The Joy of Collecting – Lady Head Vases

If you see a single lady head vase you might think, oh that’s cute. But once they are put together into a collection they look wonderful! And, what fun it can be to find them. One here. One there. One at an estate sale, a yard sale, or your friendly aunt gave you hers. Or you go in an antique mall, search space by space and you find three of them! Oh how the ladies at home will love their new friends!

The terms “head vase,” or “lady head vase,” refer to a style of vase popularized during the forties and fifties. Originally, head vases were produced by florist companies to hold small bouquets of flowers.  

Early American head vase manufacturers include Betty Lou Nichols, Ceramic Arts Studio, and Dorothy Copley. Betty Lou Nichols opened her first ceramics studio in 1945. Nichols’ highly desirable vases often are ladies with intricately curled hair and fancy fabric ruffles along with pouting lips and three dimensional eyelashes.

Betty Lou Nichols head vase

Head vase subjects range from Disney characters to exotic foreign females to the Virgin Mary. Many of the most collectible head vases are of famous figures like Lucille Ball and Jackie Kennedy.

Lucille Ball

Jackie Kennedy

After WWII they were produced in Japan by the likes of Enesco, Lefton, Napco, and Ucagco. These imports were generally much cheaper to make and of a lesser quality but they are still very cute today.

If you want to add to your knowledge there are some nice books on the subject.

By the seventies head vase manufacturing ceased so now the only way to add to your collection is to go out and search for them. One at a time. Here and there.  The Midtown MM Mall is a good place to start building your collection. Come on in. I walked around the other day and saw quite a few lady head vases that you can add to your collection.  

Carol Fenn 1-2017