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Homer Laughlin Portrait Plates
When researching vintage pottery and dinnerware, there are often some go-to sources. Company catalogs are usually the best. Announcements and write-ups in trade journals and advertisements in retail catalogs also contain a wealth of information. Company records are great if they're available, and employees - past and present - can also be very helpful. In the case of the Homer Laughlin 11-inch portrait plates, there is nothing to reference. The only information available at this time is what the plates themselves reveal.

"Portrait Plate" is an unofficial name, but it serves its purpose since it's not only a name, but a description. Each plate found thus far has a center portrait decal of a woman in elaborate dress. Four shapes have been found, they are:

  • Scallop - scalloped shape resulting in nine "points"
  • Shell - four, double shell embossing around the edge
  • Hexagon - hexagonal shape with fan-like embossing
  • Arch - four arches separated by ornamental embossing
Besides having similar decals, the plates also have elaborate gold stamps along with a combination of blue, pink, and ivory tints.

Scallop plates were marked with a the general Homer Laughlin backstamp and no date code as shown. That would place them somewhere between 1905 and 1911. It may turn out the scallop shape was the only one made at HLC and the others were made by competing potteries. Perhaps there are other shapes and decorations out there waiting to be discovered. If were're really lucky, an old catalog or advertisement will pop up and settle a lot of unanswered questions surrounding these plates.


Scallop shape, marked

Scallop shape, marked

Shell shape, not marked

Hexagon shape, not marked


Scalloped (left) and arch (right) shape portrait plates.
Courtesy: Jeff Kolodey

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