Bertoncello Ceramiche was founded in Schiavon, Vicenza, Italy c1956.
For many years it was run solely by a Mr. Lini and Giovanni Bertoncello (1930-2011), but by the 1970s had a staff of around 30.
Giovanni was the creative force behind the forms and glazes, supported later by a Mr. Boatto – a Venetian teacher.
Sadly not a lot is known about the company because all its catalogues and archives were destroyed when the company closed in 1999. Fortunately due to its popularity and volume made, it is still relatively easy to get hold of.
The forms of Bertoncello pottery are often very sculptural and geometric and look like smaller studies or maquettes for massive modernist sculptures that are yet to be built. This sculptural appearance of many pieces was enhanced by the use of feet which subtly raise the piece off the surface on which it sits.
Other types of pottery such as homewares, figurines and novelty items were made, often in bright colours such as red or orange – but it is the sculptural modernist looking vase forms which Bertoncello has become best known for.
Several of the forms are made from joined parts which were created in 2 part moulds, as seen in the image above.
The glaze most commonly seen on these sculptural vases is a mottled tan colour, much like the glaze on some of the early West German designs by Scheurich, and Dutch maker Vest Keramiek.
It was produced in 2 colours – the “Tabacco” which is seen on the pieces pictured above, and a lighter version called “Havanna” – a lighter, creamier colour with similar texture pictured on the 2 pieces below:
If you want to find out more about this and other Italian makers it is well worth buying a copy of Mark Hill’s book on Italian Pottery “Alla Moda” where much of the information above has been sourced from.