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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Holiday Dishes

With the holiday season in full swing, many of you are taking out your good china.  With its organic shapes and whimsical pattern, this 1954 set from Metlox is one of my favorites in our collection. 

1954 2005.059.001a-I Metlox Stoneware Set, Gift of Bobbi Van Rossum 

Designed by Frank Irwin, this stoneware set would have been sturdy enough for everyday use, but at the same time wouldn’t be out of place on a festive table1.  Indeed, many pieces are similar in shape and style to the dishes used to display an autumn feast in the below spread from the Ladies Home Journal2

Ladies Home Journal, October 1954 

Chatelaine magazine suggested that, while many still preferred to have both a fine china and an earthenware set, many women were choosing to use earthenware exclusively3.  These modern women may have gotten their stoneware as a wedding present, as suggested by the Chicago Daily Tribune4, received a set as a holiday gift, or bought it themselves.  If you happened to be shopping in Los Angeles in December of 1957, it would have been possible to score a set for 20% off5

Loss Angeles Times, December 2nd 1957 

This particular set was used by its original owners for large family dinners in the 1950s and 60s.  The second set of owners used it at gatherings of a musical group they belonged to.  However it was used, I’m sure the cheerful colors and space age shapes made for an exciting table setting! 

1954 2005.059.001a-I Metlox Stoneware Set (detail),  Gift of Bobbi Van Rossum

  1. Kaplan, W. (2011). California design, 1930-1965: Living in a modern way. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
  2. Ladies Home Journal. (1954, 11). Ladies' Home Journal, 71, 3. Retrieved from pg22 
  3. Holmes, M., & Byers, J. (1954, 06). GET SET FOR DINING THE MODERN WAY. Chatelaine, 27, 40-42, 44-45. Retrieved from
  4. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963); Jun 3, 1951; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune pg. SW_A1
  5. Display ad 13 -- no title. (1957, Dec 02). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from

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