Our Story

spray booth in the 1800s

The Rookwood Pottery Company has been a staple in the ceramics community since its founding by Maria Longworth Nichols over 130 years ago. When Maria was growing up, women were forbidden to paint on canvas. Refusing to be stifled, Maria’s passion for art fueled her to pursue a loophole to fulfill her dream. She was able to do this by painting on ceramic. Thus, in 1880, the Rookwood Pottery Company was born. Named after the Longworth Family’s estate in Cincinnati, it was one of the first female-owned manufacturing companies in the United States.

Maria enlisted a team of famous artists, talented art students, and glaze technicians, encouraging them to exchange ideas and strive for innovation in the blossoming industry. She believed that the key to creating fine art was to cultivate an environment filled with ideas and inspiration. She succeeded wildly beyond her own dreams. Rookwood soon became a household name with customers and artists alike flocking to be a part of the movement.

Rookwood has seen many artists through its doors, each leaving behind a piece of their artistic spirit that has helped formulate Rookwood’s illustrious foundation in the world of ceramics. Today, we strive to uphold Maria’s pioneering spirit. We ensure that every piece of pottery and architectural tile created at Rookwood is an inspired work of functional fine art. Each piece continues to be handmade today, going through at least thirteen sets of hands from start to finish. Our glazes are tested and lovingly applied to your favorite forms. We take pride in our products, and hope that your Rookwood Pottery piece will be something that you hold near and dear to your heart for years to come. For a small slice of our history, be sure to check out our timeline.