We now find ourselves at one of the most controversial and confusing topics in the Gonder collecting world – what is the name of that glaze! We all wish that a chart existed showing each glaze and its proper name. Sadly, no complete list has surfaced to date. We do have information from the Gonder price lists and from the Bradley catalog pages. That information will allow us to make an educated guess at a good number of glazes we see throughout our collections.
As we make our way through this large topic, I will attempt establish some guidelines for glazes and the lines they were used on. It has been my observation, that as new lines of wares were introduced, so were new glazes. Popular pieces from previous lines would sometimes be reissued in these new glazes – often with a modified mold number. However, as you will quickly see, there will be many exceptions to these guidelines.
To simplify this discussion, I have grouped the glazes as outlined below. Note that under each glaze I will indicate its known use on that line of ware. It is likely that any glaze could be ordered or used on any item as Gonder routinely produced pieces by special order. However as the sales sheets or catalogs indicate, most lines were produced in a small subset of all the known glazes. Lines of ware that are not known to be produced in that glaze are noted as “not generally used on this line“. Those items if found in that glaze should be considered more rare and likely produced as special order or end of day pieces.
These glaze names are taken directly from sales sheets or catalog pages.
Per a former factory employee, this was referred to as the “icing glaze” noting its resemblance to a drip dessert icing.
This glaze treatment is generally not found on any pieces from the Standard Line. The exception is the P-24 Cookie Jar with Puppy Dog Lid. That piece has been found in Chartreuse, Forest Green and Victorian Wine – all with White Foam Drip. It is assumed that they were produced in the other colors, but I have not seen examples of them. They should be considered rare if found in Royal Blue, Dove Gray or Black with White Foam Drip.
This glaze treatment is easily found on the Original line items – in particular the kitchen ware items (mugs, pitchers, tea sets) and the #700 series planters. Oddly, I have not seen examples of kitchen ware items in Royal Blue with White Foam Drip.
These glaze names are take directly from a sales sheets. The early sales sheet identifies three lustre glazes. There is a fourth glaze that was introduced later. These glazes have a primary color and several secondary colors that when fired produced the lustre effect. It is likely these secondary colors (perhaps in crystal form) were mixed into the primary glaze and applied at the same time. These lustre effect colors are random in pattern on finished pieces and are often described as mottled. Viewing a finished piece from various angles and lighting will give a lustrous appearance.
Drip glazes were commonly used by Gonder and will be found on many lines of wares. Some of the names are taken directly from sales sheet. There are four drip glazes used heavily during the early years of production. Hence, they are found on the earlier Standard and Imperial lines. Drip glazes usually consist of a primary glaze and the secondary drip glaze.
During an interview with a former employee, it was discovered that the secondary drip glaze was applied by sprayer. The secondary glaze was sometimes clear and the coverage and color of the drip was not always apparent during the application. It was not until after firing would the results be seen. Pieces will vary in appearance depending on the amount of drip glaze used. The drip may appear very light on some pieces and particularly heavy on others.
When determining the color of the primary glaze, it is helpful to turn the piece over. The primary glaze will nearly always be apparent as the color on the bottom – and sometimes the interior. The drip glaze was not applied to the bottom. For example, if you are having problems determining if the glaze Yellow with Brown Drip or Chartreuse with Brown Drip, check the bottom to see if it’s yellow or chartreuse. When buying pieces online, the color is often difficult to determine as photo quality varies. Seeing the bottom has helped me identify the correct glaze when the photo quality of the piece is poor.
This glaze treatment is rarely seen. Used mostly on items from the Original line items – in particular the 1200 series bottles, 500 series planters and vases. Occasionally seen on select items from the Standard line. This glaze uses an ivory base glaze, with swirl glaze of Black, Brown or Green. A former worker relayed the swirl glaze was applied by hand with a custom made brush.
Five glazes were used on pieces from the Sovereign Line. These glazes are not found on other lines.
Pieces are most often found in White, Royal Blue and Shell Pink. On occasion a piece may also contain a decorative gold trim.
Four pastel glazes were used on pieces from the La Gonda Line. These glazes are not found on other lines.
Pieces from the La Gonda line have also been found in Lustre Glaze finishes – mostly notably Gold Lustre and Turquoise Lustre. These should be considered more rare. Pieces from the La Gonda line have also been found with transfer ware decoration. The decoration ranges from forested mountain scenes to island palm trees to Dutch windmills. These pieces were decorated by Marco Pottery and may or may not be marked with the La Gonda mark. Pieces are exceedingly rare and highly desired by collectors.
Note: Some pieces from this line were later used in the Original Line. These pieces are marked as such and will be finished in Original line glazes - most often solid colors with white foam drip.
The Spongeware glazes are most often found on kitchenwares. These include cookie jars, individual casserole sets, bowls, cups, mugs, pitchers, plates and tea sets. Spongeware pieces have a solid color primary glaze with either brown or white as the secondary glaze – which was applied, I assume with a sponge. The spongeware pattern is random and may vary from light to heavy in appearance.
The brown spongeware is most often found on the P-24 cookie jar and P-31 tea set. Easily found, these pieces utilize white, yellow, lilac blue or turquoise green as the primary color. These sets will often have a band of heavy brown drip applied at the top, with the spongeware applied on the lower portion of the piece and on the lids. I have noted that these sets are often marked in block style which would indicate early production dates. These molds were previously used at Florence in the production of RumRill.
This glaze often garners harsh comments from collectors and dealers as unattractive. While not the most coveted glaze for today’s collectors, it must have been popular when produced as these sets are commonly found.
Less easily found is the brown spongeware technique used on vases and pitchers from the Standard line. These pieces will have the dark brown drip around the top of the piece and may or may not have spongeware on the lower portion. Primary glaze is usually lilac blue or yellow and with a matte finish. Believed to be very early production pieces, there are some collectors that seek these out. Some pieces may be accompanied by a premium price.
When the Gonder Original line was released, the spongeware glaze technique was used on the kitchenware pieces. Marked Gonder Original, these pieces include some unique items as well as items from the La Gonda line. The primary glaze may be Carmel, Chartreuse, Forest Green or Victorian Wine. Other solid color glazes such as Dove Gray or Black could have been used, but I have not seen any examples to date. The secondary glaze is always white. In my experience, these pieces are in limited supply. The #951, #952 and #953 casserole sets seem to be the most easily found items using this glaze technique.
Squeeze Bag Decorated
Our next glaze is referred to as Squeeze Bag or Squiggle by collectors. Pieces use a matte charcoal glaze as the primary glaze. They are then decorated with piping of white, yellow and blue. This piping was applied using a custom made squeeze gun according to a former employee. A standard design or pattern for the piping was developed for each piece. The piping is not random.
Sadly, these pieces are quite fragile and few are known to exist. The charcoal glaze does not appear to hold up well under use and is easily scratched. Even less durable is the piping. Most examples exhibit some sort of damage to the piping. Interiors of these pieces are chartreuse.
Available catalog pages indicate this glaze was available on a limited number of pieces. Only items from the Original 700 series planters and ashtrays are known to have been produced in this glaze. The catalog pages indicate the item number followed by /20. This would indicate that 20 was the glaze number used on orders and at the factory.
Some of the rarest production glazes are the Matte Glazes. Matte Glaze lack the high gloss normally associated with Gonder. There are several colors of matte glazes. Not much is known about them and they are exceedingly rare. Colors include Terra Cotta, Blue (several shades), Yellow, Ivory and Green. These colors may be mixed and/or used on the same piece. Some of my examples indicate that the glaze may have been wiped off or perhaps rubbed on as the glaze varies in color from one section of the piece to another. It is also possible that these were sprayed on as you will see in the photo examples.
Experimental and Non Production Glazes
Lawton Gonder loved developing glazes. We continue to find pieces finished in previously unseen glazes. These may be experimental or the result of a employee making and end of the day piece. Gonder was fond of glazing production pieces in interesting new glazes and presenting them as gifts.
These rare glazes may be found on all lines.