Moby Dick Series (Five-Piece Set).
California: Vernon Kilns, (c. 1938-1940). Dinnerware showcasing the rare colors in which this series was produced. The five pieces include two chop plates, one in blue, and one, especially rare, in pink; one luncheon plate in yellow; and a teacup and saucer in yellow featuring transfer-print pictorial illustrations of "Moby Dick." Produced by the Los Angeles-based Vernon Kilns between 1938 and 1940, this set is part of the dinnerware series designed by the traveler, writer, painter, and illustrator Rockwell Kent inspired by Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Kent is especially known for his illustrations, which convey his love of travel and adventure. In 1930, Kent designed the book jacket and 280 illustrations for an edition of Melville's classic novel, and these later served as the inspiration for the dinnerware designs. According to Maxine Feek Nelson, author of Collectible Vernon Kilns, "Moby Dick" was the most popular dinnerware set that Kent designed for Vernon Kilns. The chop and dinner plates depict a whaling ship in full sail, leaning toward the viewer from the force of the wind, as the crewmen row out to face a whale. Two gulls glide overhead. The saucer features a similar image of a ship sailing away, surrounded by a sunburst pattern. The plates are encircled by the striped border that is characteristic of this pattern. The teacup is decorated with a design of several ships that wraps around the cup. The bottom of each piece is stamped with the name of the pattern, Rockwell Kent's signature, and "Vernon Kilns." Kent's designs were executed on shapes designed by Vernon Kilns master artist Gale Turnbull, and the upside-down handle on the teacup is characteristic of this series. The plates and saucer are coupe-shaped, with dipped rims. Chop plates measure 12 inches, dinner plate measures 9 1/2 inches, saucer measures 6 1/4 inches. (Item ID: 22454)
(Nelson, Collectible Vernon Kilns 186)