Skip to content

Diana Australia Nefertiti

Diana Australia Nefertiti c1960s

There was a worldwide Arts and Crafts revival in the mid 20th Century, and Australian pottery in the 1960s and 70’s was booming as well, especially with anything stoneware – both handmade and commercial.

The international icons such as Arabia Finland, and Midwinter UK reflected this trend world wide, but one of the most important commercial manufacturers from this period in Australia was Diana Pottery.

Diana (after the huntress) was set up in 1940 by Eric Lowe at a site in Marrickville, Sydney. In the 1940s they produced mainly utility and kitchen ware with over 200 shapes being produced. By 1952 they were employing 70 hands who were producing a large range of hand painted ware. In the 1960’s, Diana Pottery, under the name “Hollywood” made a variety of slip cast vases or brightly coloured glazed, or sprayed with a Cream glaze creating a speckled texture finish were made.

In this era they also produced one of the most enduring and popular of all the Diana ranges – a stoneware series called Nefertiti. Nefertiti features organic and modernist forms. It has become a modernist classic and as collectors items, pieces of this range are still surprisingly lowly priced. There were a large range of forms made – from utilitarian dinnerware to pieces such as carafes and goblets.

The pieces are also lovely to use and touch, and like all stoneware very tough.

Besides the great shapes – I love the glaze colours on these pieces which varies from a plain ochre yellow, to the richest rusty brown ochre colour, highlighted by the diamond texture on each piece. Another plus is that the size of many of the forms is very generous compared to many other products of this era.

There were a number of variations of decorations of the Nefertiti form – one a plain satin white glaze, one with the white glaze and decorative repeat medallion, and the other called “Safari” made to like like studio pottery with a more rustic glaze. There may be more still lurking out there which were made in lower numbers.

Diana Australia, Nefertiti Teapot

Diana Australia, Nefertiti Teapot

Diana Australia, Safari Jug

Diana Australia, Nefertiti Jug

Diana Australia, Nefertiti Ramekin

Diana Australia, Nefertiti Ramekin

Read more

Buchan Stoneware, Portobello Scotland

Buchan Stoneware, Portobello Scotland

The quality of Buchan stoneware pottery is superb, and it has a French country or provincial feel to it,  like something you would find in the south of France, but of much higher quality, being fine high-fired stoneware.

It was produced in Portobello – which is now a suburb of Edinburgh, but which was once an important industrial centre and at the same time – holiday resort – side by side. Wikipedia has an interesting history of Portobello HERE

Buchan Pottery, Portobello Scotland has a long history….and here is a short extract from the very informative and fascinating Portobello Heritage Trust website located HERE

Portobello was one of the main centres of industrial ceramic production in Scotland, dating back to the 1770s or thereby.

The range of wares made at Portobello, spanning two centuries, covered much of the ceramic spectrum.

Activity occurred at several sites, clustered around the mouth of the Figgate Burn where it enters the Firth of Forth. A number of well- known names emerged, of which two stand out – Thomas Rathbone, celebrated for his fine painted and printed earthenware, and Alexander Buchan, famed far and wide for his utilitarian stoneware.

From the 1830s this latter class of ware had been produced by a succession of firms: Cornwall Brothers, Milne & Cornwall, Milne & Smith, Thomas & Robert Tough, Thomas Tough, Murray & Buchan, starting in 1867, and finally A. W. Buchan & Co (1878-1972). 

The rise of Alexander Buchan to the fore heralded a sixty-year period during which vast quantities of stoneware goods of all descriptions were manufactured. The firm was inventive too, securing a number of patents and registering several novel designs, and time was even found to dabble in the world of art pottery with their exotic but misnamed Portobello Faience.  Having been one of the few Scottish potteries to have survived the Depression, A.W Buchan & Co was not about to slide into closure.  Instead, the manufacture of utilitarian stoneware was all but given up and replaced with a product of a quite different character – decorative stoneware. 

Between 1956 and 1968 a number of decorative stoneware designs were produced by Buchan Portobello including: BRITTANY, RIVIERA, COSTA BRAVA, HEBRIDES, FESTIVAL, ROUEN, SUMMERTIME, EDINBURGH, TUSCANY, SUTHERLAND, ALPINE – and Centenary design IONA.  These can all be seen on the heritage website linked above, along with galleries showing these designs.

My favourite pieces of  Buchan that I have come across in person are the large Coffee Pot (really better as a water jug though I think), and baking dish ramekin, from “Costa Brava” designed in 1956.

Costa Brava Design Coffee Pot, Portobello Buchan Scotland

Costa Brava Design Coffee Pot, Portobello Buchan Scotland

Costa Brava Design Coffee Pot, Portobello Buchan Scotland

Costa Brava Design Coffee Pot, Portobello Buchan Scotland

.Although I love the fish motif of the “Riviera” design, also from 1956. Riviera came in 3 versions – Fish, Vegetable and Abstract. Read more

Abbednæs Keramik Denmark

Abbednaes Potteri Denmark

“Abbednaes” is a small pottery in Dianalund west of Copenhagen. It was originally owned by a Kurt Olsen who purchased the existing business  in 1952 , and gave it the name Abbednaes Potteri. He was very talented and knew the old traditions of pottery and was also a good teacher.

Many of the students that came to Abbednæs learned from Kurt, and now have their own potteries.

Abbednaes is now run by Annegrete Rasmussen who came to work with Kurt from High School in the later 1990s. She produces a range of domestic pottery items with lovely decorative patterns. Read more

Gutte Eriksen

Gutte Eriksen, Denmark 1918-2008

I have been fortunate to have in my collection 2 pieces by important Danish studio Potter, Gutte Eriksen.

Gutte Eriksen influenced a generation of Danish potters with both her work and teaching. She taught at the Jutland Academy of Fine Arts, Arhus, in 1968-71, 1973-4 and 1976-8.

Her public commissions include fountains in Østre Landsret and Holstebro. In 1972 she won the Gold Medal in Faenza and in 1985 she was awarded the Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal of the Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

In 2000 she was given The Prince Eugen Medal, awarded by the Swedish Royal Family for outstanding artistic achievement. She was honoured with a major retrospective at the Vejen Kunstmuseum in 2001.

Gutte Eriksen was born in 1918 in Rødby on the island of Lolland in Denmark. She studied at the Kunsthåndvaerkskolen in Copenhagen from 1936 to 1939. In 1941 she set up a studio with two other artists in Hareskov, moving to her own studio in Kastrup the following year.

In 1948 she spent two months working with Bernard Leach in St Ives, and later that year she worked in France with Pierre Lion and Vassil Ivanoff. From 1953 she worked in her studio at Karlsminde.

(The information above was sourced from a now non-existent website called “Galerie Beson”)

The influences of Bernard Leach and the Japanese potters can be clearly seen in her work.  She visited Japan to work with potters there in 1970 and again in 1973.

Below are the photographs of pieces I have had by Gutte. In photo 2 you might be able to see the handle or “ear”, which is Gutte’s cypher or stamp – the letter “G”which has been mostly covered by the glaze.

Gutte Eriksen Studio Vessel

Gutte Eriksen Studio Vessel

Read more

Aluminia Morgenfrue

Aluminia Royal Copenhagen Morgenfrue/Calendula

This pattern is called Calendula (or Morgenfrue) and was produced by Aluminia Royal Copenhagen faience from 1934 to 1967, such was its popularity and timeless qualities. The design is by the iconic designer and potter NILS THORSSON.

What I like about this design is the great combination of colours and the simple orange flower motif (the Calendula).

The base colour is a lovely pale cream which is complimented by the simple orange flower, lovely woven texture rims, and dark green detailing on the rims and leaves.

Aluminia had been established in Copenhagen in 1863. In 1882, the owners of Aluminia purchased the Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory. From 1901-1928 Alumina had a renewed era of success under Chairman Joachim (1870-1943) and Harald Slott-Møller (1864-1937).

In 1928 Nils Thorsson took the factory to its new and final era before closing in 1969,  although Royal Copenhagen continued to use the name of Alumina for some of its ware for a time afterward. Nils Thorsson continued to work for Royal Copenhagen into the 1970s.

Aluminia Morgenfrue Bowl

Aluminia Morgenfrue Bowl

Read more

Royal Copenhagen Quaking Grass

Royal Copenhagen Quaking Grass

When designing Quaking Grass, (pattern number 884) Thorkild Ohlsen developed beautiful and subtle porcelain forms with elegant lines, and perfect proportions. This was combined with Art Nouveau and Oriental-inspired, hand-painted botanical elements in patterns that are timeless and elegant.

The forms designed for this service were to be used on many dinnerware designs that followed including the equally admired “Fensmark”.

Quaking Grass was produced from the early-30’s until approximately 1960, as it simply did not go out of style.

Quaking Grass derives it name from an early-19th century botanical illustration of the ‘Doxia’ plant, more-commonly known as ‘Quaking Grass’. This plant is common in the Scandinavian region, and is highly regarded for its golden “Japanese lantern” style seed pods that hang from long stems that ‘quake’ with the slightest breeze, giving each plant a charming quality that makes a field of Doxia dance with lively energy.

Ohlsen captured the delicacy and movement of this beautiful plant, in beautifully and delicately rendered leaves and stems of sage green, surmounted by seed pods rendered in gold. Each spray of Doxia is slightly different, demonstrating the skill of the painters of this ware.

This work was produced by painters who also painted the famous Danish botanical paintings on the illustrious ‘Flora Danica’ porcelain service produced by Royal Copenhagen The botanical motif is restricted to small central areas and sides of the individual plates and serving pieces, allowing the beautiful pale cream color of the porcelain to serve as the primary decorative element.

‘Quaking Grass’ was primarily sold in Europe and the United Kingdom, and was extremely expensive when new, with a full dinner service for 14 with serving pieces selling for nearly $5,000 in the Late-1950’s–an astronomical sum at a time when a service for 12 of Noritake, sold for around $150.00

Royal Copenhagen Quaking Grass

Royal Copenhagen Quaking Grass

Read more

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark

Thorkild Ohlsen (1890-1973) was a Danish landscape painter and porcelain designer who produced a number of significant porcelain dinner services for Royal Copenhagen beginning in the early 1930’s.

Ohlsen was originally employed by Royal Copenhagen Porcelain in 1908, and was an important collaborator of Nils Thorsson. He continued to paint and exhibit his work during his lifetime.

At Royal Copenhagen he worked with both modeling and decoration, especially over-and underglaze painting, and he participated in the development of glazes. In his early work, a series of crackle ware from 1920 , is the decoration of iron red and gold, usually with botanical motifs.

I think one of the most elegant dinnerware ranges he designed was “Fensmark” c1930s– named after a town in Denmark of the same name. It is also known by its pattern number “1010”. It was in production for decades and the forms were used on a number of dinnerware series.

 

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Trio

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Trio

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Milk Jug

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Milk Jug

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Serving Tureen

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Serving Tureen

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Bowl

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Bowl

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Milk Jug

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Soup Plate

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Candle Holders

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Candle Holders

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Teapot

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Teapot

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Serving Plate

Royal Copenhagen Fensmark Serving Plate

Read more

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen 1965-1988

Ellen Malmer ( b1942 – ) is another of the great designers and artists who worked for Royal Copenhagen at the height of its popularity in the mid to late twentieth century. She was part of the group working with Nils Thorsson producing the now iconic Baca and Tenera series for Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen.

She trained at the Design School in Copenhagen and started with Royal Copenhagen as a designer in 1965 working there until 1988, primarily with Fajance ware. After leaving Royal Copenhagen she has worked in her own right as an Artist in the fields of textiles and collage/painting.

Each Designer who worked with fajance ware at Royal Copenhagen became known for their unique style of design, decoration, use of colour, and motifs – and the work of Ellen Malmer is no exception.

We often see only the most popular Baca and Tenera designs these days by Ellen due to their higher production, but they represent only a small range of her designs. I have tried to capture a wide cross section of her designs in the images below.

I really like the graphic and textural qualities of her designs, along with her subtle use of tone and colour. If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Nucella design dinnerware in blue. The shapes for this series were designed by Inge-Lise Kofoed and Leif Lautrup-Larsen, and the Pattern design by Ellen Malmer in 1966.

Royal Copenhagen, Ellen Malmer Pattern 962

Royal Copenhagen, Ellen Malmer Pattern 962

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 962

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 962

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 617

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 617

Ellen Malmer Vase Pattern 661, Royal Copenhagen

Ellen Malmer Vase Pattern 661, Royal Copenhagen. Image via Pinterest.

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen, Pattern 657

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen, Pattern 657, Image via Pinterest.

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 635 - Design Ellen Malmer

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 635 – Design Ellen Malmer

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 953 Ellen Malmer

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 953 Ellen Malmer

Read more