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Nils Thorsson Løvspring, Royal Copenhagen 1943

I bought the vase below at auction some time ago, not knowing anything about the design – but it just had that quality of something special.

With help of a reader in the U.K. who had the design in another shape, it was finally identified when she wrote to Royal Copenhagen who identified the design.

“Your vase is actually very rare. So rare that it is not mentioned in the book about “Aluminia” by E. Winge Flensborg, which has a list of the known items of a small series of vases from 1943/44, named “Løvspring”, by Nils Thorsson. Aluminia was the earthenware factory run together with The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory. Due to the situation under the war there was a shortage of raw materials and Thorsson sought to come up with alternative materials. This series is made from red clay. The items came with glazes in various colours: Yellow, brown, green and blue over a scrafitto-decoration.  It was a very short lived production.”

The piece is made from terracotta clay and the surface colour comes from what appears to be a clay slip brushed over the clay and then covered with a clear low fired (borax probably) glaze which is pitted with tiny air bubbles typical of low fired glazes using easily available inexpensive materials. The sgraffito design is really makes the piece. Like many early pieces of Nils Thorsson it is not signed, but stamped for 1944. The shape is number 2338 – (16x 12cm).

Since being identified, I have seen the design on odd occasions, but it remains an elusive design.

Royal Copenhagen, Nils Thorsson - Løvspring

Royal Copenhagen, Nils Thorsson – Løvspring

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Lin Utzon for Rosendahl Denmark

Lin Utzon for Rosendahl Denmark

This post is about a design that is not quite 20th Century, but very close to it. Also it ticks all the right boxes for me – Danish, Blue & White, Great Designer, Superb Porcelain, First class Manufacturer.

Erik Rosendahl established Rosendahl, Copenhagen in 1984. They are one of the top manufacturers in Denmark of design for the home and table. Their list of their designers and licences is remarkable.

In 2005, to  mark the bicentenary of HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, Rosendahl launched a Hans Christian Andersen dinner service, designed by Lin Utzon to celebrate this anniversary.

The 31cm service plates from the dinner service below, designed by Lin Utzon, are inspired by six of Hans Christian Andersen’s best-known fairy tales: The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, The Butterfly, Thumbelina and The Nightingale. The motifs are white and stand out brilliantly against the deepest of cobalt blues – a combination that hallmarks many of Lin Utzon’s creations. This dinner service won the prestigious Germany design prize DESIGN PLUS 2004.

Lin Utzon, Rosendahl, Hans Christian Andersen Dinner Service

Lin Utzon, Rosendahl, Hans Christian Andersen Dinner Service – The Ugly Duckling/Swan

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Knud Kyhn

Knud  Kyhn  1880-1969

Knud Khyn was a an accomplished Danish painter, draughtsman and ceramic sculptor. My interest in his work lies in his evocative, superbly modelled ceramics.

He worked at Royal Copenhagen over several periods –  c1903-1910, c1924-1932 and c1936-1967.

He also worked at Herman Kähler’s Pottery c1920-1924 and also at Bing & Grondahl 1908-1915 and 1933-1935.

His animal figurines capture so so well the mass and expression of his subjects, in addition to capturing the essence of their characters, how they move, and how they play. Many of these figurines use a glaze popular at Royal Copenhagen during this era – an iron rich “Sung” glaze – (fired in the kiln once only)

The figurines I come across most often are the “3 bears” by Knud, which come in several sizes. Going by the number of them that come up for sale still on the secondary market they seem to have been the most popular.  There is so much more Knud Kyhn work to discover though, and pictured below are some examples.

Pieces like the Royal Copenhagen studio pottery bowl with the blue hand-painted bull motif below, are much rarer and harder to find – as are some of the “production” stoneware pieces like the “Mare and Foal” Royal Copenhagen bowl.

Together with his wife Julie Bloch Kyhn, Knud also operated a studio from their home in Farum from 1934. Pottery from this studio is usually marked FK for Farum Keramik .

This studio in 1993 was apparently opened to the public but from what I can gather, it was later donated by Bodil Kyhn (Knud’s Daughter) to the Farum Municipality which later sold the house, and the works were donated to the Næstved Museum. Kyhn’s work is also widely represented in major galleries around the world.

You can read Knud Kyhn’s full biography on Weilbach’s datatbase here  

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen, Elephant Figurine

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen, Elephant Figurine

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen, Elephant Figurine

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen, Elephant Figurine

Knud Kyhn, Mare & Foal Bowl, Royal Copenhagen

Knud Kyhn, Mare & Foal Bowl, Royal Copenhagen

Knud Kyhn, Mare & Foal Bowl, Royal Copenhagen

Knud Kyhn, Mare & Foal Bowl, Royal Copenhagen Base Shot

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen Studio Bowl

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen Studio Bowl

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen Studio Bowl

Knud Kyhn, Royal Copenhagen Studio Bowl

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Zaccagnini, Italy

Zaccagnini, Italy

There were a number of incarnations of the Zaccagnini company, Italy. The large vase in the image below would have been made by “Urbano Zaccagnini Artistic Ceramics” which operated from 1958 to the mid 1960s.

The Zaccagnini name is very well known in the United States, but not so well known or seen here in Australia. In the U.S. much of the Zaccagnini output is referred to as being in the “Hollywood Regency” style – highly decorative, often with a bit of “bling”. The company is also well known for its collectable Disney characters which were made for Disney by “Zaccagnini SpA” from the 1930s.  In addition Zaccagnini is well known for its animal figurines and ceramic statuettes.

Zaccagnini seems to have reached its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, and it is the work from this era which seems to be the most coveted (and thus expensive to buy) – you will often find beautifully simple Modernist works from this era by Zaccagnini on places like 1st Dibs.  It is a maker, however which is often easily mis-attributed if there is no makers mark – as there are so many similarities between Italian makers during this era.

Zaccagnini Vase

 

Zaccagnini, Italy Bowl

Zaccagnini, Italy Bowl via “apythagorasplace” etsy

Zaccagnini, Italy Vase

Zaccagnini, Italy Vase Cypher on above piece.

 

There is a brief history of this important Italian maker on THIS website which also has images of many of the backstamps and cyphers used.

Here is a (google) translation of the entry:

The ceramic factory “Ugo Zaccagnini & Figli” was founded by Ugo Zaccagnini, a former employee of “Richard-Ginori”, in Sesto Fiorentino in 1905. The first production of the company is focused on the production of majolica and earthenware type, often inspired by the ancient Della Robbia models.The company, with which the five sons of Zaccagnini Urbano, Pietro, Prisco, Adele and Enrichetta collaborate, moved to Florence in 1912 where he began a production of more volumes presenting at numerous editions of the Triennale and the Milan Trade Fair. at the Florence Crafts Exhibitions. In the 1930s the sculptor L. Contini collaborated with the manufactory.

Among the important ceramists who worked for the manufacture we also remember the sculptor Fosco Martini who, around the mid-thirties, made many interesting ceramics depicting animals and the majolica painter U. Ciardella. In 1936, after the death of the founder, the factory changed its name and became “Società Anonima Ceramiche Zaccagnini” with its headquarters in Piazza Pier Vettori 10, Florence and the role of managing director and artistic director was entrusted to the major of the heirs Urban. In the same year, thanks to the capital introduced into the company by the industrialist Aristide Loria, the company became a joint-stock company and invested in modernization and production capacity.

In 1937, more than 120 employees work in ceramics and in the factory, and the factory begins to export its products to the United States. In the second half of the Thirties the collaboration with the manufacture of numerous artists including: Mario Bandini, Ottorino Palloni, Maurizio Tempestini, Gino Pozzi and Leopold Anzengruber.At the end of the Thirties, Walt Disney entrusted “Zaccagnini S.p.A.”, which in those years was based in Piazza Pier Vettori 10 in Florence, the ceramic construction of the characters of their cartoons.

In 1950 some of the company’s ceramics, including a series of dishes, were exhibited at the Italian Crafts Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

In the fifties an artistic line inspired by abstractionism, called “Swedish”, was included in the production.

In 1958, Urbano Zaccagnini left the family factory and founded the “Urbano Zaccagnini Ceramiche Artistiche” which remained active until the mid-1960s.

The “S.p.A. Zaccagnini” is still active until the year 2000.

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Denby Pottery Teak Salt + Peppers

Denby Pottery Teak Salt + Peppers

Something I have only discovered a year or so ago thanks to Maija from Copenhagen.  Maija found some fantastic looking Denby Salt & Pepper shakers with teak bodies. I have seen Denby items before  combined with teak trays or stands but haven’t seen this before – where the teak is used as part of the form or design.

The first use of teak used to compliment Denby Pottery I have seen to date is from Gill Pemberton’s “Arabesque” series, – which matches the time period teak started to become very popular (the early 1960s through to the mid 1970s)

A quick Google search for Denby+Teak resulted in dozens of images of Denby S&P’s with teak bases, mostly from the Potter’s Wheel series – with some fantastic colour variations.

The first 2 images below are from Maija – and it is a bit hard to know if these are from a particular  Denby series, or if they were produced as stand alone pieces to go with a variety of designs. I think they are closest in colour and glaze to Arabesque – but their shapes bear no relationship to the strong angular shapes of the Arabesque pieces.

I have often read these designs were a collaborative Dansk – Jens Quistgaard design which is incorrect, but finally I have been able to identify their designer.

The Danish link was correct, but the wrong assumption of Quistgaard has been made by many people. Gill Pemberton tells me these were designed by freelance Danish designer Kurt Franzen c1974, who also created for Denby the very smart “Gourmet” (second version, not the Kenneth Clark version) dinnerware series. It appears to have been renamed the “Gourmet Vanilla” pattern soon after release.

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers. Photo Maija, Denmark.

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers. Photo Maija, Denmark.

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers

Denby Potters Wheel Salt & Peppers. Photo Maija, Denmark.

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Arne Bang, Jacob Bang – Denmark

Arne Bang (1901-1983)

Arne Bang is known for his exquisite stoneware ceramics, but he was also an important sculptor and silversmith.  

It is the ceramics of Arne Bang which I am attracted to. His focus was on technical excellence and innovation – and the uniqueness and beauty of his designs are as relevant today as they were in the 1940s.

Arne was the brother of glass designer and architect Jacob E. Bang – who is often confused and whos work is often mis-attributed to Arne’s son Jacob Bang (1932-2011) also a potter, sculptor and designer. 

Arne was formally trained in Sculpture, after which he had a very successful collaboration with ceramicist Carl Halier – it was with Halier that Bang learned extensively about glazes. 

In 1929 Arne Bang started at Holmegaard Glassworks, where he started up the production of Holmegaards Stentøj (Stoneware).  His aim was to create quality ceramics which collectors would appreciate, but which the every day person could also afford.

From 1948 Holmegaard Stentøj became Bangs’ own company, but from 1953 he worked from his own workshop in Fensmark, Denmark. 

The work of Arne Bang has a very sculptural quality and unique presence. His work is enhanced by the use of superbly textured glazes in muted luxurious tones. Some of these glazes are often referred to as “crocodile” or “birds egg” glazes.

His forms are often very organic with sensuous, bulbous shapes – and he often the use of ribbing as a decorative feature. Some pieces were also designed with silver components such as lids, spoons etc –  in collaboration with silversmiths.

On most Arne Bang studio pieces you will find a model number painted on the base – the lower the number, the earlier the piece. The studio pieces are also signed with a distinctive AB signature.

You can read more about the Bangs at the Bang Family Website HERE (in Danish)

There is also comprehensive Arne Bang Database online via the Vejen Art Musuem in Denmark, which even has some early Arne Bang Catalogues – especially interesting are the 1932 & 1937 catalogues.

 

Arne Bang Denmark

Arne Bang Denmark

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Erling & Karin Heerwagen

Erling & Karin Heerwagen, Langeland Denmark.

The charming and skilfully made studio pottery stoneware pieces below are from the Pottery of Erling and Karin Heerwagen from Langeland, Denmark.

The pottery is still operational and has been in operation for several decades. Other than this basic information, there doesn’t seem to be much documented about the work of Erling and Karin. Their work has a cheerfulness and charming quirkiness which makes it quite unique.

Recently, in going through the digitised archives of the Royal Library Denmark I found several pieces from the Heerwagen pottery in a Den Permanente catalogue for 1972.

The first piece below is a bowl I have from Heerwagen with a delightful bird motif repeated around the outside. It appears to be from the 1970s or 1980s.

Heerwagen Denmark

Heerwagen Denmark

….and the next images are from the Den Permanente catalogue, 1972 via the Royal Danish Library:

Heerwagen Denmark - Den Permanente 1972

Heerwagen Denmark - Den Permanente 1972

Heerwagen Denmark - Den Permanente 1972

Heerwagen Denmark - Den Permanente 1972

Den Permanente Catalogue 1972 - Heerwagen

Den Permanente Catalogue 1972 – Heerwagen

Den Permanente Catalogue 1972 - Heerwagen

Den Permanente Catalogue 1972 – Heerwagen

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Trude Barner Jespersen, Denmark.

Trude Barner Jespersen, Denmark.

Trude Barner Jespersen was born in 1938 and died in 1997, Dianalund, Denmark.

In the 1960s – 1970s she produced a series of designs for Bing & Grondahl. It was a stunning series of contemporary porcelain designs which Im surprised are not more well known.

Equally Im surprised that her talent is not well documented. It happens often with Artists and Potters that some become well known and well documented, and others simply by coincidence, history seems to bypass. In Trude’s case it may also have something to do with passing away at a relatively young age of 59.

There is a black and white photograph of Trude’s series for Bing & Grondahl in the book “New Design in Ceramics” Donald J Willcox, 1970 – a book which focuses on talented Scandinavian ceramicists – but there is no written information about the design or Trude’s work.

From what I can see, Trude’s work as a potter and designer seems to have developed along 2 streams – her contemporary, clean, streamlined porcelain designs for Bing & Grondahl, and her more traditional domestic, wood fired stoneware studio pottery from her workshop in Dianalund in the West of the Island of Zealand, Denmark.

Below is some Biographical information from the Danish Artists Database HERE

Trude started her own workshop/studio in 1962, making her own porcelain clay, and glazing with various ash and salt glazes. She was inspired by trips to the west cost of Greenland in the 1970s and has produced a number of reliefs and other works with with Greenlandic and maritime themes.

Trude Barner Jespersen Works:

  • Porcelain series (1967, Bing and Grøndal, 1975 decorated by Icelandic artist RUNA);
  • Misiqssut at Disko (relief, 1973, Ikast Handelssk.);
  • Baffins Bay (Relief Series, 1974);
  • The displacement of the population of Kutdligssat, Disko (relief, 1985, Nuuk City Hall);
  • Sound insulation collage (1986, ASA-Lift, Dianalund);
  • 2 Greenland Reliefs (1990, Gudrun’s Memorial, Dianalund);
  • Columbus Ship Relief (1992); 6 ship reliever (1993, Colonien Filadelfia, Dianalund 1993).
Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s

Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s – Photographer unknown

Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s

Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s

Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s

Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s

Trude Barner Jespersen for Bing & Grondahl 1970s via DBA Denmark.

Trude Barner Jerspersen Studio Work

Trude Barner Jerspersen Studio Work – Photo via DBA Denmark

Trude Barner Jerspersen Studio Work

Trude Barner Jerspersen Studio Work. Photo via DBA Denmark

 

There are also some charming photographs online of Trude in her workshop in Dianalund on the Danish Archive site Arkiv.dk 

Trude Barner Jespersen, in her Studio, Photographer unknown via Arkiv.dk

Trude Barner Jespersen, in her Studio, Photographer unknown via Arkiv.dk

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