4 Mid Century Modern Salerno Italy Ernestine Ceramic Amaryllis Pattern #871 Canisters

These fine quality Mid Century Modern canisters were designed by American Ernestine Virden-Cannon (1904-1969) in Salerno Italy and are signed (next to smallest canister) and underglazed marked to this effect (pattern 871). I have included the interesting information about the artist and the production company below. Each canister is hand painted with Amaryllis in lavender, yellow and pink on a white background and with light green lids. The canisters measure from smallest to largest: 5 1/2" tall X 3 3/4" diameter, 6 1/2" tall X 4 1/2" diameter, 8" X 5 1/4", 9" X 5 1/2". The 2 smallest canisters are without defect. The middle canister has two small chips of glaze loss on the bottom of the out rim of the lid and one glaze loss chip on the outer top rim of the lid. I describe this as glaze loss because there is only the glaze loss and not loss of any clay area below. The middle canister also has both glaze and clay loss on four areas on the top rim of the canister(pictured). When the lid is on this canister, you can only see the one glaze chip on the lid, all of the other damage is out of view. The largest canister body is without defect. The largest lid has glaze and clay loss on three chips on the underside. When the lid is in place, you can only see part of two of the chips (last picture). The canister set remains lovely even with these defects. An interesting aspect of the design on the middle canister is that one of the floral designs is repeated and then instead of it being repeated a third time, the third design is unique. This pattern diversion does not occur on the smallest and largest canisters, though each canisters floral design is unique to that canister. This is a beautiful canister set.

"Ernestine Ceramics was a joint partnership between Italian tile-maker Mattteo D'Agostino (1905 – 1969) and the American designer Ernestine Virden-Cannon (1904-1969). The D'Agostino family business is still working, however, Ernestine remains very much a mysterious person. Little has been written about her. You can find on the Internet that she was listed in the 1932 Social Register for the city of San Francisco – which indicates she would have been wealthy and have high social status – but little else is known about her.

Ernestine Ceramics established between 1946-1947 for the production of tableware. The company was quite successful with the majority of its output being exported to the United States. The designs were, fresh and innovative on the cutting edge for this time period– with a style which today we refer to as Mid Century Modern (MCM).

Ernestine Ceramics respected for its designs but also for its advanced glazes and finishes which had to be of the highest quality in order to be accepted by the American market for which the tableware was intended. The new glazes and clays were created by the well-known German chemical engineer, Horst Simonis, whom Ernestine hired in the early 1950′s.

The tableware was all hand decorated and therefore production was very limited to so few of these beautiful pieces. Because of this low production, few Americans are aware of this important pottery. However, there is a collectors market for these ceramics, but it is a selective audience of knowledgeable individuals.

In 1969 the company stopped production of these pieces due to the death of both D'Agostino and Virden-Cannon.

Item ID: 170


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