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California Faience Pottery

One of the most celebrated ceramic traditions to emerge from the west coast in the 20th century, California Faience pottery produced an entire range of pieces that showcased the technique of faience glazing, a method known for its intense luminosity that can trace its roots to the ancient world.

Faience earthenware pieces are treated with a slip including silver oxide, which helps to create a smooth white surface on which painted additions can be made. The technique has been used throughout history as a means of creating remarkably glistening glazes with incredibly intricate patterns and motifs, and is celebrated in the studio of California Faience.

Founded by William Bragdon and Chauncy Thomas in 1915, California Faience grew rapidly into popularity for its pieces ranging from decorative vases to tantalizing tiles. Their rich colors and patterns spoke to the luxurious and exotic demeanor of the Jazz Age, so the company enjoyed almost immediate success. Though the Great Depression caused significant distress, California Faience persevered and continued to produce their trademark designs into the late '50s.


Quick Facts

  • Chauncy Thomas opened his own studio, called the Tile Shop, in 1913. Two years later, when Bragdon became his business partner, they reorganized and renamed the studio
  • California Faience was so popular that they appeared everywhere from well-set tables to architectural facades. The Hearst Castle, in fact, built by William Randolph Hearst in 1919 in San Simeon California, incorporates California Faience tiles into its façade
  • Some of the most prominent ceramists to work for the company include Julia Morgan, Valenti Angelo, and Adele Stimmel Chase

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    Sellers Who Sell California Faience Pottery


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    California Historical Design, Inc