pottery Shape 109 Green

Roseville Pottery Shape 201 RedRoseville Pottery Shape 201 Red

Roseville Pottery Shape 945 AzureanRoseville Pottery Shape 105 reused as Azurean 945

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