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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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, March 9, 2012

Harry & May Davis

Designer Harry and May Davis
Maker Harry and May Davis
Marks Stamped “P” inside “C” to base
Small wheel thrown clay bowl with pale brown glaze to interior of bowl. Flat circular base and slight indent to rim. Flat knife blade handle rising upwards and fixed to upper third of bowl
Condition Very Good

Production Date 1946-1968
Width 77mm
Depth 40mm
Length (with handle) 115mm
Weight 140gm
Volume 120ml
Acquisition Antiques Bazaar Prahran Victoria
Rameking Reference Number HMD 001-00

The Rameking has just returned from a Royal progress / Grand Tour of the North Island of New Zealand. In the language of the locals, “Choice Bro.” Don't laugh, but Harry first learned throwing pottery from Mr Bean. Enough of the levity. You can find heaps about the Davis' on the Internet, particularly at;

Every so often, someone comes along that is head and shoulders above just about everyone else in their chosen profession or craft. Such a person was Harry Clemens Davis (1907-1986). Not to be confused with the more famous and exceptionally collectable Harry Davis from Royal Worcester, Harry was blessed with seemingly boundless energy, a ferocious intellect and prodigious talent, Harry flew through life like a shooting star, amazing just about everyone who saw him work. These ramekins do not really do justice to him as an example of his work. Made after his return from Africa from clay better suited to brickmaking, they are beautifully hand crafted and are a precursor to the one by Peter Stichbury who later worked with Michael Cardew in Africa that is on display at Te Papa Museum in Wellington. They only have one, the Rameking has this set of four.

Rameking Rule. Don't just collect the man, collect from the man who learned from the master. Old proverb, Nothing is taught, everything is learned. What follows is just a brief outline of the life and work of a couple to whom no brief outline can do justice. I would love to put much more in about them but I will leave it up to you to chase up more.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the standard and quality of production of English pottery was at its height. Into this world came young Harry Clemens Davis, firstly at Poole Pottery, in Dorset originally “Carters Industrial Tile Manufactory”. Poole just outside Bournemouth is relatively near to Harry's birthplace of Glamorgan in Wales. Harry was the son of Harry James Davis, a typewriter salesman and his wife Annie Marie Davis.  Jesse Carter, the founder of Poole, Harold and Phoebie Stabler, together with John and Truda Adams began producing the well known popular and highly collectible art deco art pottery there in 1921. The thirties were the heyday of Poole. Into this environment came enthusiastic young Harry Davis. He learned much from Poole, particularly the Stablers who had long experience in most facets of pottery and its decoration. He also worked at the Broadstone Potters, a short lived company (1928-1934) who produced a range called “Joyous”. Harry was a decorator and all round general hand..

After learning quickly, Harry moved on to work with Bernard Leach in 1933 at the Leach Pottery in the Cornish town of St Ives, that still operates today. (Both the pottery and the town). Bernard is considered to be the doyen of studio art pottery, although it is unlikely that he was at the pottery during Harry's time there as Bernard was touring Europe at the time and Harry was running the pottery. It was at the Leach Pottery that Harry met May Scott, a student. They married in 1938 on his returning to England after moving to the Achimota School, where in 1937 Harry had taken a position as Head of the Art School. Founded in 1924 it was formerly Prince of Wales College and still operates in Accra, Ghana.

Harry remained there, separated from May until 1942 when Michael Cardew replaced him as Head of the Art Department. May had moved to Peru and Hary went there briefly until philosophical differences with the group May was with led to their return to Cornwall. It was during Michael's tenure in Africa that Peter Stichbury went to Africa to learn local techniques. When the war finished, Harry and May bought an ancient mill in the Cornish town of Praze an Beeble near Crowan, Cornwall, hence their stamp of the letter “P” inside the letter “C” for Crowan Pottery. Praze is the largest village in the parish.

For the next twenty years they ran the Crowan Pottery succesfully until Harry decided to move to New Zealand. Having survived World War II, Harry was fearful of a nuclear war and wanted to get as far away from it as possible. NZ was that place. Harry, May and their children arrived with fifteen tons of Luggage following by boat. He picked Nelson as the place to be because of its pottery industry and availability of raw materials needed to make pottery. He became a naturalized New Zealander shortly afterwards. They started a new pottery that they called “Crewenna”. St Crewenna's is the Parish Church in Crowan, Cornwall. Just as an aside, Cornwall is full of places names after saints that no-one else has ever heard of. Harry rigged up the waterwheel to generate the electricity needed to operate the pottery. He could turn his hand to just about anything.

Their daughter Nina graduated from Canterbury university and joined them at the pottery in Nelson. Having inherited her fathers inquiring mind, she went to England to work with Ray Finch (1914-2012) at Winchcombe Pottery in Gloucestershire. She also went to South America to work with her parents. After her marriage in 1978, she and new husband moved back to New Zealand where they opened the Nina Davis Pottery at Hira near Nelson.

After a few years, Harry's itchy feet got the better of him and it was off to South America again. This time in 1972 to Izcuchaca in Peru. It was an aid project to set up an industry for the indigenous people in the high Andes. Harry traveled extensively on fund raising lecture tours in Australia and the United States. The project finished in 1979 and both Harry and May returned to Nelson in poor health. Harry died in 1986 and May died in 1995.

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