For several years, I heard about two OF horse ceramics, sculpted by Maureen, that were not produced by herself nor by Hagen-Renaker. No one could identify the age nor the manufacturer, and no one had photos (this is long before camera mobile phones). Until the advent of the internet, sightings were related from collector to collector, like spooky campfire stories. They were the "cryptomolds". In the past six months, I have learned a lot about them. It's not just two sculptures, but four, plus there are mold variations of them all. Note: I am posting these links and pix in the interest of collector education, as I am not affiliated with any of these sources and do not have ads on this blog.
Lane and Company (1950-early sixties)/ Sunkist Ceramics (sold in 1963, reverted to original name by 1965) / Lane Ceramics (a division of Condecor, trademark died in 1974)
Please note that this is not the Lane furniture company. It is best known among collectors for its TV lamps and functional pottery. This company changed names several times in its short run. It also may have changed locations within Los Angeles County, from Van Nuys to Los Angeles, and back to Van Nuys. They are thought to have been both producer and distributor of other factories' items. This might explain why the same molds reappear from the alleged Mexican factory.
This is the base of their first horse TV lamp, not sculpted by Maureen, which is very similar to the inscriptions on the bases of these horse statues.
Maureen was laid off from Hagen-Renaker during their 1960-1962 hiatus, and it is known that she free-lanced. The Running Horse Mold was identified by her as one of her free-lance sculptures, although it is possible she did sculptures for Lane and Company before and after this period. Monrovia and Van Nuys are a straight one-hour drive down the freeway from each other; it would not have been a big deal to transport large originals or waste molds to the factory.
The smallest of these models are "Traditional" size.
Running Horse, OF Lane and Company Ceramics
base underside inscription: (c) Calif. USA A-9
CA factory size not known, approx. 8 3/4" x 12" long
Colors: white clay with purple airbrush shading, green airbrushed grass, and overglaze gold hand painting on eyes, nostrils, body sections, hooves, and accenting grass swathes. Also came in same deco but with charcoal gray body shading on white clay. The third known color is plain solid white with no detail painting, just clear iridescent overglaze.
White iridescent from Goodwill Online
Base of white iridescent
Charcoal gray shaded version in Karen Grimm's collection, scroll halfway down to numbers 18 and 19.
Facing Right Rearing Extra Branch Mold, OF Lane and Company Ceramics
base underside inscription: (c) H-1 Calif. USA
13" tall (Thoroughbred type)
Colors: Yellow mustard translucent glaze with overglaze gold hand painting on eyes, nostrils, mane, tail, body sections, hooves, and accenting grass swathes. There is no green on the grass base, the art glaze covers all.
Base of this OF mold variant and a view of the extra branch between the forelegs
Shown with the "Leg Out" Rearing hobby mold, to emphasize the disparaging sizes and that they are NOT a true pair.
Head breed type
Facing Right Rearing Modified Mold, OF Lane and Company Ceramics
base underside inscription: (c) H-1 Calif. USA
13" tall (Thoroughbred type)
Only color seen so far is a deep auburn translucent art glaze with same gold deco as above. There is no green on the grass base, the art glaze covers all.
Example in Karen Grimm's collection, scroll halfway down:
Facing Left Rearing (I call it the "Leg Out" rearing mold), OF Lane and Company Ceramics
base underside inscription: CALIF USA 239
14 1/4" tall x 14" long (Arabian type)
Only color known so far is white clay with purple airbrush shading, green airbrushed grass, and overglaze gold hand painting on eyes, nostrils, body sections, hooves, and accenting grass swathes.
Link to a Google image:
It is not beyond reason that all of the Lane molds could be ordered in any of those colourways. Let's keep an eye out for the unexpected!
"Mexican" factory OFs
It is my speculation that these may have been distributed by Lane, based on their own molds, but made less expensively in Mexico to remain competitive with the Japanese ceramics flooding into the market at the time. No Lane stickers or boxes have been associated with these horses to date. One collector related a sighting with a "Lane" hangtag, for sale at a Lane Furniture retailer. The name is purely coincidental. Horses glazed by this factory tended to have pendulous excess glaze on their chins and bellies.
Edit 1/24/11: These are actually Lane OF's, see update here.
8 3/4" x 12" long
No inscription, a 5/8" rind or lip underneath, hollow base
Color: white claybody with yellow, rust, and dark brown airbrush shading, no detail painting, and green shading on grass base. Glossy.
Yellow and dark brown shading (personal collection)
Rusty shading (photo courtesy Simrat Khalsa)
Facing Left Rearing (Leg Out) : no inscription, a 5/8" rind or lip underneath, hollow base that has been sculpted taller and with more intricate foliage; the leg is molded in place; head is add-on; 17" tall.
Color: glossy translucent mahogany brown, no detail painting
Shown here with the hobby mold variant to show differences.
These were plaster molds any consumer could purchase and use to pour their own ceramics to decorate at home. As such, these mold variants can be found in any finish, as glazed, cold-painted, or white bisque. Other than unfinished white bisque examples, these would all be classified as "Customs" in the model horse hobby.
Running Horse Hobby Mold has more grass, sculpted in a solid mass between hind legs, up to groin. No inscription, just a 5/8" rind or lip underneath, hollow base. From Goodwill Online:
Facing Left Rearing (Leg Out)
No inscription, a 5/8" rind or lip underneath, hollow base (shorter than "Mexico's") and its left hind leg is an add-on at the hip; head is molded solid with rest of figure; 16" tall, shown above with Mexico OF brown variant.
Large Facing Right Rearing : no inscription, a 5/8" rind or lip underneath, hollow base
25" tall (Morgan type)
This was once thought to be a mechanical enlargement of the 13" tall Rearing Right Horse, but it is a completely different sculpture. The breed type is different, the head is a different sculpture, as is the angle of neck, stifle structure (still correct), and the grass covers more area to counterbalance its heavy forehand. Everything about it is Maureen-esque, and her signature Morgan face is obvious.
Although I did not glaze this one, I identified the glaze as a commercial hobby glaze, Duncan's Antique Brass Art Glaze #SY553. It has the same crawl and detail-obliterating traits.
Shown here with the Running Horse OF and the HR OF Draft in harness for size reference.
Differences in the foliage/grass of the Facing Right Rearing sculptures
Values on these models have been equally hard to pinpoint. My personal experience has been in the $9-14 range for the regular sized OFs. I heard just this week of collectors of Maureen's work paying between $37-80 each for the smaller molds at auction. The rarest models are the older factory finished ones, with the Lane California solid white iridescent having the greatest appeal for collectors with a leaning for decorators. The most naturalistic ones are the shaded "Mexico" running horses, and I see these the most frequently of all of the models (OF and CM combined). Of the CM molds, the large rearing horse is considered the rarest, simply because it required an experienced hobbyist to cast, assemble, and handle it. Then, it needed a very large kiln to fire to maturity! I have only seen one other example, and it was a cold-painted faux woodgrain finish.
If you have photos of variations on these models and would like to share the data, please feel free to email me. I plan to write a follow-up post on this topic, as information has been turning up at a remarkable rate.
Personally, I would like to acquire any of these vintage hobby molds to do my own castings and custom glazing. I can make it worth someone's time in tracking down these molds by trading for finished horses!
Kelly, Nancy. Horse, Bird, and Wildlife Figures of Maureen Love: Hagen-Renaker and Beyond. Page 8. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.: Atglen, PA, 2003.
Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Guide. Third Edition. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003.