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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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, November 11, 2011


The Old Denby Factory

Albert Colledge
Denby Pottery
Almost illegibly stamped “Peasant Ware England” in black to base.  
Wide, low sided slipware bowl with large loop handle.  Pink interior with grey exterior.  Semi-gloss glaze over entire body except footring. 

Production Date
Early 1950s
Length (with handle)
Waverley Antique Market  7 Nov 2011.
Rameking Reference Number
DEN 001
DEN 002
DEN 003

Available in Australia at the upper end of the market, Denby pottery comes from a 200 year old English company in Denby, Lancashire.     They originally made china, porcelain and stoneware tableware, as well as branching out into glassware and cooking utensils.  A body of clay was discovered in 1806 during roadworks and two locals, Jacob and Brohier began making stoneware bottles.  Later, in 1815, local businessman William Bourne and his sons John and Joseph took over.  William came from a family of potters.  They later took over a couple of other potteries and named the company "Joseph Bourne and Company", a name that endured.  Their pottery is usually marked "Bourne Denby England.

Expanding rapidly because of the new railways criss-crossing England, they dug 25 tons of clay daily to be used in their patented kilns.  Denby produced a huge range of pottery during the 19th Century, from ink wells to water filters and everything in between, producing decorative as well as utilitarian wares in clay, slip and terra-cotta

Denby continued to make decorative homewares until the early 1950s when they then began to concentrate on tablewares, such as these ramekins, wartime restrictions being recently lifted.  Designed by Albert Colledge (1891-1972) in 1951, this “Peasantware” pattern is an example.   It is claimed that they can withstand oven temperatures, but I wouldn’t try it, just in case.  Ramekins are intended to be used to cook food in, but, due to their age and rarity, don’t risk it.  These are earlier than their “Oven to Table” ware and are described as being “tough, ovenproof and long lasting”.  An early Denby catalogue shows "egg poachers" but are clearly ramekins.  

Glyn and Albert Colledge 1948

Like many companies in the 1980s, Denby was taken over.  In 1987 they were bought by the Coloroll group, an English home furnishings company from Manchester who themselves went into receivership in 1990.  Unwilling to let the company die, Denby was then subject to a management buyout by the Managing Director and a few other executives, and subsequently publicly floated in 1994; it was a bargain.  Bought for 6 million, it floated for around 40 million, although a lot went to pay off debt.  Today, Denby still produce a wide variety of products including fine china and porcelain, as well as that old staple, stoneware.

 Since the management buyout, Denby has purchased other companies such as Burgess, Dorling & Leigh, Poole and Leeds Pottery.  Since then, they have opened many more retail outlets and increased staff.  As well as pottery, they also make cast-iron products.

Denby now sells into more than thirty countries including Japan, South Korea, North America and China.  In 2011 export sales increased over 30%.  Despite this increase in exports, production remains in the UK.  A new distribution warehouse is planned, as is a new visitor centre, shopping centre and hotel are well progressed.

The handles on this range are a large folded loop.  Not too many other makers used this design, although you can see similar handles on some of the later Diana (U63) ramekins and many of Charles Wilton's ramekins.  Design copyright by the Australians seems to have been viewed as somewhat flexible in those days.

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