Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen
Nils Johan Thorvald Thorsson (1898 – 1975)
Ceramic artist and designer for Royal Copenhagen – Aluminia.
Nils joined Royal Copenhagen as an apprentice in 1912, and graduated from the royal Danish Academy in 1917. He went on to become Royal Copenhagen’s most prolific designer. He was Artistic director at Royal Copenhagen from 1949 while also artistic director of Aluminia also from 1928-1969.
(Aluminia pottery works was established in Copenhagen in 1863. In 1882, the owners of Aluminia purchased Royal Copenhagen factory. The factories were operated independently under their respective trade names until 1969, when the use of the Aluminia name was ended)
Nils designed at least 5 of best known production ranges for Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen – Solbjerg (1930’s), Marselis (1950’s) Tenera (1960’s), Baca (1960’s), Diana (1970’s)
He also produced many exquisite art pieces in high fired glazes that are lesser known and hard to find. For the Baca and Tenera series he designed the forms (shapes) – and other members of his team designed the patterns. The patterns which he designed will have his cypher on the base.
Nils also designed the Morgenfrue and Oranja (Tureby) dinnerware series amongst others.
Nils body of work is so large that it is hard to capture a picture of it as a whole, as of course it changed during his lifetime spent at Royal Copenhagen. However his form and pattern designs from the 1950s – 1970’s, especially from the BACA and TENERA ranges, were and remain some of Royal Copenhagen’s most popular works coveted as being prime examples of mid-century and Danish modernism.
Nils motifs and designs ranged from the naturalistic to abstract to geometric designs – and I think the best of these are those with the beautiful highly detailed and complex relief patterns from the BACA series.
The square fajance bottles from the Baca series have continued in their popularity for decades, and are often the first piece people start a collection of Nils Thorsson. Also, because of the glaze Nils developed for the Baca series, each piece turned out slightly different because of the way the glaze behaved during firing in the kiln – giving each piece in the series a hand crafted appearance.