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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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, September 21, 2013

Studio Anna (2)

Karel Jungvirt
Studio Anna
Glazed slipware
Press-moulded gloss-glazed cream coloured slipware with black interior.  Sgraffito to interior of various New Zealand designs.  Raised teardrop shaped footring with unglazed base.
Very Good
No number
Production Date
Late 1950s
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Waverley Antiques Bazaar
20 Sept 2013
Rameking Reference Number
STA 009-012

Not strictly ramekins, more like a bowl with a large curved handle, but close enough for me, these 1950s sgraffito bowls are from Studio Anna.  Although one has a New Zealand Made sticker, it is unmistakably Studio Anna.  The black and white sgraffito and curved teardrop shape is a typical Jungvirt design.  This type of tourist ware was produced throughout much of their life and exported throughout New Zealnd and the Pacific.  Much of this tourist ware was portraying Australian Aboriginals or pseudo-Aboriginal motifs.  These are of New Zealand.

Karel Jungvirt, born 15th August 1927 was a sculptor and artist who had trained in Prgue and Munich before escaping the 1948 Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia and arriving in Australia in late 1951. His pottery career in Australia began in 1952 when, initially employed as a mould maker with Diana Pottery in Marrickville, he was soon designing and making models there.  His skill as a potter won him the Diplome de Honeur and a gold medal at the 1955 Cannes International Exhibition of Modern Ceramics.  Despite much effort from him, he never got the actual medal though.

It was during his stint with Diana that he met Toni Coles, an East Sydney Technical College graduate who had previously been working in commercial advertising, illustrating catalogues. Coles had started working as a ceramic decorator at Diana pottery for what she thought would just be a temporary diversion.

But she enjoyed the work so much that she decided to stay on.  Karel and Toni were married in 1953 and their partnership also became a business one when Karel set up a small pottery in the basement of their flat in Neutral Bay.   When it came to registering their pottery - Studio Anna - as a business, local council restrictions meant that they had to find premises in an industrial zone in order to operate. Thus in April 1954 they moved to Shepherd Street, Marrickville, that was to be the home of Studio Anna until its closure in 1999. During its period of operation the business would expand to include the 2 adjoining properties.

From around 1954, orders came to Studio Anna as a result of its displays within the Ceramic Art and Fine Ware Association exhibitions. These were held at Anthony Horderns' Fine Art Gallery in Anthony Horderns' Department Store. A major exhibition of Australian ceramics by a number of potteries at Proud's store in Sydney to coincide with the Melbourne Olympics, also generated healthy sales for Studio Anna.
Following World War 2, Sydney became a popular holiday destination, particularly for American and European tourists.  Karel capitalised on the resulting demand for souvenirs with an Australian theme by creating slipcast decorated earthenware ceramics designed specifically for this market.  Ceramics decorated with local scenes and Aboriginal themes were particularly sought after by both tourists and locals - thus adaptations of Aboriginal cave and bark paintings as well as images of Aboriginal people became popular (for Studio Anna and a number of other commercial potteries) throughout the 1950s and 60s.

Souvenir shops as such did not exist in Sydney in the 1950s, so Jungvirt approached Swain's Newsagency as a potential stockist for Studio Anna ware. This was a smart move because the extended trading hours allowed to a small number of businesses, including newsagencies.  At this time meant that Studio Anna ceramics would be available to the tourist market when department stores and gift shops were closed.   Studio Anna was then employing a number of skilled artists as decorators.

Several of these artists would make personal appearances in department stores, demonstrating their decorating skills and generating further interest in Studio Anna ceramics. Toni Jungvirt in particular travelled as far afield as Tasmania and Queensland making well publicised in-store appearances, often over the period of a week.

At its peak, Studio Anna employed over 30 staff and by 1957 their ceramic ware was not only distributed widely in Australia, but was also being exported to such places as Tahiti, New Zealand, Fiji, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. But 1957 also saw a major blow dealt to Studio Anna and other commercial potteries in the form of the Australia-Japan Agreement on Commerce negotiated by Australian Trade Minister in the Menzies government, John 'Black Jack' McEwan.  This agreement opened the doors for a mass of cheap Japanese ceramics to enter the Australian market.  Many local commercial potteries producing hand-decorated ware, were forced out of business by this competition, but Studio Anna's decorating department, with a reduced staff, managed to survive. 

In the late 1960s, with public demand for Studio Anna's range of souvenirs increasing, Karel Jungvirt took the step of opening his own souvenir shop, which he named Australiana, in Sydney's newly built Australia Square. Such was the popularity of this store, which in addition to ceramics also carried craftwork made by an Aboriginal mission station and tea towels designed by Studio Anna artists (along with toy koalas and kangaroos), that eventually a total of five Australiana stores were operating in the Sydney area, including one in the MLC centre.

In addition to its decorative souvenirs, Studio Anna was also catering for the cookware market. Introduced around the early 1960s, possibly as an Australian answer to Corning Ware (which came out in 1958), a range of decorated cookware called Pyro-Ceracraft was developed. Available in a wide selection of designs and described as oven tableware, this range of heat resistant ceramics included casserole dishes, pie dishes and ramekins and was designed to be attractive enough to be brought straight from the oven to the dinner table. As such, matching salt and pepper shakers, table heaters and candle holders also formed part of the range.
With hand decorated ceramics becoming less and less cost effective for Studio Anna, Jungvirt's next innovation was Fiana ware. Appearing in about the mid 1970s, Fiana ware was a range of glazed kitchen storage canisters with matching salt and pepper shakers, cruet sets, jugs and sugar bowls available in such contemporary colours as antique orange, citrus yellow, olive gold and orange red. Instead of hand painted decoration though, decals (transfers) were now being used. Studio Anna's decorating department continued to operate, only closing in 1982 when Toni Coles left the business.

When kitchenware was no longer in demand and with the introduction of duty free shops taking the tourist market from Australiana stores, Karel decided to diversify once more. Catering to the hotel and serviced apartment market in Sydney, Studio Anna started producing glazed lamp bases, even exporting them to Japan. They also took one-off commissions, which included tiled panels and a jug and decanter set commemorating the centenary of the NSW Government Expedition to Lord Howe Island in 1882.

In 1999 after many years of illness, during which time he still managed to run the business, Karel Jungvirt finally sold the pottery, returning to Czechoslovakia where he died the following year.


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