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Taste of the West: Cowboys at the Plate |

Taste of the West: Cowboys at the Plate

If your family didn’t have a set, maybe a friend’s did. Maybe your food was served on it at a rest stop restaurant out west on a family vacation, or maybe you dreamed it onto your table after all those weekend afternoons watching westerns with your dad. That’s how familiar Westward Ho dinnerware looks.

There’s a reason it feels like it’s part of your dinnerware DNA. Time was, the Western artwork of creator Tillman “Till” Goodan was ubiquitous. Born in Eaton, Colorado, in 1896, he grew up working on a ranch in California. A longtime cowboy and rodeo rider, Goodan eventually committed full time to creating the fine art that would popularize the Western lifestyle motifs he drew from his own experience. He produced oil paintings, watercolors, and lithographs; drew Gene Autry comic books; and illustrated a collection of stories about famous bucking horses and ranches, horsemen of the world, and Western gear. He also designed a line of Western gifts, ceramics, bronzes, leather, paper, and fabric.

From tablecloths to ties, Goodan’s designs have graced practically everything, but maybe nothing quite so successfully as four lines of dinnerware — Pioneer Trails, Longhorn, Boots and Saddle, and Rodeo — produced by Wallace China. With its action-filled cowboy images surrounded by authentic cattle brands, the rodeo pattern especially captured the country’s imagination, including the likes of Autry, Roy Rogers, and Bing Crosby, who all owned sets.

Today, Goodan’s work is highly collectible. Fortunately, if you’re setting the table with it, you don’t have to scour flea markets and antique malls to piece together sets. True West Home, with the permission of Goodan’s daughter Betty Goodan Andrews, has an exclusive license to signed Till Goodan artwork for a variety of home products.

For more information on True West Home and Westward Ho dinnerware, visit the company’s website. Photography: Courtesy True West Home. Subscribe to the forthcoming monthly Taste of the West e-newsletter below.


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