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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wembley Ware


Faint circle with “Wembley Ware” impressed. Flat
base with rhomboid shaped body. Curved sides,
angled outwards from base. Curved overhead
handle. Part of set of four. Described as a ramekin
but more accurately a small serving dish.
Production Date
Approximately 1960
Length (with handle)

Like some of the Sylha suff, these are not really ramekins, but most advertisers on internet auctiob sites think they are.  They were originally Hors d'ouvres sets and were set into a shallow wicker tray.  They are Wembley and are definitely worth getting.

If you look up Ford, you will see myriad marks for the various incarnations of the entities that once were Wembley Ware and allied companies. For the purposes of this entry, I will only refer to the one mark impressed into these ramekins. It is a circle with the words “Wembley Ware” inside. Wembley began in 1938 when the Wunderlich Company merged with H L Brisbane & Co who had taken over Westralian Potteries Ltd in Subiaco in 1927.
The area now known as Ascot Island had been a clay quarry for Perth since the early 20th Century. Wunderlich was a family business started by Ernest, Julius and Frederick Wunderlich. The firm grew into a highly successful company with branches in all Australian States and in Wellington, New Zealand. Wunderlich Ltd was the first Australian firm to introduce a 44 hour week without a pay reduction (1908) and in 1914 started a profit-sharing scheme for employees. Between 1940 and 1944, Asbestos Mines Pty Ltd was owned by Wunderlich Ltd.
Homewares were first developed pre Wembley around 1927 when Flora Landells established her Studio Pottery, learning from Frederick Piercy, owner of the Westralian Pottery Company. During World War II they catered for shortages of domestic ware. Her husband Reg died in 1960 and her pottery was closed, and Wembley only survived another 12 months.
In 1946 Brisbane and Wunderlich created a range of decorative homewares called Wembley Ware. The range was H.L. Brisbane’s idea. Their first product was the cruet set. To avoid paying a high sales tax the piece was fashioned into a salt and pepper shaker and a mustard dish. Post war tax on utilitarian pottery was lower than decorative ware. These sets proved to be very popular, and many more pieces of tableware and other wares made.
Brisbane and Wunderlich were then based in Subiaco and were the biggest commercial ceramics company in Australia at the time, even exporting to New Zealand. The company, also owned Bristle Tiles. Over the next three decades Lance Brisbane built the company into a large and diversified manufacturing enterprise, moving into stainless-steel products, clay sewer-pipes, porcelain, high temperature refractory bricks, aluminium fabrication, building cladding and plastics. In the 1990s Brisbane and Wunderlich sold out to Australian Fine China. This was long after its Wembley Ware range ended in 1961.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Karl Duldig

Karl Duldig
Karl Duldig
Incised KD with K inside D
Hand thrown clay bowl with flat base.  Brown glaze brushed onto interior.  Exterior clear gloss glaze including base.  Natural clay colour to exterior.  Folded rod of clay pinched onto side of bowl.

Production Date
Length (with handle)
Salvo Store, Hastings, Victoria
Australian Pottery at Bemboka

Karl Duldig was an Australian sculptor, ceramicist, painter, printmaker and teacher. The type of work he produced was early modernist, expressive and mostly figurative sculpture and bas-reliefs.   The materials he was working in were stone, wood, clay/terracotta, copper and bronze and others.  He also produced extensive work in graphic mediums: pen and ink, pencil, woodcuts, watercolour and oil and stained glass.  

Born in Przemysl, Poland, on the 29th December 1902, to Marcus Duldig and his wife Adele (Nebenzahl) Karl moved to Vienna with his family in 1913.  In his youth he was an outstanding sportsman, won the Austrian table-tennis championship, played international soccer and was a highly ranked tennis player.

In 1921, he became a student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna where he worked for three years under the noted Austrian sculptor Anton Hanak. His work was chosen to represent the institute in major national and international exhibitions. In 1922-24 he visited London, Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, Lemberg, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem. In 1931 he did a study tour in Italy and France. In 1926 he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and from 1929 to 1933 he was a member of the Academy's prestigious Master School in Sculpture under Professor Josef Müllner. After his graduation he shared a studio with Dr Arthur Fleischmann, worked on private commissions and exhibited in the Künstlerhaus and the Secession.

Karls wife was the inventor of the small folding umbrella.  In 1928 Slawa Horowitz was a student studying sculpture at the Academy of Visual Arts, Vienna, when she decided to develop a more practical umbrella.  Slawa spent many months developing it in secret before she applied for and received a patent on 19 September 1929 for a folding umbrella.   Slawa was paid royalties till 1938. She and her husband, the sculptor Karl Duldig, left Vienna in the same year and fled to Switzerland. In 1939 she sold her rights to the company "Bruder Wuster".

After a short period in Switzerland the family arrived in Singapore in 1939. There, Duldig completed major commissions for the Sultan of Jahore and Aw Boon Haw, the Tiger Balm King. The eminent author and historian Robert Payne was his friend and among his patrons.  The Duldig family were then deported by the British to Australia in 1940 aboard the “Queen Mary”, arriving in Sydney on the 25th September.  Shortly after their arrival, they were interned in Number 3 Camp, Tatura, Victoria as “detained refugees” after he was declared an “Enemy Alien”.  They were there for two years.

Even in the internment camp, Duldig practiced sculpture by carving eucalypt logs with an axe. After his release from Tatura internment camp in 1942, he worked for the army with the Eighth Employment Company. He produced carvings from large potatoes while working in the kitchen there, including Mother and child, one of three of these works that survived, having been cast into plaster made available to him by a sympathetic commander, Captain Edward (Tip) Broughton.

From 1943-45 he was employed in the war industry and then as a lithographer for Victory Publicity. From 1944-60 he conducted a studio pottery business.  Karl became a naturalized Australian citizen in 1946.

From late in the war onwards, “hundreds of coffee sets, ramekins, ashtrays and decorative ware being turned, finished, decorated and glazed” in the Duldigs’ kitchenette. Every spare minute went into filling orders. Karl had a kick-wheel built to his own design. They bought an electric kiln on time payment, setting it up in the garage of the flat. They sold their first stock through a local florist and later at specialist outlets, the most significant being the Primrose Pottery Shop in the heart of the city.

The demand for anything and everything was strong because of wartime shortages and later because imports of crockery and china were limited by the need to reduce the trade deficit. The pent-up demand for tableware was so great that shoppers smashed windows in January 1947 when a Sydney store advertised a shipment of plain utility services.  The domestic pottery trade earned the Duldigs sufficient income to buy a two-door Morris 8 in 1948.

The suburban sprawl that stimulated the demand for bricks and tiles as well as table-ware also locked up the land from which clay could be extracted. Duldig’s search for materials was wide-ranging. Helen Bond reports that he dug his own clay at Wye River, to the west of Port Phillip Bay, where his family holidayed from 1945 to 1952. This source “produced dark brown earthenware, ideal for contrasting with light and dark blue glazes or under-glaze colours, and suitable for hand built vessels such as vases, or an unusual coffee set”. To keep up with demand, the Duldigs also bought prepared clays. A white variety went into their “Rose Ware” line.

The bulk of their supplies came from Camperfield Quarry, which was “distinguished by its plasticity, and was invaluable for producing finely turned dishes and generally suitable for all types of functional ware”. In the 1960s, for his terracotta sculptures, he turned to a more pink clay, dug from local drainage works.   This search for suitable clays brought him closer to his new land, as he dug beneath its surface. Karl and Slawa also experimented with colours and glazes, all in short supply until the 1950s.

Four patterns predominated on their ceramics. Slawa developed the rose decoration, which, like the flower itself, owed debts to China and England. Attached to Britain as their “Mother Country”, Australians looked on the rose as their own emblem, whether in their gardens or on their crockery. After the shops rejected Duldig plates with crazing in their glaze, Swala sponged colour onto those surfaces, replicating a Chinese technique they had seen in Singapore. Her adaptations of middle-European folk patterns offered the brightness for which buyers craved after years of military drab, yet she avoided the rawness of the Mexicana resorted to even by art potters. 

Karl’s employment of native flora was less innovative since the great potteries – Doulton and Rosenthal – had long known that local wildflowers sold well here.  His treatment of Aboriginal designs was distinguished by his pursuit of originals in the Melbourne Museum, and his sgraffito retained their detailing within an eccentric symmetry, recalling classical Greek pots. In lesser hands, abstracted Aboriginal motifs were appearing as the crudest simplifications on every commodity, from tea towels to Venetian blinds, and never more so than for the tourist trade during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Karl Duldig's professional achievements in Australia spanned many facets of the arts. He was Director of Art at Mentone Boys Grammar School from 1945 to1967;  founding and Honorary Life President of the Bezalel Fellowship of the Arts; President of the Association of Sculptors of Victoria and Honorary Life Member from 1982.  In 1956 he won the Victorian Sculptor of the Year Award.

Duldig participated regularly in important group exhibitions, including the Mildura Sculpture Triennial, New Influences Newcastle, Olympic Games exhibition Melbourne 1956; 1960 Adelaide Festival; 1961 New Influences, Newcastle; 1961, 1964 and 1967 Mildura Sculpture Prize; 1973 Realities Sculpture Survey Como; 1978,80 and 82 McClelland Gallery; 1979, 1985 Jewish Museum of Australia; 1962 founding president, Ben Uri Society of Arts (later Bezalel Fellowship of Arts); 1968 visited Israel and travelled in Europe, U.S.A. and Mexico; From 1946 member of and regular exhibitor with Association of Sculptors of Victoria; 1977 ASV president; 1982-83 Survey exhibition at McClelland Gallery, Langwarrin, and publication of second monograph Karl Duldig Survey-Sculpture and Graphic Works 1922-1982;  Awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Association of Sculptors of Victoria.  In 1983 he Married Rosie Dorin; 1985 Commission Raoul Wallenberg Monument Kew Junction Melbourne; 1986 Exhibition of drawings: Karl Duldig at Mentone Grammar School 1945-67.

On the 11th Aug 1986 Karl passed away in Melbourne at the age of 83.  From 1986 National Gallery of Victoria presents Annual Lecture on Sculpture in his name.   From 1946 he was also a regular exhibitor with the Association of Sculptors of Victoria and solo shows in Australia included:
- the Outdoor exhibition with Tolarno Galleries in 1969, 
- the Retrospective at the Hawthorn City Gallery in 1975, and
- the Survey exhibition at the McClelland Gallery in 1982-83.

Duldig is represented by significant works held overseas as well as in Australia.  In the Melbourne metropolitan area examples of his work in public places are best seen at the City of Caulfield Municipal Offices;  Melbourne General Cemetery War Memorial;  Council House Little Collins Street;  Kadimah Cultural Centre  Elsternwick;   Kew Junction (Raoul Wallenberg Monument);  St Mary's Church  Altona.  In addition to The Duldig Studio, his work is held by major galleries in Australia including the Australian National Gallery, the Australian War Memorial and the National Gallery of Victoria and by private collectors in many parts of the world. 

The Duldig Studio is now a museum and comprises the residence, sculpture garden and artists' studio of the internationally renowned sculptor Karl Duldig (1902-1986) and his artist-inventor wife, Slawa Duldig (c1902-1975).  The house museum in Malvern East holds an extensive collection of sculptures in terracotta, marble and bronze, paintings, drawings and decorative arts presented in the artists' original home setting.

This has been compiled using a biography that is © 2006 The Duldig Studio.