Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gale Turnbull’s Coastline Dinnerware for Vernon Kilns

I’ve already declared my love of maps here--and now look what I found:  maps on plates!   The Coastline pattern by Vernon Kilns, from the late 1930s.
Vernon Kilns Coastline-- Michigan dinner plate
I’ve mentioned Gale Turnbull and Vernon Kilns before here when I talked about Don Blanding’s Lei Lani and Hawaiian Flowers patterns.   These plates date to about the same time (1936/1937) and were apparently designed by Turnbull himself.  He seems to have had a taste for the ocean, as he designed this pattern as well as the ‘Marine’ pattern, which depicted sailing ships, coastal towns and other nautical scenes.

Louisiana and Long Island
When I found these plates they were all lined up on plate stands and at first I couldn’t quite tell what they were.  And then I recognized Long Island!   The fragments of coastline are abstracted to the point where, at first glance, even the most familiar locations seem strange (especially when not in a north-south orientation!).
Two California plates--San Francisco and Los Angeles
I have seven 8 ½ inch plates (salad? lunch?) and one larger 9 ½ inch plate.  The design is hand painted (though I would guess that the lettering of the place names was a transfer).  The pattern was used on several sizes of plates and bowls as well as cups and saucers, tumblers, a carafe and other pieces.
Cape Cod
Delaware and New Jersey
There seems to be a shamefully scant amount of information on this pattern.  The book on Vernon Kilns gives a very partial list of the breakdown of what section of coastline is shown on which pieces, and a few images--but I have not found much else (one more image in California Pottery).
Detail of San Francisco
Are there pieces that cover the entire US coastline?  I have seen plates of Florida, but they were in awful condition so I didn’t buy them (which I kind of regret now). What about Maine?  The Chesapeake Bay?  Northwest Coast?  Were the American territories depicted (because you know I’d give my left leg for Hawaii!)?  Could I collect all the pieces and lay them out like a giant outline of the country?  That would make me really happy, it would be like collecting Star Wars cards and I would have to get them all.

Mark on the Michigan dinner plate--the smaller plates just say 'Coastline' and do not identify the location
I have duplicates of some plates and I will offer those in my shop.  Meanwhile, the hunt continues for more Coastline!  Feel free to be in touch through my website if you can point me in the right direction.

© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg


  1. These are incredible and absolutely the last thing this dish-a-holic needs to know are in existence. What an amazing score!!

    1. Tell me about it--one more pattern to obsess over! Stay tuned for posts about other fun dishes...

      Thanks for stopping by!

    2. I have a 9" Long Island bowl and a round 13.5" Louisiana platter that belonged to my grandmother. I have no idea of the value of these items. I also have an "Aquarium Aloha Don Blanding Vernon Kilns" bowl. Though I have found similar bowls online from this artist and company, I haven't found this exact bowl that has a dark green fish design.

  2. JKOwner, those sound like lovely pieces! If you are ever interested in selling them, please do let me know.

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  4. I have the Louisiana, but as a bowl, how much do you think it would be worth?