Locations: Pasadena, Baldwin Park
Dates of Operation: 1938 - 1977
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
Popular Lines & Patterns:
Aqua Marine, Chinese Modern, Sparklers
Roselane is one of our favorite makers of California Pottery. They made a number of beautiful houseware and garden items that we really like because they contain art deco and more modern elements. In addition, many of the animal figurines they made are striking because they are naturalistic but also modern. We tend to gravitate toward them as opposed to the more cutesy figurines made by companies like Rio Hondo, De Lee Designs and Kay Finch. The one Roselane group that we don’t favor as much are the “Asian” inspired lines such as Chinese Modern and Chinese Key (since we’re Asian American, we’re not so enamored of these cliches). Many California potteries made those figurines in the 40s and 50s - it’s just very difficult to get into these caricatures.
The later ceramic glazes Roselane used were austere and some can be compared to Howard Pierce. Many of the glazes are brown/white, black/white and other neutral colors. According to Jack Chipman, the pottery itself was begun in the 30s at the house of Robert “Bill” Fields (he was a former employee at Cemar). A few years later, his brother William “Doc” Fields took over operations after Robert was drafted. (There is some conflicting information about the roles of the brothers, would appreciate if anyone has any further information that can be definitely substantiated). Fields later moved to a factory in Pasadena where the 210 Fwy is today - in fact, it was the eventual construction of that freeway that forced them to move yet again, this time to Baldwin Park. There, they produced figurines and other giftware until 1973 when the pottery was sold. The company that bought them evenutally phased out production in 1977.
Our favorite pieces are definitely the modern design animals, many of which were produced starting in the 1950s. It is interesting to note that many of the models were originally produced in pure white on a walnut base. At the time, this was considered extremely modern and potential buyers may have been turned off by the sleek and bare lines of these figurines. Because of that, Roselane revised many of them by painting them with naturalistic colors and often added plastic “eyepieces” to make them seem more natural. You’ll see these plastic eyes in our doves below, and Roselane re-used this technique for many different types of figurines.
One popular line that employed the plastic eye additions are the so-called “Sparklers” which featured more playful depictions of cats, owls and other animals. Collectors should be aware that these items were later copied by other companies - so just because a ceramic item has the sparkler eyes doesn’t mean it’s a Roselane piece.
Marks on the Roselane vases, flower bowls, and larger items are less problematic than on the animal figurines. When marked, the word “Roselane” is almost always used, often in conjunction with “Calif” and/or “Pasadena, Calif”. Animals were often marked with paper labels only, which presents ID problems if they were removed. Where the animal figurines were sold as a set or pair, they were often incised on the base of the larger animal and not the smaller. This occurred with our doves below.
It’s also interesting that apparently quite a few different artists may have contracted out to produce Roselane designs. We’re still trying to figure out which ones may have done so. So far, we’re fairly certain that Hildred Reents designed some animal models for Roselane.
Update 7/2009: I’ve been puzzled for a few months after seeing a Roselane Owl with a Hagen-Renaker sticker at the thrift store. It turns out that for a few years in the 1960s, Hagen-Renaker was a distributor for Roselane. That explains the stickers. To my knowledge, Hagen-Renaker did not produce or manufacture anything for Roselane - they only helped them sell items.
More ImagesEbay listed under this name. We've tried to hand tailor the searches below so they will bring up the most accurate results. If there are no results, it will list general California pottery.