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Decorated Specialties &
Laughlin Art China

In the early 1900s, many American pottery companies started to produce decorated specialties. The "specialties" were made up of shapes that didn't belong to any particular dinnerware line, and were intended to be more decorative with fancy and ornamental styling. Most of the treatments consisted of colorful decals with blended tints. All of this was done in response to the wares being imported from Bavaria and other parts of Europe as well as products produced by domestic firms such as Rookwood and Roseville. Art china was also made in the United States by Brunt, Smith-Phillips, Warwick, Taylor, Smith & Taylor, National China, Owen China, and many others.

The Homer Laughlin China Company started their line of Art China in 1902 under the direction of Arthur Mountford. The special "Laughlin Art China" gold marking was applied over the glaze and wasn't always used. It appears mainly on Currant, White Pets, Monks, Gypsy, Juno, Laughlin Blue, Ruby, as well as several other patterns. On the other hand, treatments such as Holland, Cardinal, Caledon, and Silver Sienna generally weren't given the special Laughlin Art China gold marking. Just because a piece doesn't have a Laughlin Art China marking doesn't automatically mean it isn't art china. Some of the many art china decorations are listed below. These descriptions can be found in copies of the Pound Sterling Catalogs.

  • Blue Creton - All over Creton design, underglaze flow blue, gold edge
  • Brown Rose - Rose decal, brown and ivory, blended tints
  • Caledon - Frieze of dog heads around top, blended and tinted grounds
  • Cardinal - Same subjects as Dreamland, tinted in red
  • College mugs - Poster art style mugs, various colleges
  • Currant - Large clusters of red currants with background tinted in rich browns
  • Dreamland - Frieze of playing children in most attractive style and coloring with rich tinted background of blended yellow, green, and brown
  • Elk - B.P.O. Elks emblem, rich blended tints, no gold
  • Frogs - A series of six comic but attractive frog subjects; on fruit plates only (See also section on Frog jugs.)
  • Golden Fleece - All over gold stamp, wide gold band on edge and solid gold handles
  • Gypsy - Famous Beauties, tinted all over in warm browns and ivory, gold edge
  • Holland - Attractive Holland figures with beautiful grey and brown tinted background
  • Ivorine - Red and white Poppy, all over tint, ivory and brown, gold edge
  • Juno - Handsome, Full-length draped figures, tinted all over in harmonious blending of blue, green, ivory, pink, and yellow, gold edge
  • Laughlin Blue - Attractive child subjects in underglaze blue with vignetted background, gold edge
  • Monks - monk subjects, tinted dark brown, no gold
  • Monks, four senses - tinted in dark brown, or rich blended tints, may or may not have rich gold tracing
  • Monks, blue - Blue monks with blue tint
  • Old Mission - Embossed vases, tinted and illuminated
  • Primrose - Decal and blended tints on plaques and fruit plates
  • Regal - Red and white Poppy, all over tint, ivory and blue
  • Rose - Rose decalcomania, blended tints, assorted colors on fruit plates only
  • Ruby - Tinted all over in iridescent lustre, with broad band of ruby lustre and richly traced in gold
  • Sentiment - Selected quotations from celebrated authors with floral embellishments on fruit plates only
  • Silver Sienna - Dog subjects, tinted in browns, wide silver band on edge and solid silver handles
  • Tulip - Decal and blended tints on plaques and fruit plates
  • Trianon - Red and white Poppy, all over tint, "Rookwood" browns, gold edge
  • White Pets - Dogs, kittens, etc., on beautiful gray and pink blended grounds

For more on Laughlin Art China, check out:

Homer Laughlin, A Giant Among Dishes 1873-1939 by Jo Cunningham
The Collector's Encyclopedia of Fiesta (any edition after the 5th), by Sharon and Bob Huxford


The following line drawings come from the 1907 catalog.
Other shapes can be found besides those shown here.



Bread trays with variations of "Currant" decals


"Currant" orange bowl

Orange bowl with hand-painted decoration

Fedora cake plate, berry saucer, and rose bowl

Dutch jug (left) and Chocolate pot (right)

Tioga cake plate

Number 9 vases with variations of "Currant" decals


"Currant" grouping with a number 5 vase in green tint.
Courtesy: David Schaefer


Left: "Currant" on an Angelus 6" plate, right: Colonial couple on an Alaskan ice cream plate


"Currant" berry bowl and a footed bon-bon

Tioga sugar baskets and a creamer. "Golden Fleece" is second from the left and has its own backstamp as shown.

Number 4 and Number 5 vases, Grapes (far left) and "Currant"



Blue Monks, Barrel stein mugs (left) and Horn stein mugs (right)

Horn stein mugs: Berger Manufacturing Co. of Canton, Ohio and Monks

Horn stein mugs. In the middle is "White Pets"

Gem shape jugs. Gypsy on the left, and Monk on the right

Other side of the Gypsy and Monk Gem jugs


Currant with (left to right): Dutch scene on an Ohio jug, Frog subject on a Hudson jug, Wyoming
shape ewer, Caledon horn stein mug, Gem jug with Colonial couple, and a Juno orange bowl.
Courtesy: David Schaefer



Gypsy orange bowl

Sapho molasses cans. HLC's on the left and KT&K's on the right

Geisha jug and a Tankard stein

Other side of the jug and stein

Unhandled nut dish, Colonial couple

Unhandled nut dish, "Dreamland"


Stein ewers, Gypsy and Monks


Stein ewers, "Currant" and "White Pets"

Stein ewers, Colorado Springs, "Holland", and Grapes

"Laughlin Blue" biscuit jar

Biscuit jar with decals and gold stamps

Three sizes of Geisha jugs

"Caledon" on an Ohio jug (left) and "American Floral" Geisha jug


"American Floral" on a Diana shape jardiniere

Left: B.P.O. Elks stein with a large Monk stein by National China and a Monk tumbler by Taylor, Smith and Taylor
Right: Orange bowl with "White Pets"

Blue Monk plaque

Portrait plaque


"Dreamland" 10½" and 9½" plaques

"Ruby" fancy salad and chocolate cup and saucer


The next twelve images come from the research files of Joanne Jasper.

"Silver Sienna" number 10 vase

"Caledon" number 10 vase

Currant Specialties advertisement


Jacobean with green tint, catchall (left) and Bridal ewer (right)


"Currant" grouping

"White Pets" and "Juno" loving cups

"Japanese" Geisha jug

Other side of Japanese jug

"White Pets" handled nut dish

"Dreamland" handled nut dish


"Dreamland" on an American Beauty celery dish

"White Pets" Number 3 vase, comb and brush tray, whisky jug


The following are more of Homer Laughlin's small and large specialties shapes, many of which can be seen in the 1907 catalog. Also included are listings from four different treatments; Gypsy, Floral decorations, Chester Rose, and Dresden.


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