"Florida" pattern cup and saucer
Frank G. Holmes ( American, 1878 - 1954 )
Lenox China ( American, 1906 )
- designed 1922
Floral designs were very popular for tableware in America during the first quarter of the 20th century. Some international tableware and glassware lines, including Wedgwood's Prairie Flowers (1996.154.2) and Salviati's Cawcia (2002.27.2), were specifically made to accommodate the American preference for more traditional styles with floral decoration. Conservative design tastes appeared so widespread that Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover declined the French government's invitation to the United States to participate in the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) in Paris. The future president reasoned that American designers had not produced products in the "modern" taste. Despite Secretary Hoover's broad statement, exceptions like Holmes' Florida cup and saucer (1995.134.2.a-b) were created, according to the artist, "[to meet] the modern desire for more vivid coloring."
The Florida pattern was introduced in 1922 and was applied to over one hundred different shapes. The illustrated cup and saucer shape was likely designed between 1905 and 1908; the plate shape is even earlier. Unlike many Lenox patterns with traditional design references, which remained popular for many years, patterns with a florid style like Florida were short-lived and disappeared completely from Lenox's offerings when hundreds of patterns were eliminated after World War II.
Charles L. Venable, Ellen P. Denker, Katherine C. Grier, Stephen G. Harrison, China and Glass in America, 1880-1980: From Tabletop to TV Tray (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000), 455, cat. 147.
DMA unpublished material, Label text, 2017.