When the ground-breaking Desert Rose pattern by Franciscan China premiered in 1941, it became an overnight success. This pattern was so alluring it even had a fan in Jackie Kennedy, who ordered Franciscan pieces for use on Air Force One and in the White House. The inspiration for Desert Rose has been attributed to Annette Honeywell, a California freelance artist. Based on Honeywell’s designs, Franciscan artist Mary Winans modeled the beautifully shaped Desert Rose pattern that would go on to be touted as “the most popular pattern ever made in America.” The pattern features a hand-painted underglaze floral design with a palette of natural pinks, yellows, and greens. The bold earthenware bodies of each piece are accented with serpentine vines that perfectly complement the green leaves and elegant rose blossoms that cascade across each piece. Desert Rose stood as a warm, distinctly American contrast to the petite floral designs and gilded accents of traditional European bone china. During the decades after its release, Franciscan created 105 different piece types bearing the hand-painted “Desert Rose” design. This selection included salt and pepper shakers, snack trays, tea tiles, oatmeal bowls, tureens, steak plates, cookie jars, mixing bowls, canisters, a variety of pitchers, and many more. When Franciscan closed in 1984, the Desert Rose pattern was sold to the Wedgwood China Company along with the rights to the “Franciscan” name. Replacements, Ltd. carries a very large selection of Desert Rose pieces produced in both the United States and England.
Wistaria-Pink is classic American crystal crafted by Tiffin/Franciscan, a firm whose roots can be traced back to 1889, when Tiffin Glass Company started production in an Ohio factory. Wistaria-Pink crystal features a delicately colored concave bowl that flares at the top, a multi-sided, notch-shape stem that is heavier at the bottom, and a round foot. The unique Wistaria-Pink color was developed around 1948 by Tiffin’s Ellsworth Beebe. Beebe worked with chemists from India to create the formula, which he committed to memory. When Beebe died in 1963, Tiffin was never able to replicate the subtle and exquisite color. The crystal was marketed in conjunction with the appearance of actress Helen Hayes in a Broadway play entitled, The Wisteria Trees (the different spelling for “Wistaria” crystal was by design.)This rare crystal is highly sought-after by collectors, as is the Tiffin giftware that was produced in the Wistaria-Pink color.
features a blocked design in a rose motif, with ornate scrolling along the edge, a cameo/frame design with a rose at the tip, and a glossy finish. Watson literature from 1942 describes
as “made by silversmiths who have spent 68 years recreating museum masterpieces for connoisseurs of fine silver... so superbly designed and faultlessly executed that you will find it unexcelled anywhere else today.” The Watson Company was established in 1874, and produced primarily jewelry in its early years. Later, the company shifted focus to manufacturing souvenir spoons before expanding its production lines to include silverplated flatware, hollowware, and novelties. As the company further streamlined in the twentieth century, production was confined to sterling flatware and hollowware. The
pattern was first produced in 1907, and other popular patterns followed, including
John Alden (1911),
Windsor Rose (1940)
. In 1956, Watson Company was purchased by Wallace and Sons Mfg. Co. (now Wallace Silver).
remains an enduring example of the exquisite, finely-crafted sterling products produced by Watson Company during its prime.
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