Colorware History & Design

The Maximalist

Franciscan El Patio

Franciscan El Patio Beverage Set

El Patio Table Ware

Gladding-McBean introduced their first dinnerware line, Franciscan El Patio, under their Franciscan Pottery division in 1934. El Patio initially came in eight colors, and expanded to 18+ in the almost 20 years that the line was produced. The chart below shows the official glazes available throughout the production period. El Patio has been found in different variations of these colors, and the carafe has been seen in black.

Franciscan El Patio Official Color List

Franciscan El Patio Official Color List

While El Patio was available as a “short set” (limited pieces) through 1953, most of the line was discontinued by 1948.

The design of El Patio’s distinctive pretzel handled shaped cups is attributed to Mary Grant. Early cups feature the traditional c-shaped handle. El Patio is notable for its simple, clean design.

The entire line encompasses roughly 100 different pieces – everything from dinnerware to hostessware (cigarette boxes, candlestick holders, etc.). Since it was in production for such a long time, standard pieces El Patio — such as place settings and common serving pieces — are not difficult to find and prices are reasonable. As with all the California pottery produced during the period, beverage sets are very common. El Patio boasts three versions of their popular carafe – one with a wooden handle, one with a pottery handle, and another with a metal holder. Unlike the other pottery companies, carafe lids were sold separately, which is why you may see so many examples without them (or with lids of different colors).

To view some additional examples of El Patio, click here.

A year or two after El Patio hit the market, GMcB began to produce variations of the line.

El Patio Nuevo

El Patio Nuevo was offered in 1935 and featured duo-tone glazes: turquoise/white, yellow/white, and apple green/white. The interior of the pieces are white, with the colored glaze on the exterior. GMcB offered El Patio Nuevo pieces in a subset of the full El Patio line, with only around 30 pieces being produced. The yellow/white combination is most frequently found. El Patio Nuevo was discontinued in 1936.

Padua I & II

Around 1938, GMcB decided to offer a hand-painted line. Using the El Patio shape, they created Padua, which was restyled in 1939 as Padua II (with the original Padua now referred to as Padua I). The pattern is basically the same with Padua I glazed in ivory and Padua II on celadon green. Since this was their first foray into hand-painting, GMcB needed to purchase new equipment to support the lining process (spinning tables that facilitate painting lines on dinnerware items), and hire new staff (primarily women working part-time). Only 30 or so pieces were produced in the pattern, which was likely discontinued around 1942.

 

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