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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Martin Boyd

Boyd ain’t necessarily Boyd
These ramekins are incised "Martin Boyd" to the base. Many people can be confused by this and think that Martin was another of the Boyds’, but Martin is actually one of Guy Boyd's middle names. Why did he choose to use his name on these items? Who knows. In 1946, while he was studying at the East Sydney Technical College, he worked at night with Norma Flegg in her basement pottery at 21 Waters Road Cremorne in Sydney. They originally used the name “Guy Boyd” incised on the base, but in 1948, they began using the name “Martin Boyd” after Norma’s husband Leonard joined the company. Don't think that Guy did much throwing either, Most of the work was done by Les Collins who had come across from Fowlers.  Les kept working away at the same old wheel until they closed in 1964.  Guy returned to Victoria in 1950 but the company continued to use the name until it ceased production in 1964. They developed their own high quality glazes and at its height, employed up to eighty people. They also used a variety of other names as they produced pottery for department stores and commemorative wares. Many of the ramekins I have that are signed as Martin Boyd are smaller than his "Guy Boyd" ones. There are larger ones with the same signature most with reverse matching colours. These are typical 1950's pastel coloured interiors that contrast with their coloured exteriors. So there it is folks. Just because it says Boyd on the bottom, legally they are still Boyd even though Guy never came within hundreds of miles of them. Collect them just the same, the signature will eventually be worth something, even though from 1950 on, no Boyd ever signed them .

For the past year or so, I had seen this boxed set of Martin Boyd ramekins in an antique market in Adelaide.  I was not prepared to pay their asking price, but realized that I would probably never see another set like it, so on a recent visit, I haggled the price and got them for less.  They were sold by Claude Phillips Sarre a Jeweler in Adelaide, South Australia.  He was born in Adelaide in 1892 and died there in 1982, aged 90, having retired at age 89.  Claude was a keen athlete and sponsored the “Claude Sarre Cup” running event for many years. Claude’s son Brian continued on before retiring and selling the business in 1997.  The business continues in Gawler Place, Adelaide.


  1. I love these also and have quite a few. The glossiness of the glaze appeals to me as much as the colours.

  2. hi there rameking-----My name is Owen---I have been collecting ramekins for about 15 years---they are fantastic---particularly the aust ones---they crop up fairly regularly around the tip-shops of Hobart.Im interested to read that Hoffman is a woman--I found an interesting Isobel the other day--only one --I think the thumb groove in the handle is exquisite---the ultimate in comfort.I have a whole room full of ramekins that I intend to exhibit one day!--trouble is I have trouble actually getting into the spare room to look at them.Love your photos etc.Cheers.Owen

  3. Thanks for your comment. Its nice to know that there is someone else out their in blogland that appreciates these little bowls. I don’t know where you got the idea that Hoffmans was started by a woman. As far as I know they were started by Jenkin Collier, David MacKenzie and brothers Barry and William Owen who in 1870 established the Hoffman Patent Brick and Tile Company (later renamed the Hoffman Patent Steam Brick Company) . There was no Mr Hoffman in Australia associated with the company. The name came from the Hoffman steam brick making process invented by Freidrich Hoffman in Stettin, Prussia, now in Germany.

    I have found that the Rameking Central Archive is best stored in those plastic six compartment underbed storage containers with the little wheels underneath that can be purchased fron the el-cheapo stores.

    I am always interested in growing my collection so if you have anything that is surplus to requirements that you cannot see on my blog, I may be interested. One of the makers that I do not have but would love to get is John Campbell. I was in Tasmania a couple of years ago which cost me a fortune in excess baggage fees to get my finds home, but no Campbell.

  4. Hello Rameking, we have three ramekins up for sale on ebay, they are the same as the yellow one in your picture with the distinctive flared and low slung hande, however all of ours are signed Guy Boyd and we have advertised them as pre 48 instead of post 52 ( as you know he went back to having 'Guy Boyd' instead of Martin Boyd on his pottery made in his Melbourne factory) for the simple reason I have not found a single image of a post 52 ramekin signed 'Guy Boyd' with the same distinctive handle and inward sloped bowl shape. Are you able to help confirm the pre or post issue with this particular ramekin shape at all please, as I do like to advertise products accurately, I have done a lot of research and yet cannot find anything specific. Thank you for your time. Kind regards. Ric.

  5. I will have to get quasi-legal here and say that at best, my answer is on the balance of probability, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. On the balance of probability, it is reasonable to assume that because Guy sold the rights to the name "Martin Boyd" along with his share in the pottery in late 1952, early 1953, he would have retained the rights to "Guy Boyd" which he used in Bentleigh. Therefore, Norma and Leonard would not have been able to mark their ramekins as "Guy Boyd" after this separation. I suspect that the reason for him selling the name "Martin Boyd" was so that each pottery could still produce works with the Boyd name. I hope this is of help.

  6. I have a set of 6 with matching saucers too. Not in the original box like yours. Hardly ever see the ramekins with the saucers.

  7. Can you please advise if the Martin Boyd ramekins are oven proof and whether there is a temperature limit for them.

  8. These ramekins were made back in the pre-microwave era. The materials used were not the same as those today. To be safe, I would not use them in an oven. I never have. They are best used these days for chips and dips and nuts and provide a good talking point at parties.