George and Madeline Smith’s Minneapolis home is decorated with furnishings and objects that speak to their rich family heritage. George is the third generation to head the family’s flour milling factory, and Madeline, a native of Ohio, owns an art gallery in the city’s historic riverfront district. In their sentimentality for the past, the Smiths regretted only that they didn’t have space to show their collection of Roseville Pottery.
When the Smith’s youngest son, Joel graduated from college, married, and set up house on his own, the fifty-something couple were presented with an opportunity. They decided to give over Joel’s ground-floor bedroom to their beloved Roseville.
George’s interest in Roseville began with an eleven-inch ewer with hand-painted palm fronds in the Rozane line—the name Roseville gave to its first line of art pottery— that had been a wedding gift to his grandparents in 1910. Madeline had inherited several pieces from her mother, including two in the highly successful Pine Cone pattern. To these, the Smiths added many more. Their collection of forty-four pieces includes almost thirty patterns ranging from the combed background and high-relief flowers of Peony to the classical styling of Tuscany.
Roseville Pottery (1890–1954) produced ceramics out of Zanesville, Ohio, for more than sixty years, a testament to the company’s ingenuity, creativity, and popular appeal. Most of the Smiths’ collection dates from the 1920s to the 1940s, the patterns resonating with the soulful strength of an American public weathering tough economic times.