Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Allan & Peg Lowe

Allan James George Lowe was born in Collingwood, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Victoria in 1907 to Allan Frank Lowe and Ada Alice Wilcox.  Having originally trained as a painter, he set up a short-lived studio in the northern Melbourne suburb of Merlynston (just up the road from Pentridge Prison).  In the late 1920s, he taught himself pottery, learning to throw, studying glazes at the State Library of Victoria and building a kiln with the help and advice of a friend at Hoffman Potteries.  He learnt pottery from Gladys Kelly at the Working Men's College (then RMIT, now RMIT University) in Melbourne, before moving in 1930 to Hoffmans Brickworks in Brunswick where he worked making pottery. 

In 1931, Allen is recorded as living at 42 Mashoobra Street Coburg.  He is listed as being a “Window Dresser”.  Allan then moved to Eaglemont, an outer suburb of Melbourne in 1932.  In 1936 he was living in “Thrums” Malvern, listed as “Traveller”, before moving, with his family, including Frank and Ada to 27 & 55-57 Kiaora Parade, Fern Tree Gully in 1939, then a country town.  He is also recorded as being a “Traveller”.  Don’t think he was a Gypsy, in those days, a Travelling Salesman was known as a traveller. It seems he never bothered to update the Electoral Roll. During the second-world-war, he worked at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation at Fishermans Bend, at the mouth of the Yarra river. 

Being a protected industry at the time, he was ineligible to serve in the armed forces.  He began making pottery full-time at Fern Tree Gully in 1944 after the war ended.  Allan worked in KiaOra Parade Fern-Tree-Gully for many years with a simple kick wheel built by his father out of parts from an old petrol bowser. His earthenware was characterised by earthy tones and simple abstract forms

The Ferntree Gully Arts  Society had its beginnings over sixty years ago in a letter sent by Allan to the Secretary of the Ferntree Gully Shire, suggesting that an Art Exhibition be held to "develop the cultural and appreciative  level of our residents, and (the money raised) donated to the Red Cross to aid fighting men."

These wheel-thrown ramekins are examples of their work. The ones by Allan’s wife Kathleen (Peg) Lowe are slightly smaller than those made by Allan. These ramekins were sometimes accompanied by dishes or saucers also inscribed "Allan Lowe".   Some of the works from the 1970s that were signed 'Lowe' attributed to him were sometimes made by his son Peter Grosvenor Lowe (b 1944).  Peter and wife Marian are artists in Dunolly, Victoria; they both helped Allan and Peg in Fern Tree Gully.  In 1947, Klytie Pate, and Alan Lowe, became the first ceramicists to have their studio pottery purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria. A ginger jar by Pate and a piece by Alan Lowe were the first acquisition of Australian studio work by a state gallery.

Alan’s work combined Chinese forms with Aboriginal motifs.  Allan would sometimes throw earthenware pots and Bill Onus, a well known local Aboriginal artist would paint them.  They worked at "The Hut", an artist's co-operative in Ferntree Gully, where Alan and other artists would show their work and practice life drawing.  Allan is considered to be one of the first potters to have drawn sympathetically on Aboriginal colours, themes and motifs.  Much of his work shows the elegant simplicity of oriental design.  He made several trips to central Australia in the 1950s and 1960s to draw inspiration from the indigenous people there.

Aboriginal-style imagery was immensely popular in Australia after the Second World War when local designers, and Australians at large, were searching for a national cultural identity. Australia's Indigenous heritage provided a rich source of inspiration. Designers and craftspeople alike looked towards Indigenous art, particularly to rock art, to source and modify motifs to suit contemporary fashions. The result was a stylised imagery that often blended the colours of the desert landscape with forms of cross-hatching and references to dot painting, native plants and animals, animal footprints, spears, boomerangs and Aboriginal people themselves. These appeared on the inexhaustible range of domestic wares produced at semi-commercial potteries in Australia in the 1950s.

The Pottery Group of the Warrandyte Mechanics Institute and Arts Association was formed following a talk by Alan Lowe from the Ferntree Gully Arts Society 1955.  Allan and Klytie Pate were both awarded a Bronze medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics Art Festival, and, in 1979, Alan was made a Fellow of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts.

 A retrospective of his work was held by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1979, the year he ceased work.   Some of his work, and a set of his wife Peg’s ramekins are also held by Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, but they don't call them ramekins. The Potters Cottage in Warrandyte started in 1958 after a visit from Allan. Sadly it is no longer what it used to be.  Allan died at the age of 93 in 2001.


  1. Hi from Sydney.

    I just arrived home with 16 ramekins!

    6 by Peg and the others by Allen.

    I put them out all together and they made me smile.

    The colours are great!

    They are three different sets:

    -Peg's six are different colours
    -Four of Allen's are of different colours
    -Three coloured pairs by Allen

    Someone had bought them and put them all together.There were no plates unfortunately.

    I note the Powerhouse has a set of six by Peg that they say are from c. 1935.

    I did not know that they were that early.

    They are certainly nicer than the Martin Boyd sets that I collected in the 80's. More sturdy too! No nast chips!

    Many thanks for your blog. I've enjoyed reading the information above.

    You're right the Peg versions are smaller. In fact the three sets are each a different size.

    I did not know abot the Kozminsky exhibitions.

    Thank you again.


    Kevin G

  2. Peg Lowe was my aunt. I would be fascinated to see any work by her! I didn't know she was a potter, it was always Alan who had the fame

    1. Hello I have just found a piece of peg Lowes pottery at the Salvation Army Op Shop. It is a lovely cornflower blue drip glaze casserole pot with a floral and leaf 3D clay Motif on top :)