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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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, February 18, 2012

James Farrell

Not known
James Farrell
Incised “James Farrell” to base
Slipware bowl with long tab handle curving upwards with rounded tip.  Harlequin interior.  Clear glaze to interior and exterior, foot unglazed.
Very Good
No number
Production Date
Probably late 1940s
Length (with handle)
E-Bay Feb 2012
Rameking Reference Number
JFA 001-003

These slipware ramekins are of a similar design to early June Dyson ramekins marked “Lorrant” that were made in the late 1940s.  There were so many small potteries around in those days and many only had a small output.  

Slipware is a decorative technique using slip, which is a liquid mixture of fine clay and water with a mayonnaise consistency.  Used in casting and decoration. the slip can be coloured with oxides or coloured clays and applied to the vessel by dipping or painting, or trailed on like icing on a cake.
These ramekins were made by Victorian artist James Farrell.  Like many artists of his day, James made ramekins to supplement his income from painting.  He was never a big seller (of either ramekins or paintings) and even today his paintings don’t go for that much.  His portrait style is derivative and his landscapes look like either backdrops for an architects plans or primative blobs.  Before you art-nazi’s get excited, at least have a look at them, they are really not that good.
Born in Wangaratta, Victoria on the 17th of August 1902, James Francis Farrell studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne (1929-1932), now The Victorian College of the Arts.   The opening passage in his book says; "For me, life began in 1929, the day I walked into the Drawing School at the Melbourne National Gallery...this, I said to myself, is where I belong."  James was a member of the Victorian Artist's Society and exhibited widely and is well represented in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.  One of his private teachers (1938) was Rupert Bunny. 
Over the course of his life, James held 15 one-man exhibitions.  He had served in the Australian Army during the Second World War with an anti-aircraft battery in Exmouth Western Australia where he developed a love of Australian landscape.  Not only was James a painter, he was also a ceramic artist and watercolourist.  In 1991 he initiated an acquisitive award for self-portraiture to increase the collection of the Castlemaine Art Gallery.  They now have five of his works.  The award is very popular.  James died at the age of 97 in 1999.  There is a self portrait of James, (oil on canvas 50 x 43 cm) painted in 1944 that forms part of the National Gallery collection in Canberra.
James wrote a book Gallery Days : James Farrell recalls His Student Days at Melbourne National Gallery and a War That changed Australia in 1939.  Farrell, James.  ISBN: 0867861371.  It contains pictures of many of his works.  My opinion is that he was a much better ceramist and portrait painter than he was at landscape and literature.  But that’s just me.

James Francis Farrell 1902-1999

1 comment:

  1. I bought a couple of these about 10 years ago in Lorne (for $12, I think) & have always wondered who James Farrell was, so thanks for the biography. Mine are a little deeper & not quite as wide. They are a dark metallic brown on the outside with glazed pastel colours (one green, one yellow) on the inside. They both have a matching saucer (also signed) - but I guess the handle shape suggests that they are ramekins & not cups.....