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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Nixon Pottery, Sydney NSW.
Nixon Pottery 6a Mabel Street Hurstville
Incised “Jemba 118” to unglazed base
Heart shaped thin-sided slipware bowl with clear gloss overglaze.  One piece moulded handle cast as part of bowl.
Clear overglaze with brown interior. Hand painted Aboriginal motif painted to interior bottom of bowl. 
Good condition.  No chips or cracks.  Some crazing consistent with age to overglaze.

Production Date
Length (with handle)



This slipware ramekin was made in the 1950s and 1960s by the small company, Nixon Pottery 6a Mabel Street Hurstville, Sydney, New South Wales, not far from the quarry in South Hurstville.  It was one of dozens of small potteries operating in Sydney after the Second World War. Its main rival, was the Martin Boyd Pottery, the most significant pottery in Sydney at this time and was responsible for wares decorated with Aboriginal-style motifs. This Nixon ramekin features similar decoration - hand painted in a stylized manner and representing Aboriginal motifs that were a common feature of Australian pottery of the era. 

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. Most European makers had no concept of the inappropriateness of this, nor saw how they trivialized Aboriginal culture.  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 stylized 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.

While some of these domestic wares were made from thrown clay, many were moulded or slipcast and were usually decorated with mix-and-match colours and painted designs. The most popular forms of domestic ware included coffee sets, ramekin sets, dinner sets, and ashtrays and savoury dishes shaped like boomerangs. With restrictions on imports continuing after the war, these items proved immensely popular in Australia and featured in home-living journals, like 'Australian Home Beautiful'. Arising from this trend was an overseas market for Australian wares.  It appears that Nixon, like many other makers, did not need to advertize as it sold direct to stores.  It was these stores that advertized as required.

The pottery was made by "Jemba Pottery Pty Ltd", a short-lived New South Wales company operated by Dallas Raymond Nixon and his wife Betty.  They started out as "Nixons Art Productions" and became a company on the 12th of July 1954.  The company went bankrupt and folded on the 15th of September 1955, possibly due to ill health.  It couldn't have been too bad because Dallas didn't die until 1992.  


  1. Hello! Just wondering how you came across the connection of Jemba being made by Nixon. I have recently come across a little Jemba vase and cannot find any other reference to this pottery. Thank you!

  2. I have identical ramekins to Jemba marked "Nixon" . I will search the collection and publish a photo at some stage.