top of page

This very scarce Haeger centerpiece candlestem design measures a large 4.5" high by 14" long by 8" wide. It has five candleholder cups built within the scrolled edge of the centerpiece. It was designed by Jeanne Gorbutt in 1947. Haeger won an 'Award for Prize Design' by Gorbutt for this form. I imagine lots of these did not survive, given its form. This centerpiece is glazed in a nice soft minty green glaze and finished in a mirror gloss. It bears the Award winning notation on the underside, along with J. Gorbutt's name, and the shape number R615, U.S.A. This centerpiece is in amazingly wonderful original condition, with the usual glaze nuances, including a small factory glaze pop in the interior aspect of one candlecup as can be seen in the photos. It is glazed over, but noted for accuracy. It makes an awesome mid-century modern presentation. We could not find any information about Jeanne Gorbutt's tenure at Haeger Pottery, but she was the daughter to John Gorbutt, a talented sculptor with quite a resume (see below). According to a source from the Haeger Potteries FB group, Jeanne (she validated that she designed for Haeger Pottery) was married to another designer for Haeger named Bowman. There was also a pottery in Kansas called Gorbutt-Bowman Pottery during 1950-53. John D. Gorbutt, Jr., Jeanne's Dad has been credited as a 'principal' in the Gorbutt-Bowman Pottery, which very well could have been the case, but it appears that Jeanne Gorbutt-Bowman designed for Haeger, not her Dad.

Resume: John Gorbutt was a principal in the Gorbutt-Bowman Pottery, which operated in Topeka, Kansas, between 1950 and 1953. Apparently the main output of the pottery was a line of mid-century dinnerware based on various organic shapes. Michael Pratt devoted a page to the pottery in his 2003 book, Mid-Century Modern Dinnerware: A Pictorial Guide, but not much was known about the pottery at the time Pratt's book was published. Since then we have learned that John D. Gorbutt, Jr., the driving force behind the pottery, was a painter and sculptor of significant ability. He is listed in Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide, Who Was Who in American Art, and the Dictionary of American Sculptors, as well as on the website AskArt dot com.

Gorbutt, John Detwiler, Jr. b. Troy, Oct. 20, 1904; d. Topeka, Mar. 1984. Painter, spec. portraits & landscapes. Sculptor. Educated in Horton, Kansas City, Holton, Salina, and Topeka. Studied at Washburn College, Topeka with V. Helen Anderson and John Canaday. Student at the Kansas City Art Institute. Worked as an actuarial clerk for Liberty Life Insurance in Topeka in the 1920s and started Gorbutt Advertising Company in 1939 which operated until 1961. By 1971 was doing colorful abstract constructions with bent tube lights. Member: Topeka Art Guild. Exhibitions: 7th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition, 1931; 8th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition, 1932; 9th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition, 1933; 10th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition, 1934; one-man show at Washburn, 1935; 12th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition, 1936; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1937; 16th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition, 1940; Mulvane Art Museum, 1971. Awards: Third prize, Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1937. Collections: Topeka Public Library Sain; WWAA 1, 2, 3, 4; Topeka J (Nov. 10, 1934); MAE 1937; AskArt,, accessed Dec. 16, 2005; accessed July 15, 2006; Sallee, Jeanne Gorbutt. John D. Gorbutt, Jr.: A Study of a Kansas Artist, 1931 until 1971. (M.S. Thesis, Kansas State Univ., 1971); TPL

Haeger Mid-Century Modern Candlestem Centerpiece Award-Winning Gorbutt Design

    bottom of page