This design has eluded me for some time. I have looked through hundred of designs by Esteri Tomula, and haven’t seen this particular one anywhere.
It is on a very large form you don’t see often, used around 1971-1973 and I believe it is the “TH/5” shape, and it is huge, at about 600ml.
It would have originally had a saucer to go with it. It is hand painted in deep cobalt blue on a white ground, and appears to be a flower of some description. Any readers who have any of this design, or happen to know its name I would love to know.! It may have been just a design for a cup, or on other dinnerware items.
This charming pattern from Arabia Finland, designed by Esteri Tomula is called “Malva”. The dinnerware series was in production 1964 to 1979 and features a stylised floral pattern, which was one Esteri’s favourite subjects – which I have written about in a previous post .
The design features central floral elements surrounded by leaves in typical Arabia Finland blue, rendered with a beautiful line drawing style typical of many of Esteri’s designs.
Esteri’s output was prolific after moving to the Arabia product development department in the 1960s where she created over 150 patterns, some of which were were:
The Botanica-series (1978-89), Primavera (1970-74), Sinilehti (1970-74), Elsa (1971-72), Irina (1971-72), Mira (1971-72), Ansa (1971-72), Vanamo (1973-74), Aurinko (1973-74), Gardenia (1973-74), Varpu (1971-73), Helluntai (1971-73), Aprilli (1971-73), Marja (1973), Vegeta (1966-early 70’s), Rosette (1983), Sinikello (1984-87), Raita (1971-73), Katrilli (1975-77), Kartano (1973-76), Krokus (1978-79), Flora (1979-81), Polar (1978-85).
Here in Australia the designs we tend to see most often by Esteri are the Botanica series, Krokus, and Flora…so it is always a delight when one of the less well known designs like this one pop up.
This stunning design is Arabia Finland “Fructus”, pattern design by Gunvor Olin-Grönqvist and in production 1960-1975. It is on the same forms as many other popular designs during this era – the “S” model forms by Ulla Procope.
Fructus came in both this amber and black colourway and a blue and black colourway – both equally impressive. The design is of a stylised split apple.
As with all of these larger hand painted pieces the initials of the designer are on the reverse, often followed by the initials of the painter. It seems to be the plates – both large and small you now come across mostly in this design – the other forms are much harder to come by.
Gunvor Olin-Grönqvist (1928-2005) spent her whole professional career at the Arabia factory (between 1951 and 1992). Common motifs and themes in her work were fruit, animal and plant designs. Early on these were often stylised as in this design, and later in the Art Department where she worked from 1976 her designs were more naturalistic.