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Claes

Designed by Leland Claes, a virtual unknown in most pottery collecting circles, his designs are appreciated almost exclusively by TV lamp enthusiasts. Claes was born in Turlock, California on August 31st, 1916, and would be the eldest of seven children. Leland was a loner, and as a result the details of his time as a pottery designer are rather vague, even to those close to him.  He designed pottery for Arthur Ball at Ball Art Ware in the late '40s through the early '50s, replacing Howard Ball, who had left to design for Brad Keeler.
Most, if not all, of Claes' TV lamps were made by William H. Hirsch Manufacturing, a pottery best known by collectors for their salt and pepper shakers. The Hirsch lamps can be clearly identified by the stylistic "WH" on the back or base.
Claes left pottery design at some point and opened a photography shop in his hometown of Turlock. Leland Claes passed away on March, 11th, 2000, leaving behind a marvelous body of work and many unanswered questions. Claes lamps are distinctive, many are quite rare, and they often fetch $$$. Thanks to Calvin Claes, David Hawkinson and Dorothy Hawkinson for assisting in my research of Leland Claes and his wonderful TV lamps.

For further biographical information, see:
Leland Claes, Sculptor of the Animal Kingdom.

Claes Siamese Cats value:  rarity:
In a market crowded with Siamese cat lamps, the Claes example is quite distinctive.
Claes mark Wearing a date of 1954, the Siamese cat TV lamp carries the Claes Copyright marking that is found on all Claes lamps.
Claes Black Cat value:  rarity:
It was brought to my attention that the Claes cat lamp was also produced in black. This variation is quite rare, as indicated by it's recent selling price of over $500! Thanks to Lisa L. Black from Pensacola FL for the information and photos.
mark The black cat is also signed a bit differently than it's Siamese counterpart.
Claes Siamese Cat Planter/Lamp value:  rarity:
Taken by Leland Claes in the '50s, this photograph shows the Claes Siamese Twins T-V Planter Lamp, a rare variation of the more common TV lamp shown at the top of the page. Notice that the cats are reversed! Photo is from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson and used with her permission.
Claes Siamese Cat value:  rarity:
Whereas Claes' siamese cat and kitten is the most common of his designs, this single-cat version is one of the most rare. Photos courtesy of Patti in Florida.
Claes Siamese Cat Another look.
Claes Siamese Cat Back view.
Claes Siamese Cat The marking is on the bottom. It lacks the usual year and WH marking, probably because of the relatively small area available.
Claes Siamese Cat value:  rarity:
This Siamese cat TV lamp was made by the William H. Hirsch Mfg. Co. (the manufacturer of the Claes designs), and is the only Hirsch TV lamp I'm aware of that isn't a Leland Claes design. Very rare! Photos courtesy of belize199903 / 2 Ds Top Ten out of Harrisburg, Oregon.
Claes Siamese Cat Here she is from above.
Williams Ceramics marking On the bottom one can see the William Hirsch marking. (It's that artsy squiggle at the top)
UL marking Here's a close-up of the UL approval sticker on the William Hirsch Siamese TV lamp.
Claes Poodles value:  rarity:
This rare Claes Poodles lamp is in excellent condition, and was marketed as the Claes Poodle Pals T-V Lamp. Photos courtesy of Woodland Trace Collectibles/Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
Claes mark Possibly the last Claes design produced by Williams Ceramics, the mark on the Claes poodles shows a date of 1959.
Claes Poodle Pals This is a vintage photo of the "Poodle Pals", taken by Leland Claes in the '50s. Photos are from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson and used with her permission.
Claes Poodle Pals The early photo showing the back of the Poodle Pals is interesting, as it's marked with 1958 rather than 1959! It also has the "Star C" logo that Claes designed.
Claes Logo This photo is of Leland Claes' original drawing for the logo used on some of his designs. Photo is from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson and used with her permission.
Claes Boxers TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Next to their Siamese Cats, the Claes boxers TV lamp is probably their most frequently seen example. The lamp is marked on the base, and has a copyright date of '56.
Claes Boxers Here's a back view of the Claes Boxers TV lamp.
Claes Boxer value:  rarity:
Less common (and more valuable) than the Claes two-dog boxers lamp is this single-dog design. Photos courtesy of Cindy & Mike of Bakersfield, California.
Claes Boxer Another view.
Claes Boxer Here's the markings on the base of the Claes boxer. It reads, Claes Copyright WH © 55.
Claes Siamese Kittens value:  rarity:
Another Siamese Cat lamp by Claes. Officially, this was called the Claes Glowing-Eyed Siamese Twin Kittens T-V Lamp. A very similar piece can be found that appears identical from the front, but has a planter box in the back instead of the light fixture. Photos courtesy of Leonard Anderson from East Hampton, CT.
Claes Siamese Kittens I love the look of this one lit. It makes them look kind of crazed!
back view Back view of the Claes kittens.
Claes Twin Kittens This photo, and the one following, was taken by Leland Claes in the '50s, and shows the "Twin Kittens" TV lamp. Photos are from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson and used with her permission.
Claes Twin Kittens Another look at the Twin Kittens.
Claes Puppy with Slipper value:  rarity:
How can you not love this cute pup? Marked with a copyright date of 1957, this "puppy and slipper" is one of the most attractive Claes lamps. Photos courtesy of Bonnie from CA.
Claes Puppy with Slipper Here's how the lamp shown above looks when lit.
Claes Cocker Spaniel Puppies value:  rarity:
This Cocker Spaniel Puppies TV lamp is another great design from Claes. An extremely rare variation of this one is done in black and white.
Claes marking The base of the puppies TV lamp reads "Claes copyright '56".
Claes Panther value:  rarity:
Claes is known to have produced several TV lamps that are highly valued today, and this is certainly one of them. Although this design isn't as bold, it is at least as rare as the leopard spot variation, which can be seen on the cover of Leland & Crystal Payton's book Turned On, Decorative Lamps of the 'Fifties. Photos courtesy of Noah Brodie of Orlando, Florida. Thanks Noah!
Claes Panther Another shot of the Claes Panther.  You can also see it close-up.
back view Here's a look at the back of the Panther TV lamp.
Claes mark The panther is marked "Claes Copyright '56".
Claes Leopard TV Lamp value:  rarity:
A number of lamps have been referred to as "the holy grail of TV lamps", but for my money this one is it. The Claes leopard is flashy, unique, and very, very rare! Photos courtesy of Rebecca from Neptune, NJ.
Claes Leopard TV Lamp Another look at this great Claes lamp!
Claes Leopard TV Lamp Side view.
Claes Leopard TV Lamp Back view.
Claes horse value:  rarity:
Many Claes TV lamps are prized for their rarity, and this is one of the least common. Called the Claes Glowing-Eyed Mustang Head T-V Lamp, I know the whereabouts of only one other example of this particular style.
Claes horse Here's a look at the back of the Claes horse.
Claes mark The base of the Claes horse TV lamp is marked Claes Copyright © WH 54.
Claes Mustang Head This photograph, as well as the two following, were taken by Leland Claes in the '50s. They show different views of his "Mustang Head" TV lamp. Photos are from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson and used with her permission.
Claes Mustang Head Another vintage pic of the Mustang Head. Research shows that Claes also produced a "Tiger Head" TV lamp, but no examples, or photographs of it, are known.
Claes Mustang Head This view of the base would indicate that it was an early production item, as it differs from the one in my collection. There's no date on this example, and it has a hole (for the switch or cord?) that isn't present on my lamp.
Claes owl value:  rarity:
Just when I was about to get over the shock of finding a Claes horse TV lamp, here comes this crazy looking owl! Photos courtesy of Mike Nollette of Spokane, Washington.
Claes owl A face that only a mother could love! That nose...
Claes owl The bottom shows a copyright date of '54.
Claes fish value:  rarity:
Here's another of those seldom-seen Claes TV lamps! Photos courtesy of Antqfrek, Salisbury, NC.
Claes fish Side view of the Claes fish.
Claes fish Back view of the Claes fish.
Claes fish Here is a variation on the Claes fish shown above, this one with different coloration poised on a green base. The base bears a strong resemblance to the one used on the "Glowing-Eyed Bucking Bronco T-V Lamp." It is marked, WH ©54 Claes Copyright. Photo courtesy of eBay seller, icolectoyz.
Claes lions value:  rarity:
Another extremely rare Claes TV lamp design, this one dated 1957. Photos courtesy of Ken from Castle Rock, WA.
Claes marking Close-up of the lions showing the Claes marking.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
What a difference the finish makes! Just as the Claes panther was airbrushed to become a leopard, this Claes tiger TV lamp is from the same mold as the lions shown above. A beautifully applied glaze has resulted in this lovely, and rare, transformation.
Claes TV Lamp Back view of the Claes tiger lamp.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Without a doubt, this is my favorite Claes TV lamp. Depicting what I believe is a lioness and her cub, this design was carefully thought-out and beautifully sculpted, and is obviously a variation on the one shown previously. The example pictured is the only one I've seen, and if one appeared at auction I'd expect it would easily bring in excess of $750. Photos courtesy of Cindy & Mike of Bakersfield, California.
Claes TV Lamp Here's a different view.
Claes TV Lamp As with the previous lamp, this one is marked with the year 1957.
Claes TV Lamp Did I mention that this is my favorite TV lamp?
Claes TV Lamp
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
This Claes bassett hound lamp is way rare! It was called the Claes Basset Buddies T-V Lamp. Photos courtesy of an eBayer from Hemet, California.
Claes TV Lamp ...looks great when lit!
Claes TV Lamp On the back one sees the date...1959. That makes this, and the poodle lamp, among the last Claes designs.
Claes TV Lamp Along with the usual markings, the bassett lamp has the star logo that is found on some Claes lamps.
Claes TV Lamp Vintage photograph of the "Basset Buddies" TV lamp, taken by Leland Claes. Photo is from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson and used with her permission.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
I've got to apologize for always carrying on about the rarity of many of the Claes designs...but this one is really, really rare! Stylistically it's a little different than Claes' other TV lamps. It was also made in green, yellow and perhaps other colors as well.
Claes TV Lamp Here's a close-up of the back.
Claes TV Lamp Front of the parrot, showing a unique opening that disperses light from behind the wing.
Claes TV Lamp Here's the parrot's wings.
Claes TV Lamp This shot clearly show how light emanates from behind the wing.
Claes TV Lamp The yellow version.
Claes TV Lamp Back view.
Claes TV Lamp Here's the green version of Claes' parrot TV lamp. Photos courtesy of David Hawkinson.
Claes TV Lamp Back-view of the green Claes parrot lamp.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
This extraordinary photo (and the one below) dates from the '50s, and shows the Claes Glowing-Eyed Bucking Bronco T-V Lamp. I don't know how many of these were produced, but it's undoubtedly rare. I'm familiar with it only through these photographs. Photos are from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson, and used with her permission.
Claes TV Lamp Here's the bottom of the bucking bronco lamp, with accompanying descriptive text by Leland Claes.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
One more vintage Claes photo, and another TV lamp I'm not familiar with. It's the Claes Flying Pheasant T-V Planter Lamp, and I'd sure like to find one! Photos are from the collection of Dorothy Hawkinson, and used with her permission.
Claes TV Lamp Back view of the flying pheasant. It is marked 1958.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
You're more likely to stumble across a real tiger than to find one of these! This "Tiger Head" TV lamp by Claes is a very, very rare item. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Hawkinson.
Claes Train TV Lamp value:  rarity:
A departure from his usual animal motifs, this train is a very rare Claes design. Photos courtesy of Ron from Orange County, California.
Claes Train TV Lamp From this angle the train seems to be coming and going! Claes employed a bas-relief style on this lamp, creating an illusion of depth.
Claes Train TV Lamp Back view of the Leland Claes train.
Claes Train TV Lamp The bottom has the markings typically found on Claes TV lamps.
Claes Train TV Lamp Here's a close-up, revealing the William Hirsch symbol on the left followed by, ©54 Claes Copyright.
Claes Train TV Lamp This variation of the of Claes' train lacks the gold detailing, but instead has an unusual marble-like glaze. Photo courtesy of James Martin of Elm Mott, Texas.
Claes Train TV Lamp This interesting example of Claes' train was given a different finish. Photo courtesy of an eBayer from Hawthorne, California.

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