Royal Copenhagen, Baca & Tenera Series
Royal Copenhagen. The Baca and Tenera Series
Both the Tenera and Baca series from Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen were hugely popular in their time, and their popularity continues to this day on the resale market.
In a previous article about Nils Thorsson I listed the ranges he designed which includes the beautiful “Tenera” and “Baca” series in the 1960’s while Artistic Director of Royal Copenhagen-Aluminia. Tenera was the first of these 2 started c1958, followed by Baca c1964. Both series ran for many years.
Thorsson designed most of the shapes for this range, and the group of Artists and Designers under him each designed their own patterns and motifs. Ellen Malmer designed 14 of the forms and some were designed by the other artists.
This group of Artists and Designers consisted primarily of: Berte Jessen, Marianne Johnson, Ellen Malmer, Kari Christensen, Beth Breyen and Grete Helland-Hansen, Johannes Gerber, Anne Marie Trolle and Ivan Weiss
The Baca series consists of approximately 94 shapes or forms, with around 105 different designs or patterns. A glazing technique was developed by Nils so that each piece turned out slightly differently, giving them a hand-crafted appearance due to the nature of the glaze.
It is said that the name BACA comes from the Latin word for “ring” (i.e. circle) and the signature of each artist is on the backstamp of each piece inside a circle. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine just by the pattern if a piece is from the Baca or Tenera series, so an easy way to remember is that if the cypher is inside a circle it is from Baca.
The pieces from both the Baca and Tenera series are marked with 2 sets of numbers on the backstamp The number on the top line is the design or pattern number, and the bottom number is the form or shape number.
There will also be the logo for Aluminia or Royal Copenhagen with the 3 Waves, and the painters initials.
Sometimes there was cross-over e.g. a piece by Marianne Johnson (MJ) might have been painted or finished by Kari Christensen (KC).
The patterns on the Tenera series tend to be more graphic and bold in their use of colour and pattern, while the Baca series tends to have more highly textured, interwoven designs with complex layering of more subtle colours. Each piece in the same design from the Baca series can be quite different in appearance due to the nature of the glaze used.
Pieces from the Tenera series were almost all hand-painted, while pieces from the Baca series were silk screen printed from designs by the artists/designers, with some hand finishing by the factory painters.
You will find pieces of Baca and Tenera with either the Royal Copenhagen backstamp or the Aluminia backstamp. Aluminia was a Danish pottery, established in Copenhagen in 1863. In 1882, the owners of Aluminia purchased the Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory. The factories were operated independently under their respective trade names until 1969, when the use of the Aluminia name was ended. Since then the products have been sold under the mark Royal Copenhagen mark.
It is also worth having a look at my earlier article on identifying Royal Copenhagen factory seconds, which is especially relevant to these 2 series.