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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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.


Friday, July 10, 2009


Miloslav and Damgmar Kratochvil
Incised to base “Elis 72” in brown underglaze.
Matte glazed clay
Mould formed triangular ramekin with moulded handle incorporated into the body.    Slight lipped rim and small footring.  Matte grey glaze over light brown underglaze exposed by sgraffito bamboo style angled lines to exterior
Very good
No 72 on base with signature.
Production Date
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Antique Market Canberra
January 2013
Rameking Reference Number

One of these has a light brown glaze sprayed over with a deep bronze.

Miloslav Kratochvil was born on the 18 feb 1918 in Prague Czecoslavakia.  He studied chemistry at university for 2 yrs before working in Czech railways.  He lost that job in the Communist coup following World War 2. Being warned of his imminent arrest, he and Dagmar, then his fiancé fled to Austria.  She was born Dagmar Kraus, in Prague on the 22nd Feb 1910.  She was a ceramic worker.   Miloslav had been married before, but divorced in 1940.  He and Dagmar were married in Austria on the 9th of December 1950, in one of the numerous refugee camps they were moved through.  During this time, he worked as a bricklayer and quarryman.  On arrival in Austria in May 1950 he gave his occupation as chemist and ceramic artist.  They arrived in Melbourne aboard the migrant ship “Fairsea” on the  24th April 1951.  Like many others, they were transported to the Bonegilla Migrant Camp in northern Victoria.  They eventually moved to Collingwood then Abbotsford, both inner Melbourne suburbs in September 1954. Much of their earlier work was incised "MDK".  A lot of this earlier work was still in their home when they died and was sold by their nephew who inherited the estate.  If you want some, it can be purchased from an antique and collectibles store in Dromana.

They were among the group of artists from Europe settled in Australia post-war and were able to educate a generation of Australians to modern art, particularly abstract art.’ Two of these were Miloslav and Dagmar who founded “Ellis Ceramics”. This pottery was set up by them in a small workshop in their yard at 85 Nicholson Street in Abbotsford, Melbourne.  Ellis was said to be a variant of Dagmar’s maiden name, but I am not familiar enough with Slavic languages to match Kraus with Ellis. They began selling to department stores and exporting products to Japan. They marketed this pottery under the Ellis name until the late 1970s.
These sgraffito ramekins are glazed grey over a brown base, and then the surface has been heavily incised to reveal the brown underneath. This is a characteristic feature of Ellis work. Each piece is hand-decorated. The decoration is sgraffito (scratched) Wheat, incised with the signature “Ellis” and the number 72. This ubiquitous grey harvest ware is modernist in style, exhibiting a simplicity of colour, line and form that characterises a lot of work coming out of Europe, especially West Germany, in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Their pieces with greyscale sgraffito decoration are not unlike the work of David and Hermia Boyd.

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