Lithophane Ceramics

image Lladro

Despite the rain today, I needed to get a breath of fresh air at lunchtime and luckily I live and work in Heavitree in Exeter.  Luckily, because there happen to be not one but five charity shops, all of which usually have a treasure or two. 

Pickings were slim in most of the shops today, or maybe it was my mood.  I didn’t find much in my rush around the shops until I went to the Devon Air Ambulance shop.  They were just setting up their Christmas display and I spied a pretty little white ceramic dome.  Always drawn to all things white, I picked it up.  I could see it was etched but couldn’t really see the design.  It didn’t have a price on it.  The man behind the counter looked at it briefly and said “£2”.  “Thanks, I’ll have it”

image Lladro

At home, the light fading, I did my nightly ritual of lighting candles and turning on lights.  Don’t you just love the winter for cosying on down.  I found a tea light and popped it in my bargain find. 

WOW ! What a gorgeous surprise awaited me !  A wonderful christmas scene, all around the dome.  I posted a pic on Facebook and immediately received lots of praise.  I decided to try and find out more about my pretty ceramic Christmas dome and soon found out (along with my lovely friend Amanda) that it was called a Lithopane.

Apologies for the quality of the photo.  Seriously hoping Father Christmas will bring me a camera for Christmas, but you get the idea.  I soon discovered my Ceramic Lithophane was originally sold by Tesco ! Oh well , not a Lladro treasure but still a bargain for £2 !  It was by a company called Hellmann Versand from Bravaria in Germany.   I’m interested now.  Lets find out more about what Lithopane is.

image inhabitat

It would seem that a Lithophane is an etched or moulded artwork in a very thin translucent porcelain that can only be seen clearly when back lit with a light source.  It is a design or scene in intaglio that appears in grey tones ! So there you go.

image Angela Mellor


Something was niggling away at the back of my mind.  Digging a little deeper on Pinterest, I realised what it was.  I have one of these cups tucked away at the back of my she shed.  Its a Japanese Lithopane Geisha tea cup that has the face of a Geisha girl in the bottom.

Image Sad Gheisha

So after a pretty rubbish morning at work, my five minute breather out of the office, found me a wonderful new treasure to add to my collection and a little more knowledge.



  1. Old Fashioned Susie
    November 8, 2017 / 10:28 am

    Gosh these look so delicate! Saw them on your insta I think and thought they were rather festive!

    • karen jones
      November 9, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      I couldn't resist. Just a pretty plain dome when unlit but so gorgeous when you put a tea light in them Susie x

  2. Midlife Singlemum
    November 9, 2017 / 7:17 am

    Interesting and pretty. I wonder what the significance of the sad geisha on the bottom of your teacup is?

  3. Lucy Clarke
    November 21, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    I love this! It looks amazing, they look elegant and classy! It's something different and nice to have!

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