Countdown to Mother's Day - VI


Dutch Twenties Vase with Hand-Painted Floral Motif (LEO Design)


We're counting-down the days to Mother's Day with an assortment of thoughtful gifts for the important women in our lives.  Order early and be sure to request gift boxing, if you'd like it.  We can also ship directly to your mother, possibly saving a few days in-transit.  (Please be sure to specify your desired greeting for an enclosure card to accompany your gift.)

Decorating pottery is an age-old art form.  The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were hand-painting pottery thousands of years ago.  Add to that list the Chinese and the Pre-Columbian Americans (North, Central and South).  In the last 500 years, stunning examples of painted ceramics were to be found in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and Germany.   Bohemia, Austria, and England produced great decorated pottery in the Nineteenth Century.  And the Dutch had a centuries-long practice of well-painted ceramics.  One immediately thinks of the Netherland's blue and white "Delftware," their attempt to duplicate the sublime and fashionable (and costly) Chinese ceramics which the Dutch might otherwise have imported from Asia.

Around the turn of the Twentieth Century, multiple ceramics makers in the Dutch city of Gouda began to make a distinctive, hand-painted ceramics, for the local market, for tourists and for export.  What became known as "Gouda Ware" beautifully exploited the Art Nouveau and (later) Art Deco aesthetics.  The city of Gouda had a pretty long history of ceramics production, starting with clay pipes in the 1700's.  The cheerful, decorated, early Twentieth Century pieces proved lucrative and remain collectable to this day.  Form and firing was important, of course, but most of all, the painted decoration became the barometer by which pieces would be measured.

The piece above, made in the late 1920's, has a relaxed, Mediterranean sensibility—as though it had come from Italy, Spain or Portugal.  The warm colors—including a sun-baked terra-cotta glaze—transport me to a breezy summer day, relaxing on a sunny terrace, high above the sea.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.

More nice Mother's Day gifts tomorrow and in the days to come.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248