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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Janet Grey

John Barnard Knight
John Barnard Knight
Incised “Janet Grey Studio” to unglazed base.
Small mould formed steep sided bowl with mainly crown shaped ornamented handles angled down the outside.  Harlequin interiors with plain gloss glazed exteriors.
Some age related cracking due to thickness of material.  Crazing to interior glaze.

Production Date
Length (with handle)
Australian Pottery at Bemboka
Rameking Reference Number
BAK 006
BAK 007
BAK 008
BAK 009

In February 1954, the young Queen Elizabeth became the first reigning monarch to visit Australia.  The Rameking was there perched on his fathers shoulders to get a look at the royal couple.  Hard to believe today, but the whole country went crazy during the tour, how some things change.  I still have the small Australian flag that I waved. 

Souvenirs were made and sold by the million and among the seemingly endless flow of tat, were these ramekins made to cash in on the frenzy.  Made to his standard bowl shape with the crown shaped handle added as a bit of relevance, thus making dating easy. 

John Arthur Barnard Knight was born in Warracknabeal, Victoria on the 9th of April 1910.  His parents were Arthur Knight and Mabel Alice Barnard.  He was active from the early 1930s to the late 1970s. During most of this time, he taught pottery at what is now the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Prior to this, he and Klytie Pate had worked at Hoffman following their introduction of “Melrose” ware in 1930. 

John had previously studied art at what was then the School of Applied Art at the Melbourne Technical School; it is now the RMIT University.  He also studied the production methods at the pottery at Hoffmann Bricks in Brunswick and at the nearby Maribyrnong Potteries.  He worked in the studio of Napier Waller from 1932-33.

After graduating, he and Klytie joined the staff, teaching pottery, modelling and drawing.  She left after ten years while he continued on until 1975.  In 1939, he took charge of the Pottery Department. In 1940 he married Isabel Gwenda Grose, one of his students, and they established the Janet Grey Studio at South Yarra. They lived nearby at 43 Thanet Street Malvern. 

He served in the RAF from 1942-1945, then continued to expand the Janet Gray Studio and to re-organise the teaching of pottery at the school, establishing courses for the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, and upgrading classes to certificate and diploma courses in 1949 and 1950. He is best known as an educator, continuing to teach at RMIT until 1975. His own work is signed 'J. A. Barnard Knight (painted or incised).

He was a man of firm opinion. An example of the can be found in “ACROSS THE DITCH:  Australian Ceramics in the Post War Period; It was at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology that Peter Rushforth, who had spent some years as a prisoner of the Japanese, was introduced to Leach's book (A Potter's Book ) by the ceramics teacher Jack Knight. As a firm believer in earthenware, Knight found this interest in stoneware and oriental ceramics difficult to comprehend; he sat outside in the sun reading a newspaper while Hamada demonstrated at RMIT in the 1960s, saying that they were 'always talking about stoneware ... can't understand them.” 

John also had his workshop in Malvern, a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne where he sold his work under several pseudonyms, one of these being "Janet Grey".   I do not know how he arrived at the name, but Dr Janet Grey was responsible for the now defunct milk for school children program in Victoria.  John retired with his wife to Flinders on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. He died in Victoria in 1993. 

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